Raglan’s newest eatery La La Land opened its doors recently offering a bounty of tasty treats for the discerning sweet tooth with plenty vegan and gluten-free options.
Selling organic, fair trade chocolate from master chocolate makers around New Zealand, including Whaingaroa’s own Raglan Chocolate, Honest chocolate from Matakana, Hogarth from Nelson, Swiss Bliss from Matakana and She Universe from Christchurch, owner Monika Suchecka is very pleased with the reception she has had so far.
“The feedback I have had is so positive – my heart is melting every day,” she says.
She also sells delectable gluten-free cake, gluten-free waffles, gluten-free real hot chocolate, coffee and other sweet delights.
Monika uses a churro batter for her delectable waffles and the sweet selection includes salted chocolate caramel, fresh cream, brownie – dulce de leche and candied pecans – fresh fruit and cream – toasted marshmallow cream and torched marshmallow.
Originally from Poland, Monika has transformed the flower shop next to Orca into a chocolate shop with a European twist.
Investing a lot of time and energy into creating the look she desired, Monika has sourced European-inspired décor, scoured Kaahu’s Nest for furniture she could upcycle and she’s added lovely family-friendly touches with wooden toys under the pohutukawa tree out the front.
Taking inspiration for the shop from the movies Chocolat and La La Land, which combines her two great loves of chocolate and jazz, Monika’s added a piano to the little chocolate shop and hopes to inspire locals to come in and play some tunes.
Monika says Raglan is full of hidden talent and sometimes the most unlikely people will surprise with their passion for music.
“An electrician came in with dirty big boots and asked if he could play – he was amazing.”
Having worked in hospitality around Europe including seven years in Dublin, Monika moved to New Zealand six years ago to continue working in the industry she is passionate about. She is also a wedding photographer – something she loves and continues to do.
“I’ve been in hospitality for so long and I treated each workplace as my own. I felt like I was investing a lot of energy into someone else’s dream,” she says.
It’s a dream come true to finally put her own stamp on a food business she can feel proud of and truly make her own.
And, being able to live in Raglan is the sweet icing on the top of that dream.
“I had always dreamed of opening a shop with a big tree out the front so when I found this place, I couldn’t believe my luck. It’s so beautiful here – I love the children climbing the tree outside, seeing them swimming and jumping from the bridge. We are so lucky to have such beautiful nature around us.”
Check out La La Land on 2 Wallis St – next to Orca – open 7 days a week – Sunday to Wednesday 7.30am-8pm, Thursday, Friday and Saturday 7.30am-9pm.