FinnTribune report: Choco Deli is the name of a dream that has come true.
“Everyone can cook, but everyone cannot make chocolates. The humidity, quality of raw materials and so many things you need to know! It’s a challenge to deal with the raw materials,” said the dreamer, Jouko Rajanen.
Rajanen’s company, Choco Deli, is now a popular brand of chocolates and cakes in the Arctic Circle. It is the only local producer of chocolates and cakes here.
The company was launched in 2008 from his garage and then moved to its current shop in downtown Rovaniemi in 2012. But the dream started a long time ago.
“I was dreaming about the chocolate shop from childhood,” said Rajanen, adding, “I started from my own kitchen, then it moved to my garage and then it moved to this big shop now.”
“At first there were a small number of customers – some restaurants who would buy the chocolates. But my kitchen was not big enough; I needed a bigger space. So, when the demand increased, I had to move from the kitchen to my garage. There the business continued for around seven years.”
Rajanen studied hotel and restaurant before joining the food industry. He worked in a number of hotels in Helsinki and Lapland, including as the chief chef of Hotel Santa Claus in Rovaniemi.
During the day he would work as a chef and at night made chocolates and cakes at home. The business grew day by day, molded by customers’ feedback.
Choco Deli now boasts of 35 product varieties. Normally it produces 15 to 20 varieties of chocolates and 12 varieties of cakes every day. The products are sold all over Finland – from Inari to Helsinki.
The local people love Choco Deli, said Rajanen, as it is a local brand and uses good quality materials as ingredients and as it is all handmade.
This year it plans to get even a bigger space for production.