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
FIND OUT MORE: luckyandjames.com.au