My first introduction to Rousseau Chocolatier went something like this… I stumbled into the shop on Hollis Street wide-eyed and excited and blurted out “Hi, I’m Michelle and I love chocolate.” Nathalie welcomed me with a big warm smile. I wasn’t the only customer giddy with excitement over the opening of this artisanal chocolate shop. She introduced me to Julien, who was working away in the kitchen creating all things chocolatey and delicious. That was back in the spring of 2014, and we have been great friends ever since.
Nathalie Morin (from Quebec) and Julien Rousseau (from France) are partners in life and in business. They first met in 2008 and spent several years travelling and working together in the hospitality industry. “With Julien's extensive experience and passion for chocolate making, we knew we wanted to open our own shop one day – almost from the get go of our relationship. It was only a dream at the time but the more experience we both acquired, the quicker it became a reality.” They spent time in Québec, South-East France, the French Alps, Southern England and the Scottish Highlands before choosing Nova Scotia as the location for their new business. They had identified an opening in the market for an artisanal chocolate shop in Halifax. Equally important, they were inspired by the quality of life here on the east coast. They wanted to live by the ocean and be part of a creative business community.
Rousseau Chocolatier received a warm welcome here in Nova Scotia. They have built strong relationships with other business owners and enjoy collaborating on special locally-sourced products. Their Haskap and Cranberry White Chocolate Bar created for Haskapa is a great example. Their macarons are featured daily in the dessert menu at The Press Gang Restaurant & Oyster Bar and their chocolates are available at both Pete’s Fine Foods locations. “It's really impressive how much people here love to support local businesses compared to any other place we've travelled!” says Nathalie.
Their shop on Hollis street is bright and busy. I visit often and enjoy chatting with other customers. Ellen Stone, a recent pastry graduate from the NSCC, has been apprenticing with Julien and Nathalie the past few months. Julien really enjoys sharing his expertise as a chocolatier and Nathalie is happy to have help in the shop as the business grows. They are especially busy during holidays like Easter and Christmas. For each holiday, they create something new, something unique. I was curious to see what they had planned for Valentine’s Day, so I visited the shop recently for a sneak peek.
Julien and Nathalie have created something special for this Valentine’s Day. A unique combination of two different flavours: Caldera Whisky and Peaches n' Cream. These tiny treasures are each a work of art. I love the details in the design: a rich red colour splashed with dark chocolate (whiskey filling) or with white chocolate (peaches n’ cream filling). A great gift idea for couples or you can simply treat yourself. I have a feeling the whiskey flavour will suit me just fine.
Enjoy these behind-the-scenes photos and have a Happy Valentine’s Day!