Rousseau Chocolatier find the sweet life in Nova Scotia
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Meet ConnectNS members and talented chocolatiers Julien Rousseau-Dumarcet and Nathalie Morin.
As the two life and business partners considered where to open their chocolatier business they spent two years researching the ideal location. After travelling and working together, they had a specific vision regarding the business they wanted to open and the perfect place for work and lifestyle. In May 2014, Rousseau-Dumarcet and Morin opened Rousseau Chocolatier on Hollis Street in Halifax. According to the enterprising couple, Nova Scotia has proven to be the sweetest spot to bring their dream to life.
“From the moment we met, we had this romantic dream of opening our own chocolate shop one day,” says Morin. “Chocolate has always been Julien’s favourite thing to work with and the opportunity to specialize in that was his dream. So, we took our time researching the perfect spot to open for business.”
Originally from the south of France, Rousseau-Dumarcet, began working with chocolate at the age of 15 as a student in Toulon and went on to enjoy a career in pastry and chocolate-making in pastry shops, chocolate boutiques and hotels across Europe. Morin is from Ottawa and pursued a career as a hospitality professional. Almost seven years ago, the couple met while working in Wakefield, Quebec. They went on to travel and work together in award-winning hotels and independent chocolatiers in France, Scotland and England before deciding to set up shop in Halifax.
“When we were living abroad in Europe we started researching cities in Canada where we would want to live and work. It’s important for us to love where we live,” says Morin. “Halifax checked off every item on our list. It’s the perfect size and there’s a community of people who not only love local but they simply love well-made food. We arrived at a time when that appreciation for fine food was really growing here.”
From researching Google street views to watching weather trends and development in Halifax’s downtown core, the couple did their homework before making the move. It helped that there wasn’t an influx of European-style food shops in Halifax, so the partners hoped that their shop, which focuses exclusively on fine chocolate and French macarons, would be well-received. Since opening, Morin says they have been overwhelmed by the positive response from customers. From love letters to Rousseau Chocolatier, thank-you notes and proclamations of the business offering “the best chocolate ever,” the feedback has been glowing.
Rousseau Chocolatier is a modern, bright boutique with a viewing window opening up to Rousseau-Dumarcet’s workspace where he prepares the handmade chocolates on a daily basis. He uses pure and simple ingredients such as premium dark chocolate, cream, sea salt, raspberry puree, wild rose petals and maple syrup, among many others.
The process of creating Rousseau-Dumarcet’s ganache takes about one day. After it’s made, it must rest for 12 hours overnight before it can be cut. Basil lime, lemon, orange balsamic caramel and tonka bean ganache are just a few of the mouth-watering flavours to swoon over.
“My process is simple,” he says. “With fresh ingredients that aren’t artificial the taste is softer and it lingers longer in your mouth. Artificial flavours are powerful but the taste is temporary. I don’t have a favourite when it comes to making the chocolates but in terms of taste, I love the lemon ganache and the feuilletine, which is a hazelnut praline with a crispy biscuit inside. It’s very crunchy but it also just melts in your mouth.”
Beginning in In August 2015, Rousseau Chocolatier will be collaborating with PAVIA Gallery - Espresso Bar & Café, at locations in the new central library on Spring Garden Road and on Herring Cove Road. PAVIA will offer six varieties of Rousseau Chocolatier’s chocolates including an espresso coffee ganache made with their Mokaflor espresso. Going forward, Morin and Rousseau-Dumarcet say their goal is to secure more wholesale contracts. Currently, they are redesigning packaging and have invested in new equipment to make Rousseau-Dumarcet’s process even more efficient.
In addition to their shop on Hollis Street, Rousseau treats are now available at Made in the Maritimes in Bedford and at Haskapa in Mahone Bay. “Our next step is to focus on wholesaling,” says Morin. “We hope to have our products available in fine market-style shops in, at the very least, Atlantic Canada, and hopefully beyond.”