The very first Monsieur Truffe opened its doors in Prahran market, Melbourne in 2006.
Back then it was just a one-man operation. These days they stock over 80 retailers from their factory and store in Lygon Street, East Brunswick. We chatted with Head of Production and Chocolatier Samanta Baaker.
What was your favorite chocolate treat as a child?
My favourite treat was a bar of Aguila dark chocolate
(an Argentinian chocolate company founded in 1880 by Abel Saint in Buenos Aires).
How did you end up becoming a chocolatier?
I have loved chocolate since I was little. My grandparents used to have a bakery and I always felt that the love of food runs in my veins. I signed up for Food Engineering at university when I finished high school but I ended up studying at a Cookery and Patisserie School because I wanted to be more involve with food (get my hands dirty). When I moved to Melbourne I started working at Koko Black and became fascinated with chocolate. I did two Masters in Chocolate and many other training courses to get where I am right now.
White, milk or dark?
Doesn't matter as long as it is good quality chocolate with no added nasties.
Describe your favourite chocolate in three words….
Great texture with good balance of flavour
(ed - that's seven words, but we don't mind!)
Tell us about your most memorable chocolate experience?
I have had many memorable chocolate experiences, but one of my favourite
was tasting Oriol Balaguer yuzu chocolate when I was in Barcelona.
Where is your favourite place to indulge your choc-habit?
My favorite place to indulge my choc-habit is at work.
We have such wonderful ingredients.
The best part is working on limited editions or developing custom bars for customers.
But you know, for me chocolate is not an indulgence, chocolate is part of my everyday.
I don't see chocolate like an item that you consume for especial occasions.
I think is part of a healthy diet.
Secretly solo or shared indulgence?
What's the most unusual chocolate you've ever tasted?
One of the most unusual was a Cacao Sampaka cheese bonbon.
What is the mark of an exceptional chocolatier?
For me it is the ability to craft pieces of chocolate with outstanding flavour and texture.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
People often have this romantic idea about chocolate. While having a strong affinity for chocolate will help, there are many important aspects to master. You must be able to handle pressure and seemingly endless repetition and you must have the patience of a saint.
Read as much you can about chocolate, attend a culinary school or take as many specific chocolate courses you can. Once you have a chocolate education under your belt, find an apprenticeship at a great chocolate place and follow your dream.
Samantha Bakker is Head of Production and Chocolatier at Monsieur Truffe.
Monsieur Truffe's delicous range is available from our Love Byron Bay Boutique,
or from our online store... love-byronbay.com/chocstore.