Koko Black’s journey began in 2001, when Shane Hills set off to discover the essence of chocolate, which he felt was not being fully expressed. Shane travelled to Solingen in Germany to learn the art of chocolate making from the bean and more, and then onto Bruges in Belgium where he was introduced to Dries Cnockaert, a very passionate and talented chocolatier. Inspired by Shane’s dream and with his own desire for adventure, Dries moved to Melbourne to help create the start of our chocolate signature.
Our aim has not changed since these formative days; the dream to create something special. The company started with the idea to create a world-class chocolate experience, not just a product sitting on the shelf; the idea that chocolate could inspire, to ignite connections with chocolate’s deep sensory pleasure and personality. What we find most inspiring at Koko Black are things that have clearly required a dedication to excellence; whatever the field. This is at the heart of our aims for chocolate and confectionery.
Koko Black commenced business in December 2003 in Melbourne’s historic Royal Arcade, and since this time has earned a reputation for bringing to life the magic quality of chocolate, across its elegant chocolate salons and handcrafted product range. Today, Koko Black employs over 250 people, with seven Melbourne-based salons and two interstate salons in Canberra and Claremont, Perth. An eighth Salon is expected to open in Melbourne in early 2013. Shane also owns ‘Suga’, a Melbourne institution.
Shane is married to Mirka and together they have two girls Sienna, 6 and Aurelia, 3. Chocolates named in their honour include the Sienna Strawberry Hearts and the Aurelia Champagne Truffle.