Striking it lucky with a delicious golden ticket

Words by Della Vreeland
Photography by Christopher Puro

It’s a well accustomed moment. The moment the barista yells out your coffee order name, but doesn’t quite get it right.

For Jade Davidson, it was at this very moment, in a coffeehouse in New York, that she had her epiphany.

“When my husband Lachie and I were in New York travelling, we ordered coffees and they took our names,” Jade recalls.

“They then started yelling out “Lucky and James?!” After quite a while we realised they meant us.

“I thought – ‘hey that could be a strong name one day!’ I wrote it down in my phone and when I decided to go into business, I knew that was the name.”

Jade is Ballarat’s first chocolatier, having just launched her indulgent handmade chocolate venture Lucky + James in 2020.

“I’ve always had a strong love of chocolate, from when I was little sneaking extra Milo and Nutella, to when I was a grown-up travelling the world and visiting every chocolate shop I could find!” she says.

But it wasn’t until she was 21 and saw an advertisement for a chocolate apprentice that she decided to “take a chance” and turn her culinary love into a career.

Working 15 years as a chocolatier, Jade has spent over a decade at some of the most renowned Melbourne companies including Cacao Fine Chocolates, Koko Black and Monsieur Truffle.

After having her two girls, she took some time off before harnessing those years of craftsmanship, talent and passion into a business of her own.

I just wanted to make good, old-fashioned, delicious chocolate. No fussy flavours, just chocolate that people want to come back to again and again.

But making chocolate isn’t simply a pursuit of passion for Jade. It is a mindfulness regime.

“I love that making chocolate forces me to slow down and be patient.

“If you rush chocolate it won’t cooperate. I suppose it’s my form of mindfulness practise. I missed it terribly when I wasn’t doing it.”

Jade and her hubby first moved to Ballarat from Melbourne two and a half years ago.

Having always wanted to open her own chocolate business, the move to Ballarat made Jade realise the potential inherent within herself and her newfound community.

“After moving here, I quickly noticed how kind and incredibly supportive Ballarat was to local business,” Jade says.

“I knew I had to move quickly if I wanted to be the first chocolatier in Ballarat, and after the slight delay of a second baby, here we are!”

Lucky + James boasts a range of simple yet decadent flavours including fruit and nut, honeycomb, rocky road, cinnamon pecan crunch and cookies and cream.

With its signature gold and blue packaging, unwrapping your chocolate is truly like discovering your own lucky golden ticket – a ticket to cocoa heaven.

Using chocolate from Felchlin, a premium couverture from Switzerland, Jade’s products feature inclusions that are sourced locally (produced in Australia and overseas), with the exception of the honeycomb and cookie which she makes herself.

Transforming her own home kitchen into the Lucky + James factory, Jade says producing chocolate while maintaining the work-mum-life balance can be quite the challenge.

“I do a lot of my production during nap time and at night when the girls are asleep as my three-year-old always wants to help me,” she says.

“It’s pretty special to be able to do this around my kids though. I do wonder whether they will look back and appreciate having a mum who made chocolate at home while they grew up.”


WHO: Lucky + James Handmade Chocolate


Outcast Episode #7 – Mandy Bishop from Platypi Chocolate

Catch the latest episode of ‘Outcast’ with Mandy Bishop from Platypi Chocolate who is an artisan chocolatier located in Forrest in the Otway Ranges. Mike chats to Mandy about all things chocolate, chocolate making and she even share her secrets to making a perfect hot chocolate.

Six Regional Artisan Chocolatiers Delivering to your Home

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Put away that store-bought chocolate block now and treat yourself to locally produced artisanal sweet treats instead. Here are six Victorian producers of chocolate that you need to know about because now more than ever we should all be supporting local businesses and these boutique makers are producing quality chocolate that will make you turn your back on those big brands.

Platypi Chocolate

Great Ocean Road #twohoursoutPlatypi Chocolate Artisan Great Ocean Road

Platypi Chocolate came to life after the founders Mandy & Michael were inspired by a small artisan chocolate maker while taking a holiday in W.A, 30 years ago. Based in Forrest in the Otway Ranges, their chocolate factory and cafe has become a central part of the local community and in usual times is a popular tourist destination.

All their small-batch chocolate is hand-made onsite from coverture chocolate and natural products.

Buy from OHO Markets or direct from Platypi

Atelier Chocolat home of Pain et Chocolat

Trentham #oneandahalfhoursoutAtelier Chocolat home of Pain et Chocolat Artisan

Atelier Chocolat started production three years ago and is a central part of the community in Trentham.

Their bars are made with Felchlin boutique couverture chocolate, manufactured in Switzerland and they also produce small batches of chocolate made from scratch with organic beans from Panama or Peru to give you high percentage bean to bar.

When you can get out and about again, a visit to their shop is a worthwhile adventure but in the meantime, you can shop online.

Head here to choose your favourite

Only Mine

Olinda #onehouroutOnly Mine Chocolates

Jason & Anya started out from their home kitchen and sold their first chocolates in 2016. Now they operate from a boutique factory in Olinda where you can usually watch the action happening in the factory from their store and dessert cafe.

Their handcrafted chocolates are produced with flavour in mind, they pick the best ingredients and let the taste do the talking.

Check out their range here

Cabosse & Feve Chocolates

Castlemaine #oneandahalfhoursoutCabosse & Feve Chocolates Castlemaine

Husband and wife team Thomas and Freya handcraft their products using carefully selected quality ingredients from around the world. They ensure they deal with farmers who receive more than the average Fair Trade wage in the market and are passionate about environmentally friendly packaging.

They offer an extensive range of chocolate treats and also have a vegan range with fourteen products.

Head this way

Indulge Chocolates

Bendigo #twohoursoutIndulge Chocolates Bendigo

Hayley and her team started out in 2008 opening the Indulge Cafe, in Bendigo. With the business growing The Indulge Chocolate Lab was opened in September 2015. They specialise in moulded chocolates and chocolate bars, made with Belgian Callebaut chocolate, sourced ethically from around the globe.

With 30+ varieties to choose from and some amazing gift boxes you won’t leave their online store without a purchase.

Shop here

Echuca Chocolate Company

Echuca #threehoursoutEchuca Chocolate Company

Echuca Chocolate Company produces hand-made chocolates, truffles and a range of chocolate liqueurs. Everything is made on-site with speciality ingredients to craft a unique and flavoursome product range.

For now it’s online only, add their chocolate store to your road trip list once restrictions are eased.

Take look here