A NEW Kendal Café presents its delicious selection of cocoa beans and hot chocolates.
Kakaw, located in the Elephant Yard shopping mall, is owned and operated by Tomas Hornak and Miska Dolinayova.
The two business owners met while working in hospitality in East Sussex after moving to England from their native Slovakia.
They came to the lakes to work at Drunken Duck, near Ambleside, before opening artisan hot chocolate shop Kakaw, on Library Road, in December.
The store’s name, Kakaw, comes from the Native American word for cocoa bean.
Miska said: “We’re both from northern Slovakia which is quite mountainous, maybe that’s why we moved here from East Sussex because we both love the mountains.
“Everyone is very friendly here and we’ve had overwhelming support from businesses near Elephant Yard.”
Tomas said they decided to focus on artisan chocolate because it was something new for Kendal.
He said: “Chocolate isn’t as popular as coffee right now, but 20 years ago coffee wasn’t nearly as popular as it is today.
“There are so many options and variations with hot chocolate and we want to help people understand that there is more to it than just powder with hot water or milk.”
Kakaw serves drinks using everything from white chocolate to 100% cocoa, with customers able to choose from a variety of different types of milk and add everything from marshmallows to salt, chili and even herbs like rosemary.
“When it comes to finding different flavors and sources of hot chocolate, we’re really only limited by the size of the shelf we can keep them on,” Tomas said.
“How the cocoa beans are grown and roasted also makes a difference and of course the type of milk you use is also important.
“Most of the chocolate comes from South America; so, Venezuela, Ecuador, Brazil, but there are some from Africa and another from Java. We work with a few small companies who source directly from farmers and ensure they are paid fairly for the product. »
As the weather improves, he says they could start serving refreshing milkshakes with hot chocolate, which has proven popular in the winter months.
“I think to successfully run a place like this, you have to deliver a quality product and if you do, people will come,” Tomas said.
“You can have something interesting and it can entice people to come once, but if it’s not of quality, they won’t come back. We are getting busier all the time; people enjoy quality hot chocolate and we’ve had lots of families with kids come in for a treat on the weekends.”