BY ELISE BAK
If you have a love for chocolate and live in (or near) Amsterdam, then this beautiful chocolate shop should not be missed! ArtiChoc stands for “arty chocolate” and amusingly a vegetable name at the same time! ArtiChoc was founded seventeen years ago by a wonderful couple: Judith and Menno Koerts Meijer. For many years they lived above a beautiful flower shop, which they had to enter to reach the apartment. When the owner of the shop had to quit her business, it meant that they had to leave the apartment too. But because of this happening, it gave them the idea to rent the shop themselves and start their own business!
But why chocolate? Menno previously worked as a chocolatier where he enjoyed years of creating arty chocolates. However, creativity slowly faded as the company became bigger and eventually was taken over. Judith had years of experience as a saleswoman. With their own chocolate store they could have the freedom to use their creativity and exactly choose what ingredients to use or how the store and products would look like!
Everything at ArtiChoc is homemade. You can look at how they make the chocolates in their kitchen, through a window in the back of the store. Judith and Menno use all ingredients they love the most. The strength lies in the simplicity of their chocolates: as pure as possible with no extra sugar added, which intensifies the taste of cacao, fresh nuts and fruits! This is the valued difference between their products and the ones made in factories. A lot of sugar and flavorings is added in most chocolate productions, which predominates the taste of chocolate and makes it cheaper.
Judith’s favorite chocolate is the famous “Hemelse Steen”. It is a stone shaped bonbon, roughly sliced, made out of soft milk chocolate, fresh roasted almonds, hazelnuts and rolled in cacao. They are delightful! Menno’s favorites changes within time.
Beside from the beautiful and delicious products that are available in the store, they also receive a lot of special orders for clients. They make real artworks out of these projects! For instance a palace made of “Hemelse Stenen”, a huge helicopter and when I visited the store they were currently making chocolate rugby balls!
Running your own business is not as easy as it may look. In their opinion the positive aspects of being entrepreneurs are to decide your own free time, doing what you love and using your creativity. You are responsible for your own decisions and actions, which also gives you space to explore your own path. However, determining your free time does not mean you really have it… A lot of hard work, time and effort goes in to their business!
Judith and Menno is what I call “pure companions”. Married for nineteen years, working together, creating beautiful things and having so much fun along the way! They live next to ‘Het Amsterdamse Bos’ in the south of Amsterdam together with their 14 year-old son Timber (who is currently working on his awesome DJ career!) This was also mentioned when I asked for a favorite hotspot: sunbathing in their renovated garden beside the water! This and more: tasty burgers at Bistro George, the best curry soup at Biscuit (both next to ArtiChoc), sushi at the Red Sun and Valerius Eten & Drinken, where you can enjoy tasty salads, juices and sandwiches in a relaxed and cozy atmosphere!
Address: Koninginneweg 141, Amsterdam