Lenora Nysse started whisking up delectable chocolates in her Wairarapa kitchen in the 1970s before moving to the Kapiti Coast, where Nyco Chocolates secured a thriving niche market.
Inspired when her Dutch-born husband Karel Nysse brought her some chocolates from Europe and they melted on the way home, Kiwi Lenora started making chocolates using European chocolate moulds as a hobby.
Demand flourished and the hobby turned into a business in 1981.
Growing demand for her chocolates meant she could not produce enough at home.
The business was moved into a small shop and Karel became the company adviser.
In 1985, Steven Nysse returned from overseas and joined his mother in the blossoming family gourmet chocolate business.
He started to sell the chocolates throughout New Zealand and sales grew rapidly - climbing from $50,000 to $1.2 million over four years. The factory was expanded to three buildings.
In 1992, the family decided to relocate the factory to Paraparaumu and add a retail shop and factory tour experience, which attracts thousands of visitors a year.
After investing in more machinery, Nyco now manufactures up to 80,000 high-quality chocolates a day using imported Belgian chocolate as a base and adding centres, flavours and packaging.
Nyco specialises in fruity New Zealand flavours, including kiwifruit. Packaging is also distinctly Kiwi, with boxes of chocolate rugby balls and manuka honey chocolates favourites with shoppers.
As well as supplying the retail shop on the corner of State Highway 1 and Raumati Rd, the company manufactures chocolates for well known domestic brands including Fonterra.
It exports to Japan, Singapore, Australia, the Middle East and the Pacific islands.
The firm also specialises in private label chocolates, tourist boxed chocolates and a wide range of chocolate products for the ice cream and baking industries.
It is presently launching a new product - dairy-free ice-cream, made from coconut milk with mango, manuka honey and chocolate flavours.
The company had a turnover of about $1.5 million last year.
Manager Paul Soncodi said although the market was a little depressed business was still buoyant. The company employed 12 staff which increased to about 20 during the high summer season.
They had supplied chocolates for the United Nations peacekeepers, designed to not melt in high temperatures, and there had been strong interest from hotels and restaurants in the new dairy-free ice-cream.
Asked if there was a secret ingredient to Nyco's delicious chocolates, Soncodi said "it is love. They are very delicious".
- © Fairfax NZ News