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Chocolate is the food of love, so they say. Here’s a love story with chocolate at its heart that could have come straight out of a movie. She was a Dublin born girl in her late teens, taking time out in Belgium. He was a native who always wanted to be a baker, but worked for a bank, and made chocolate in his spare time. When Ferdinand met Helena, he was on his bicycle. Not built for two – but it probably should have been. The pair have been inseparable ever since that day, and married for many years.
Ferdinand Vandaele and Helena Hemeryck now live in a delightful rural area in County Dublin. Their lives are entwined around chocolate. At Chez Emily, established in 1996, they make pure magic from the beans of the cocoa pod. Ferdinand learned his trade beside some of the master Chocolatiers of Belgium – a spare time job which has turned into a life long love, just like his wife. Long gone is the job in the bank, a role he was never cut out for. His professional passions lie in the kitchen, creating the finest chocolates for the Chez Emily range. Dedication to producing the best shines through.
Everything is manufactured on site at the production house at their home in The Ward, Co Dublin. Ferdinand uses finest Callebaut chocolate from his homeland of Belgium as a base for all his range. For him this is the best chocolate – the one he has worked throughout his career. White, dark and milk chocolate is tempered in small vats. After that, Irish cream and butter is added according to the individual recipes, and the work of human hands takes over. Irish whiskey is used for the truffles, Irish fruit pastes for the seasonal flavours. As Ferdinand says ‘ We have combined the oldest traditions of confectionery making with purest natural Irish ingredients.