A Lovestory

The story of Mercedes chocolate pralines is a tale about love,
two cultures that meet and courageous life choices

Mercedes comes from the land where the most aromatic cacao grows: sunny Venezuela. Back in the days, when she worked at the Finnish Embassy in the capital Caracas, she once took care of a couple of Finnish ceramists that were on a exhibition tour. One of them was from Åland – and she could not forget him.

Today Mercedes lives in the Åland Islands with her husband Peter Winquist and runs a small Chocolaterie in the beautiful Post and Custom House in Eckerö at a stonecast from the Åland Sea.  She knew that some of the best cacao in the world comes from Venezuela, and she knew that the fantastic cream and butter produced in the Åland Islands are of a supreme quality. She thought that combining these ingredients would make sense in reflecting her own reality.  She then looked for Swedish Chocolate guru Jan Hedh, who introduced to the secrets of working with chocolate.

“Chocolate is a passion that does not end and I live with it 24 hours a day.  At the same time it has been a personal challenge to make something really good in a small format.  Something that one does not need to eat in big amount to feel satisfied”, Mercedes explains.”

Mercedes enjoys the entire process of creating a praline, from experimenting with new taste combinations to mixing the ganache, to covering the pralines, decorating them and placing them pretty in their boxes. “Making pralines has a lot to do with chemistry, exact measures and exact temperatures.

Well-made, handmade pralines can be something very special.

Pay attention to the different layers in a good praline, with different consistencies and tastes: the hard and the soft, the creamy and the crispy, the bitter and the sweet, the soft and the strong.  It is these contrast that make the journey interesting.  Don´t miss them. A well made praline is not just candy to be stuffed with.  It is more like a treasure: a little box filled with intricate tastes.