Lokaal verhaal: Friandries
'Choc your senses' is how Friandries wins over chocolate connoisseurs and newcomers alike. Surprising flavour combinations, innovative techniques and chocolates that look like art. The success of the Tilburg chocolate concept is unprecedented. We got a chance to learn more about the story of Friandries and the launch of their latest project from founder Dries Michels and associate Sep Hannen. You'll discover it all in this edition of Lokaal verhaal.
Photos: Jules van Iperen
CAN YOU TELL A BIT MORE ABOUT THE START/CREATION OF FRIANDRIES?
Dries: "Actually, it all started with my training as a specialised cook and pastry chef. I took the course at the time because it allowed me to express my creativity. During my training we also had classes on chocolate and that's where the adventure began. I fell in love with chocolate as a product, in my opinion it was incredibly versatile and could be done with much more than conventional uses of chocolate. Like the bonbon, a product with a rather dusty image. I wanted to breathe new life into that and make it available and appealing to everyone. Thus began the adventure and I came up with the concept Friandries.
In the beginning, I was on Ijzerstraat, where I did everything myself from production to sales. That's where ambitions to open a shop began. At the time, I also took part in the Chocolate Show on TV. An exciting and intensive project that took up a lot of time. I was short of hands and time. At that time, I met my business partner Sep Hannen."
Sep: " True, I was working on another project at the time, but the more I learned about Dries' concept and how he worked the more enthusiastic I became. It clicked well and the love for the product was there, so we decided to start working together.
Over the years, we kept growing steadily, so we ran out of manpower and space in Willem II Street. There we made everything in the back of the chocolate workshop. Meanwhile, we have been in the production location on Floresstraat for a year now with 15 people and Willem II-Straat has become our flagship store."
What is your collaboration like?
Sep: "I am responsible for the financial, commercial and operational, Dries is responsible for all the creative. We leave each other free in our disciplines, which creates a nice balance and strengthens each other."
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