Sweet lovers in Paphos can hardly have missed a welcome addition to the local confectionary scene. Recently-opened Joulietta Chocolatier is the home of hand-made chocolates both traditional and with a Cypriot flavour.
Going by the name of Joulietta, the proprietress of this confectioner’s has been swept off her feet preparing chocolates for the festive season. At the recent Nicosia Chocolate Festival in which she participated, Joulietta had to rush back to Paphos for extra stocks so popular were her goodies.
Her Facebook page was only set up in October and it already has close to 1,500 likes which is quite an achievement.
Joulietta’s family background is in food. Her father ran a restaurant and his culinary passion inspired her.
“Having always been a chocolate lover, I decided to focus my passion developing a line of luxury artisan chocolates,” she says.
In addition to running her busy shop, Joulietta occasionally puts on chocolate-making workshops where participants learn about the tricky process of making this popular sweet.
The Cyprus Weekly managed to meet up with Joulietta during a break in her busy work day and found out what led her to the world of chocolate.
Cyprus Weekly: This may sound strange but do you like chocolate or have you been put off it by being surrounded by it all day?
Joulietta: I have always been a chocolate lover from as long as I can remember. When I was at college I consumed a number of bars each day. I could do it then without worrying about weight too much in those days! Even though I work with chocolate all day I still love chocolate and eat it daily. Obviously in the course of my work, I frequently have to taste in order to ensure the balance of my fillings and the quality of the product.
CW: Tell us about how you got into being a confectioner. The chocolatier training sounds really stringent. What are the main things you need to learn about and what was the toughest part of the training for you?
Joulietta: About three years ago I became aware of the rising popularity of handcrafted or artisan chocolates, especially in the UK. I saw an online course advertised and decided to educate myself regarding the fundamentals of chocolate making with the idea it would be a nice hobby and a potential business for the future.
That was the start. From there on I have not stopped learning. I have attended a number of courses in the UK run by top chocolatiers and I have built up a large library of reference books.
The training is stringent and you must appreciate that chocolate making is an exact science. Slight variations in temperature and humidity can make a huge difference to the finished product.
CW: Your chocolates sound and look divine, especially the range which are made with typical Cypriot ingredients! What made you decide on chocolates with a Cypriot theme? Is it working well and do you have plans for developing new Cypriot chocolates?
Joulietta: On one of the courses in the UK I saw a number of chocolatiers experimenting with a whole range of flavours and combinations. One even created Marmite chocolates! While that particular flavor did not appeal to me it started me thinking about what I could use in Cyprus to give my chocolates a local flavour.
The more I thought about it I realised there was an abundance of possibilities using herbs and fruits of Cyprus. I created a range called Cyprus Garden featuring mint with honey, lavender, basil and orange, thyme, coriander, and rose water.
My signature chocolate is what I call Cypriot Double Delight. It is available in rose or bergamot. I have combined a rosewater or bergamot delight with a ganache covered in dark or milk chocolate. The result is an amazing chocolate taste experience.
I have many more idea combinations will continue experimenting and developing new ideas definitely.
CW: There’s still time for people to buy your chocolates before Christmas or the New Year. Do you have any special offers or sweets for the holidays? Any good gift or party ideas?
Joulietta: Yes, I have a variety of Ballotine boxes containing six, eight or 16 truffles. The flavours include Commandaria, Filfar Orange, Filfar Lemon, Cherry & Kirsch, Baileys, and Zivania. Additionally I am providing a Luxury Assortment of either 300g or 500g. A new addition to the selection is Marzipan and Amaretto.
CW: What does a typical day involve for you?
Joulietta: I get to the shop at 9am and start making preparations for chocolate making for the day. I am on hand to serve customers as they come. On busy days I work through the evening to replenish the stock in the fridge as it gets depleted.
CW: Is chocolate really an aphrodisiac?
Joulietta: This is a hotly-debated subject but over the centuries many kings and noble people believed chocolate had aphrodisiac powers. Even in the popular movie Chocolat this was indicated but I can’t be dogmatic as everyone has their own experience on how chocolate affects them. But what has been scientifically proven is that chocolate does release serotonin in the brain which is also called the happy drug. So it seems to be true that eating chocolate can increase feelings of euphoria as well as decrease stress and pain. I often find myself reaching for some chocolate when things are not going so well and I can definitely say it makes me feel better!