A family-operated chocolate production firm out of Sesvete, near Zagreb, is bringing a new worldwide chocolate trend to Croatia for the first time.
Vrsna Chocolates recently released their latest product, Ruby chocolate, the red-pinkish chocolate which is the fourth and latest discovery in the world of chocolate after milk, dark and white chocolate.
Ruby chocolate is made from the “ruby cocoa bean” which are existing botanical cocoa bean varieties that have been identified as having the right attributes to be processed into ruby chocolate. The first Ruby chocolate in the world was sold in 2018 and Croatia now joins a handful of countries producing it.
“This chocolate puts Croatia right next to chocolate giants such as Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, France, England etc. In our production we use the world finest chocolate imported from Belgium and Switzerland and blend it with domestic herbs, nuts, honey and typical Croatian ingredients,” Fran Reizl, Vrsna Chocolates production manager said, before adding.
“After invention of white chocolate, which happened in the 1930s, news spread after a decade of research and active work that there is a way to make pink chocolate. A Belgian-Swiss team of chocolate experts found a new way of fermenting and roasting cocoa beans in order to preserve the natural colour of cocoa fruit. Cocoa fruit is naturally red-pinkish so the colour is completely natural. The outcome is amazing both in colour and in taste. The colour is very pink and the taste has fruity and acidy notes that are very subtle but very much present too.”
Vrsna Chocolates have enriched the rich taste of Ruby with pistachios and freeze-dried natural raspberries and last week released it to the public.
As well as Ruby, the company produces a range of other high-quality dark, milk, and white chocolates.
“We work with gold chocolate, which is a blend of caramelised sugar and caramelised milk. Our Swiss-Belgian partner is one of the oldest chocolate producers and one of the most significant companies in refining cocoa beans on the path to become chocolates. While using that quality of chocolate we blend it with domestic ingredients such as honey, hazelnuts, ground carob, herbs such as lavender. In the end what we get is truly a piece of very special chocolate and it’s a product of Croatia,” Fran says.
As well as bars, they also produce chocolate truffles and pralines which are all completely handmade by their skilful staff and are enriched with plenty of ingredients. They also produce chocolates branded with Croatian destinations and cities, as well as a Dalmatian dog chocolate which honours the region of Dalmatia trough its connection with the dog breed.
The family-operated business, which now employs 10 people, only began operations last year.
“My family has been in the distribution business for the last 17 years. Since we always knew there was good chocolate out there we started dreaming about combining world-class chocolate with domestic ingredients we find in Croatia. Once we started thinking about it and talked to friends and partners we realised we have probably found our path. My dad, who was a visionary about this, had his ideas about special chocolate gifts back in the 80s while he was a student in Zagreb. He had friends from abroad and wanted to present them something typical Croatian but always struggled to find something unique. So this is kind of an answer to his question from his college days. My parents and I started running the production just last year, so now we are 1 year old. After I earned a bachelor’s degree in visual communication and graphic design, I turned my skills to crafting chocolate, both visually and in terms of its substances. It was a hard work to get to know everything about the beautiful world of chocolate, but it was worth it,” says Fran, before explaining the meaning behind the name.
“The word “vrsna” stands for something excellent. It’s a Slavic-Croatian word and is not used often since it is used in the terms of craftsmanship and tailor-made related topics. Next to that our distribution company name was Vrsna, so we realised how well it works together with very a fine chocolate brand. So we unified the two into one, as a brand Vrsna Chocolates. One more intimate story is that my dad tells my mom that she is an excellent wife, that’s something related to language of the scripture, so it also drives us not to let down our own values which are essential in our every day work and in life.”
The company hopes to connect with Croatians worldwide.
“So far we are carefully building our brand. We want to make sure everything we do follows the line of excellency. In that manner we are looking for distributors and shops in the handmade, delicacy and raw foods niche. We are also looking for potential distributors for EU and overseas (USA, Canada, Australia) so the amazement of the taste of Croatian chocolate can reach all the corners of the world,” says Fran.
Another service the company provides is custom-made chocolate.
“If someone celebrates a birthday, or has a wedding, we are able to make custom boxes or even custom chocolate bars, truffles and pralines for the occasion. Custom gifts are a very unique way to express gratitude and love both in personal and business realm.”
Currently, Vrsna Chocolates are sold in specialised and delicacy shops. The best way to find their products is to visit their website www.vrsna-chocolates.eu to find shop locations.