Tina Miinin fills a praline mould with a deft touch. Turns it upside down so it drips like jets of shiny chocolate down onto your work table. The excess is wiped off, then the praline shells are left to cool. And filled, perhaps with salted caramel this time.
– I always have 24-30 flavours in the range. Some vary according to the season – sea buckthorn with bee pollen, for example, is a summer flavour, says Tina.
Although Tina’s chocolate shop is a long way from the main road, she has a loyal circle of regular customers. Her flavours linger, the chocolates are little works of art in chocolate. Intense and surprising. One bite and the shell gives way with just the right resistance to let the filling of caramel, berries or liqueur fill the palate.
– What do you think of chocolate with dried, crushed chanterelle mushrooms and flaked salt? And try this one with roasted pumpkin and green tea, she says, trotting out another delectable creation for the Taste Patrol.
The ideas are flowing and Tina is constantly thinking of new flavour combinations. She sources the raw material from wholesalers who sell quality chocolate from cocoa farms around the world.
– Recently I received an exciting variety from Belize, a 76% with a taste of tart berries. I have some ideas for it, she says, smiling broadly.
Tina’s chocolates are craftsmanship, through and through. Although a machine keeps the chocolate at the right temperature, the chocolates are filled and decorated – each one individually – by Tina’s expert hands. Only genuine ingredients, no artificial additives.
– Some people think that higher cocoa content means finer chocolate, but there are other things that affect the taste. What kind of bean it is, where it grew and how it was roasted.
Hard roasting gives a more bitter taste, explains Tina, while slow roasting on low heat gives a more floral taste. So, which is the most popular?
– There is no way to tell. Some love dark chocolate, others want white or milk chocolate.
However, in summer there is one thing that sells better than anything else.
– The ice cream has become very popular. It’s creamy like gelato. I take the milk from the farmer down the hill. And the strawberry ice cream I make with strawberries from Rödön.
Where: In Helleberg, right next to St. Olav’s trail, about six kilometres after Alsen’s church.
Don’t miss: Enjoying the view of mountains, forests and fields from the chocolate factory’s steps. Preferably with a cup of coffee and a praline for company.
Other: The shop is open seasonally, usually on Thursdays from 2 to 6 p.m. Summer café a few weekends in July, when handmade ice cream and pastries are sold in addition to chocolates. The chocolate can also be bought in some delicatessens, such as Telogott in Östersund.
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