Prepares for Valentine’s Day rush
At The Chocolate Shop on Street 63 in BKK1, Belgian owner Greit Lorre is preparing for the annual surge of Cambodian gourmet chocolate lovers looking for special gifts for Valentine’s Day.As the holiday approaches, boxes and packaging wait to be filled with fresh delicious morsels for the orders that have already been placed while the staff prepares abundantly for same day sales. Soon the decorations will be hung to welcome in the stream of customers as the staff throws on their holiday uniforms.
With a prominent brand name that has spread across the capital from high school classrooms to loyal patrons who come back year after year for the signature quality and original concoctions, Valentine’s Day is the busiest time for The Chocolate Shop. Production during the week leading up to Valentine’s Day increases to an amount that is usually made over three months, said Lorre.
“We expect to be sold out the evening of Valentine’s Day,” she said, adding that 99 per cent of her customers are Cambodian.
“In Cambodia Valentine’s Day is not just for couples, it is for everyone. Everyone enjoys chocolate. We have customers coming in and buying for friends, family and coworkers,” said Lorre adding that she has seen more Cambodians embracing the special day as a way to express affection that goes beyond sweethearts.
The idea of opening a chocolate shop dates back to over 12 years ago when at The Shop, Lorre’s original bakery and cafe on Street 240, she decided put $1 dollar Valentine’s Day boxes for sale and was amazed at their popularity.
Then, in late 2007, she opened Cambodia’s very first chocolate production facility by importing Italian machinery and Belgian chocolate. As demand grew, she quickly realized that a fully devoted workshop had to be established.
Now, after two years on Street 63, the production team can be seen carefully squeezing warm milk chocolate into heart shaped molds as tempering machines, swirling the creamy mixture, waits for the next batch of custom-made creations to be molded into shapes that vary from edible high-heeled stilettos, thin stemmed roses, heart-shaped boxes and a 24 assortment of chocolates named “The Magical Book of Love.” And, this year’s newest addition, a $28 Gucci-themed handbag that comes together in a labour intensive four-step process, can be ordered in milk, dark or white chocolate.
Lorre enjoys that she has developed a close bound with many of her customers.
“I like being involved in the process and seeing the satisfaction on our customers faces,” she said.
With most of the ingredients and the flavours primarily coming from Belgium, “all our products use all natural ingredients including the coloring,” she said. But to add a special Cambodian flare “we also use Kampot pepper, Mondolkiri honey, and Kampong Speu sugar,” she said.
The Chocolate shop is now launching the Seir Pich collection, a year round catalogue that mirrors the special Valentine’s Day selection. It is ideal for wedding and anniversary gifts, as well as spontaneous messages of love.
The Chocolate Shop is open seven days a week from 8am till 7:30pm. And can be accessed at www.chocolate-cambodia.com.