Heloise Richard started making chocolate around seven years ago. Chocolate was very important to her from the first moments she can remember, and so off she went to school in Paris for one year to study pastry. Half of the time she was learning theory in class, and half the time she was in the kitchen at the Park Hyatt in the city centre making pastries for guests.

After she obtained her certificate, she worked at various places in Paris for around four years and a half. Eventually she stopped working and wanted to open something on her own. Things didn’t go as planned, and so she made the jump to Vietnam.

“I used to live here when I was a kid. For three years my parents were working for Vietnam Airlines,” Richard says. “I’ve been here two and a half years, and before I went to school in Paris I was living in China for two years to learn Chinese.”

Heloise loves Vietnam for many reasons, but a major one is that they produce great cacao beans here. In France she was always working with chocolate but never got to see where it came from. When she first arrived here she worked with Marou Chocolate and learned a lot about the entire process of making chocolate from the bean. Richard does her best to use all Vietnamese products. There’s some things like cream and butter that she currently can’t find sources of to meet her needs. When she uses fruits they are always fresh and organic.

Chocolat Frea uses sustainable practices like employing banana leaf as reusable packaging and providing recyclable wooden boxes for transporting their desserts to customers.

Richard set up her chocolate laboratory in her house all by herself. It’s a series of cool, clean, stainless steel tables and organizational compartments.

“I have a freezer, a fridge and my marble tables to work the chocolate and dough for the pastries – all by hand.” Richard smiles like she couldn’t possibly get tired of this labour of love.

“I opened this place to be able to show to customers what I sell,” Richard explains. “In Vietnam, not many people know about a proper chocolate sweets, something I specialise in. Like praline or granache are not common here. It’s difficult to introduce to people if they don’t already know what it is. It’s so much better for people to come here and learn and talk about the desserts. To learn at the same time as enjoying.”

One cookie is VND25,000 – one box of chocolate has a first time price of VND250,000 (the reusable box costs VN50,000). For your next order return the box and the price is VND200,000. If you call ahead for any special events, she can cater fantastic desserts to impress your guests.