Stick With Me Sweets, which started as a modest, tiny chocolate shop in New York in 2014, quickly gained popularity for cute little bonbons with a variety of unique fillings. Last week, SWMS opened its first boutique shop outside the US, here in Seoul.
Korean American chocolatier Susanna Yoon said her second shop had to be in Seoul for many reasons.
“I’m deeply rooted here (as a Korean American) and returning here feels like I’m at home and it feels really reconnected. I’m really excited to engage with people here and also with new experience,” Yoon told The Korea Herald in an interview at the boutique located in the Apgujeong neighborhood of Seoul on April 11.
Another reason for opening a store in Seoul goes back to her student days at culinary school.
“Even at school, chocolate was my favorite subject. I felt like I wanted to take the intricate and extraordinary elements and apply them to the ingredients of chocolate,” she said, adding that her sweets are to help Korean customers enjoy chocolate in a “multidimensional way.”
“Chocolate is not very popular in Korea. And people here are more used to tasting classic French-style chocolate, a silky square chocolate using cream. But you know, what you can do with chocolate is endless. You can put liquid, make it chewy, fluffy, airy and flowy … you can play with more texture as well,” Yoon said.
Inside the jewel-like bonbons, rare ingredients like liquid sea salt, guava passion fruit, calamansi meringue pie, yuzu, sesame and matcha blend well with the white, dark and milk chocolate base. At SWMS, customers are recommended to eat these bonbons from the side, to taste the ingredients top down.
Exclusively at the Seoul boutique store, SWMS sells a New York cheesecake variety, which is literally a smaller version of cheesecake encased in a nail-sized bonbon – perfectly reproducing the pie crust and thick cream.
“We want to make sure that ratio of chocolate and what’s inside doesn’t hinder the flavor,” she said, adding that she makes sure the height of the dome-like bonbons is fixed.
Before she opened her petite boutique, Yoon was a chocolatier at Per Se.
One thing she has committed to since is to keeping her shops as small as possible.
“We are an artisan brand, not from a large company. Everything is handcrafted and our mission is to create unforgettable memory. Also for the ingredients, we source all the elements. Same for the Seoul boutique shop. We try to get the best sesame across the country and source them to make the best sesame bonbon,” she said, adding she would ensure the quality of the chocolate wherever and whenever.
“For me, chocolate is an endless possibility. I get inspirations serendipitously,” Yoon said.
"I think of a color combination while walking on the street, seeing flowers and looking at signs."