Helsinki’s artisan chocolate factory
They say the way to a loved one’s heart is through chocolate. Anna Kekki and her small-batch craft chocolates are melting the hearts of locals.
In the hip Punavuori district stands a an artisan chocolate boutique run by Anna Kekki. But unlike the neighbourhood vibe suggests, Anna doesn’t chase trends. She prefers traditional ingredients and methods she learned while working in a Belgian chocolate shop in New York to finance her psychology studies – a career path she fast abandoned to immerse herself in the art of the chocolatier.
After two years of learning the trade, Kekki went to chocolate school in France and then opened her own business in New York, which grew bigger than she had anticipated. When Kekki found out she was pregnant, she sold the company and moved back to her native Finland. She settled in but eventually the lure of chocolate was too strong to resist.
And, so, at the end of 2016 she started her current company, Annan Suklaatehdas (Anna’s Chocolate Factory). She finally feels like everything she has learned has started to pay off. “I have returned to my roots. And I make great pralines without any superfluous tricks. For me it’s all about quality ingredients and great technique – and beauty, of course. I am an aesthete with an artist’s soul,” she says with a smile.
Kekki has opened a small shop next door to her factory selling creations she hopes will give her customers the same experience she had the first time she tasted handcrafted chocolate. “I was completely swept away, and still am. I just get childishly excited about my profession.”
Text Laura Iisalo
Photos Elina Simonen