Johanna creates chocolate confections
Do you love chocolate? So does Johanna Elmqvist – and since 2011, chocolate is her job. With her husband Kristoffer, she runs Johannas Choklad, located in central Kvarnholmen.
After working a few years at Marsipangården in Trosa, Johanna returned to Kalmar and founded Johannas Choklad. For the first few years, she ran the business herself, but as the company developed, the staff grew, too.
− Now I run the business with my husband Kristoffer, and we have another two people on staff full time, as well as three more employed by the hour. We have expanded the shop to include both the chocolate production and a café. And we have a webshop, says Johanna.
How come you decided to work with chocolate, in particular?
– I’ve always had a keen interest in pastry, and in chocolate above all. I studied hospitality in school, and our training included an introduction to how chocolate can be used in a restaurant kitchen. I immediately felt that was what I wanted to work with.
What are your specialities?
– We make many kinds of chocolate – confections, chocolate brittle, bars and chocolate pastry – but right now, it’s mainly bean-to-bar that is our speciality. Bean-to-bar means we work directly with the cocoa beans and roast them, grind them and separate the chaff. Then they are milled in a stone mill, and we add sugar, in order to create our very own chocolate.
Are visitors often able to see the chocolate being made in the shop?
– If they come on weekdays, production is always running, so there’s a good chance for that. We make the chocolate in the building housing the shop. There’s a window into the production room, and visitors are able to see what we are currently making. Some days we mold confections, and other days we’re packing chocolate brittle, so there are different things going on depending on what day you come around.
The flavours are so varied when it comes to artisan chocolate, that you will find new tastes and nuances every time you try something.
What is going on at the moment? And what are your plans for the future?
– We’re currently working hard to learn more about the bean-to-bar production. Our aim is to become entirely self-sufficient when it comes to chocolate, and to establish an even closer contact with the farmers we co-operate with. We wish to learn more that way, and get closer to the origins of the cocoa. We’re hoping it will lead to a chocolate production that is sustainable for the farmers, for nature and for us.
– Origins, quality and contact with the farmers has become increasingly important to us. We wish to shed light on the inner workings of the cocoa industry, and how we can all change it for the better by making conscious choices and purchases.
Do you ever tire of chocolate?
– No, chocolate is so incredibly complex. The flavours are so varied when it comes to artisan chocolate, that you will find new tastes and nuances every time you try something. And chocolate is a living material, which makes it very exciting to work with. I will always have more to learn!
Johanna’s top tips around Kalmar
- Kalmar has so much to offer, and I feel one of the best things is that everything can be found in the city. There is good shopping, there’s food, culture and history, right in the middle of town.
- Kalmar Castle is a must-see and a real experience, and is also located just outside the city centre.
- In the summer, my top tip is to get a view of the city from the water, for example by renting a kayak or a SUP. If you do, you’re in for a perfect finish at the end of the day, if you head over to any of the downtown baths, like the Kalmarsund park or Kattrumpan.
…Johanna’s great-grandfather Albert Lindeström was one of the founders of the Kalmar confectionery and sweets factory? It operated between 1903 and 1998.