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Chocolate platters with a reputation: The Candy Room

Issue 03

Business partners, Leonie Schweitzer and Cristina Velardo, opened their shop, The Candy Room, selling overseas and local confectionery and chocolate in Melbourne, Australia on December 1st, 2010.  After six years running a successful confectionery wholesale business (Sweet Enough) importing sugar free candy products to Australia, and two years of planning, Leonie and Cristina followed their passion into the retail market and launched The Candy Room.

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Knowing the goal of their new venture was not simply to be a shop, they approached RED Design Group to help them create a destination that was edgy, trendy, clean, humorous and uniquely charismatic in order to deliver the right customer experience. The result, “is an interior design that toys with the concept of illusion and draws the inner child out of the customer using a strong connection with childhood, fantasy, fiction, and of course, sweets,” Leonie comments.  The Candy Room’s unique design allows the candy to jump into the limelight and decorate the space.

“By themselves, the candy is vibrant and colourful, so (our) designers had to take care that the store environment did not compete with, but rather accentuated the product. They deliberately decided to make the space almost entirely white, in order to allow the multi-coloured treats to stand out.”  The hand drawn black sketches used throughout the space, pop against the white backdrop and give the sense that you are walking onto the set of a life-sized comic book.

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When asked whether they often hear the phrase “I feel like a kid in a candy store,” Leonie replies, “This is the most rewarding time when we are in store. You can see when adults first walk into The Candy Room; there is a look of excitement on their faces that screams-

“I am a kid in a candy store.” Our slogan for the shop comes from this saying, except we put a little twist to it “Discover your inner child at The Candy Room.” All of us have that inner child and many of our customers are heard saying- “I haven’t seen this type of candy since I was a kid!” With products ranging from smiley faced lollipops to giant gumballs in paint tins, it’s no wonder The Candy Room has developed a loyal following in Melbourne.

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Most Popular Candy In-Store: Anything to do with peanut butter. Chocolate coated, candy coated- our customers just love it!

Most Interesting Request: At Christmas, we often are asked whether our window display props are edible. Our display consists of Santas, Christmas trees and lollipops- all props are made of what looks like fairy floss!!!

Personal Favourite Candy: Cristina, my business partner is the lover of liquorice and I am the chocolate queen- so we balance when it comes to product selection.

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Photo Source: Red Design Group

INTERVIEW with Leonie Schweitzer, Co-Owner, The Candy Room {Melbourne}

01 What is your special after dinner chocolate platter about and why has it earned you a reputation?
Even before we opened The Candy Room, I have always been known for my after dinner chocolate platters. I have found this to be a great way to finish off entertaining, with a nice glass of dessert wine or liqueur and an indulgent variety of chocolates- (Making these platters) They have become even more interesting now, owning the store, as I have access to some amazing choices like chocolate covered gummy lollies and chocolate covered anything!!! Yummy!!!

The reason I started making these platters was because I am a lover of chocolate and often found a dessert at the end of a meal was often too much for my guests. This way, they are able to “graze” on chocolate and have as much or as little as they like.

02 What are kind of chocolate-covered-anything are we talking about here?
Building a chocolate platter is about balance and creating a platter that is “eye catching” and indulgent. It is usually set on a large white platter and there is always (at a minimum) 8 different types of chocolate. 

Combinations include – white, milk and dark chocolate covered delights, such as milk chocolate covered freeze dried strawberries, white chocolate gummy raspberries, and dark chocolate covered almonds.

Then I have a chocolate mint section, which might include after dinner mint slices or mint crisps.

Next, there would be a section of individual chocolates in bright wrappers. Chocolate dipped strawberries are always on the platter and depending on the guests, there could be chocolate dipped orange slices or some fairy floss/cotton candy. The whole look is meant to be indulgent, tempting and contain something for everyone.

Countlan Example Chocolate Platter

{Photo Sources for our visual chocolate platter} 1 Chocolate covered orange slices from Roll with Jen  2 Chocolate dipped strawberries from The Dessert Spot 3 White chocolate covered gummy bears from Licorice Lemondrops 4 Chocolate Mints from Foodimentary 5 Cotton Candy from Life Unbounded 6 Chocolate covered freeze dried strawberries from The Chocolate Box 7 Dark chocolate covered almonds from Nuts

03 Owning a candy store, is your house filled with candy all the time?
Cristina and I always laugh at this. We are like a builder who never quite finishes his own home! We are surrounded by candy and chocolate all day long and often forget to take any home. Often if we have guests at dinner, it is a mad dash back to the warehouse to select some yummy treats- like my personal favourite- freeze dried strawberries covered in milk chocolate.

04 Where is the best place to stash candy?
Since my children were little, the cupboard, above my refrigerator, has always been my hiding place for candy and chocolate, as the could never reach up there!  It has not changed since they have gotten older. Only now, I can hear them getting the footstool when they need a sugar fix!!

Leonie- we are adopting this idea for sure, as it’s a great one! A big thank you.

Does anyone entertain with after-dinner chocolate platters?  What is on your platter?

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