Who is Rita Carambole?
My name is Rita, but many know me by now as Rita Carambole, combining my first name and the name of my brand. I am a professional actress and before chocolate came into my life I worked in theatre and fine arts for 20 years.
Cooking had always been my passion—I'd whip up meals for small and big groups alike and find a connection with people through the joy of food.
I dabbled in all things food-related: tried my hand at pastry making, ran an upscale deli shop, and took charge of creating desserts at a restaurant. I even gave catering a shot—feeding the hungry minds in universities. Unfortunately, none of it really clicked for me.
There was even the bold move of interning at a fancy restaurant. It was ironic that I walked in thinking the kitchen was some magical place, but surprise, surprise, it was more like a hardcore, gruelling non-stop spartan labour. Funny twist—I'm not a sweet tooth at all. However, when I landed a job at the restaurant, the only gig available was as an assistant to the pastry chef. She was quite the character—a sculptor by profession, her approach to desserts was a total creative rebellion against the norm. That moment was an eye-opener; I realised I could look at food through an artistic lens! So in spite of the nature of work in the kitchen of a fancy restaurant I persevered and learned a ton from my experience. I saw that pastry is an art form. But, if you don't get the chemistry behind the process, it's a no-go. The sweet spot is where creativity meets flawless craft, and the magic this combo creates is irresistible.
When chocolate happened…
When chocolate came into my life I realised this small world of craft (or, as we call it, bean to bar) chocolate making contains the whole universe within and it is loaded with a crazy amount of information. Most importantly, I figured out that a chocolate bonbon can contain stories and meanings, all packed into a ten-gram miniature. Creating a miniature mono product totally clicked with me and in this tiny shape I can unveil thousands of meanings.
I love people, I love feeding them, I love theatre—it's my element, and my acting background comes in handy. I appreciate buffoonery, I'm drawn to the humorous in life. Out of all this emerged Rita Carambole in a green hat—a half-elf, half-magical creature. The green hat has become a sort of my signature style, but it had a practical purpose, too. You see, the chocolate workshop is cold, maintaining a temperature of 18 degrees is important for the process, and I wanted to stroll around in a hat. That's how it happened so now I'm constantly recognized by it. When transitioning from one profession to another and having to build your personal brand from scratch, these things help; you become a character.
My overarching mission is to educate people. Firstly, to make them understand what they're investing in when they purchase craft chocolate, which tends to be higher in price than the average on the market. If I don't do this, I might end up trying to "cold-sell" an expensive product, and it's likely gonna fail. Secondly, in stark contrast, to help people comprehend what they're investing in when they buy chocolate from a supermarket. By being immersed in the subject, people can grasp the principles and motivations behind the pricing of craft chocolate. I'm slowly swaying people towards "the good side", as the traditional chocolate industry has historically had many controversial issues related to human rights.
Carambole events and workshops
When I host events, it's either a lecture on craft chocolate followed by a tasting, or a practical workshop where my guests create their own chocolate bars.
In these 1.5-2 hours, I manage to turn the guests' world upside down and reshape their perception of chocolate. If after my performance 20% of the guests start buying higher-quality chocolate, I'd see it as a success!
My events are more of a performance than a simple workshop. First of all, it's never boring! It's a spectacle, and as the host, I grasp people's attention. Second of all, the theatrical, playful approach is powerful and liberating. In this playful field, people can discover something new about themselves and see the mundane in a new light.
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