Hand painted bonbons with a full-bodied, bold yet harmonious taste, various exotic and classic chocolate bars in packagings boasting a unique vibe. For those who have considered chocolate boring until now, or have never really thought that there is life beyond industrial chocolates, the sweets of Harlequin manufactory will for sure offer some surprises. We asked founder and chocolatier Brigitta Tasi about her manufactory.
Before she found the craft of chocolate-making, Brigitta Tasi got a taste of several fields: she worked in IT, film editing, electronic music, while during her travels, she also examined the culture, cuisine and spices of other nations. “I have always been drawn to confectionery, and already spent a lot of time in the kitchen with my mother back in my childhood. There was one thing we didn’t always agree on: she always preferred classic recipes and methods – you could never deviate from the recipe –, while I already preferred experimenting with ingredients as a child. Ultimately we always reached an agreement, and had a good laugh about how differently we saw some things. I was still an elementary studentwhen I was already reinventing her jam recipes with spices, which became the favorites of the family. So I think I had the desire for delicacy, a strive for beauty and novelty in me already at that age“ – Brigi told us.
Initially chocolate-making seemed like a mystical and distant thing out of her reach, and finally she found the first books on chocolate-making in 2012, in Germany. She was completely blown away by all the treats that can be made without industrial circumstances, from fresh ingredients – in the very same year, she gave home-made truffles to her friends for Christmas, and she made more and more chocolates, one more spectacular and delicious than the other. Finally a few years ago she moved back home to Hungary, and her lifestyle made it possible for her to establish her own workshop in 2019, and to introduce the world of Harlequin chocolates to the world.
But what makes Harlequin unique and special?
The first things that could pop up in your mind when thinking about bonbons and chocolates are hazelnuts and almonds. In addition to classic flavor combinations, however, Harlequin also represents a fresh, youthful and joyful momentum. In creating her treats, Brigi turns to Asian culture and cuisine for inspiration, amongst others, thus her repertoire includes delicacies like Gül Baba bonbon with rose and pistachio, the Exotic Kiss with maracuja, or the Gourmet Betyár seasoned with chili and boasting a tropical flavor, but you can also opt for the lemony-salty dark chocolate bar called Mad Hatter or Maprutas very rich in flavor and made of cacao from the Philippines, which are, by the way, one of Brigi’s favorites. In addition to the exotic flavors, the classic line is also represented, thus those interested can discover more and more hazelnut chocolates in Harlequin’s selection, too.
Brigi also makes sure her repertoire includes milk-free and vegan treats, including one of Harlequin’s new products, the hempseed praline. “Those who can’t or don’t want to consume animal products or products with lactose don’t have too many options, and I would like to provide an opportunity to them to enjoy high quality chocolate, therefore we have an expanding selection of these kinds of products, too. In the case of these bonbons, we strive to make sure that even people preferring classic flavors don’t discover the difference“ – Brigi detailed.
People eat with their eyes first“ – as the saying goes, treasured by Harlequin greatly. “The chocolate itself is a precious material, a finely tempered bonbon many times speaks for itself, but in our case, in addition to the dreamt up harmony of flavors, the unique and dazzling appearance and the notable design is also important” – the chocolate master highlighted. Based on this idea, in addition to the unique shape of the bonbons, the chocolate bars come with a unique packaging.
As in the case of the artisan chocolates, the open and transparent packaging is used most of the time, initially Harlequin also opted for a similar solution, but Brigi was somehow dissatisfied with the overall look and went for a more complex, unique and closed design. Colorful yet clean illustrations bring the flavors inside to life on the packagings. “I am very glad that I found and got to know Fruzsina Fölföldi on Behance back in the day, and we could start our fantastic work together. We found common grounds instantly and our collaboration is simply fabulous. In general I only tell the name of the chocolate, the basic theme of the illustration, its ambience, colors and perhaps one or two figures to Fruzsi, who puts all this into a wonderful frame and creates her illustrations inviting the audience to a lovely fairytale.”
Harlequin primarily functions as an online store, but those interested can also choose their favorites from the chocolate delicacies at pre-booked dates in the chocolate manufactory near Városliget or can also purchase them atChococochocolate shop and Rododendron design store in Budapest, too. The good news for chocolate-lovers and those with a sweet tooth is that the manufactory is continuously expanding with delicacies of new, exciting flavors. Brigi’s tea-inspired bonbon collection will be released soon, in which we’ll get to try Indian spicy tea, matcha tea and rooibos caramel flavor combinations, too. We also recommend the October special edition, in which Brigi made cherry-cardamom chocolate skulls for Halloween. Surprise your loved ones or treat yourselves with Harlequin’s delicacies!