Ballarat chocolatier Jade Davidson knows good chocolate.
The mother-of-two has studied the sweet stuff in Melbourne, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Costa Rica.
Jade has travelled the world visiting chocolate shops and factories across Europe, America and New Zealand plus plantations in Vietnam and Hawaii.
In 2020, she launched her own venture, Lucky and James, through which she handmakes and sells good, simple, delicious, quality chocolate.
“It is such a delight to share my love of chocolate with people and it brings me immeasurable happiness to hear that they enjoy it,” Jade said.
What’s the story behind Lucky and James?
I’ve been working in chocolate for over 12 years, during which I’ve worked for a variety of chocolate companies in Melbourne (Cacao Fine Chocolates, Koko Black and Monsieur Truffe) and I’ve always secretly had the plan to start something of my own in the back of my mind.
My husband Lachie, first baby and I moved to Ballarat from Melbourne two-and-a-half years ago and I quickly noticed how kind and incredibly supportive Ballarat was to local businesses. I knew I had to move quickly if I wanted to be the first chocolatier in Ballarat and after the slight delay of a second baby, here we are!
And why the name Lucky and James?
When Lachie and I were in New York once, we ordered coffees and they took our names. They then started yelling out ‘Lucky and James?’ and, after quite a while, we realised they meant us and I thought ‘hey, that could be a strong name one day!’. I wrote it down in my phone and when I decided to go into business, I knew that was the name.
Take us through the chocolate-making process…
Chocolate-making involves melting down couverture chocolate, adding inclusions, tempering and molding into bars.
I use chocolate from Felchlin, a premium couverture from Switzerland. For the inclusions, all are sourced locally but come from both Australia and overseas, the exceptions being the honeycomb and cookies which I make myself.
And your product range?
I tried to keep things simple and delicious, with old favourites made using quality ingredients. Four of the varieties are available in both milk and dark – fruit & nut, honeycomb, rocky road, and cinnamon pecan crunch. The extra bar is the classic white chocolate cookies & cream.
HOT TIP: Lucky & James has joined forces with Hattie and the Wolf to create a Taste of Ballarat – their own 100-gram chocolate bar made with local Allendale hazelnuts and native wattle seed from Buninyong’s Saltbush Kitchen.
A Taste of Ballarat is only available at Hattie and the Wolf at 2020 South Street.
Has there been a crowd-favourite so far?
It’s definitely a tie between rocky road and cookies & cream!
What’s the secret to good tasting chocolate?
The secret to good tasting chocolate is to start with great couverture. I use my favourite, Felchlin, a premium couverture chocolate from Switzerland. Then I like to keep things simple and not add too much, just let the quality of the chocolate and ingredients shine.
Where can people purchase Lucky and James chocolate?
Chocolate lovers can head to luckyandjames.com.au and orders will either be express posted or local pickup is available if you live in Ballarat. You’ll also find it stocked at Campanas Deli.
What do you love most about the Ballarat region?
I love the history and the architecture, it’s what made us want to move here.
What’s Ballarat’s best kept secret?
I think just how incredible the local food and wine scene is. What we have available locally in terms of growers, producers and makers is extraordinary and hopefully more people from around Victoria come to realise it!
What are your top three recommendations of things to do in Ballarat?
Number one for sure is Fika, the wonderful team there have kept me well caffeinated and cleaned up a lot of my daughters croissant crumbs over the last few years!
Two, eat at Pancho – amazingly delicious Central/South American food.
Three, Il Piccolo Gelato – we spend a lot of time there with our kids!