About Us

Arno Backes has been passionate about chocolate all his life and with a keen eye for detail; he has devoted himself to creating superb chocolate creations that taste every bit as good as they look.

Gânache Chocolate opened in South Yarra in April 2008, after Arno’s long career in Europe and Australia and travels around the world.

2010 saw expansion and the opening of another Gânache Chocolate on Collins Street in Melbourne’s CBD. Similar in style to the original, Gânache Chocolate in the city offers the same wide range of chocolate, patisserie, desserts and gelato, delivered with impeccable service.

In 2011, it was time to extend the South Yarra kitchen space into the property next door, to make room for an ever growing number of chocolatiers and pastry chefs, to produce the growing number of delicious items created by Arno and his team.

Gânache Chocolate started with just one Pastry Chef working with Arno, there are now 15 highly trained and devoted team members creating everything from chocolate bars to chocolate bunnies, tea cakes to macaron towers and everything in between.

The team of staff working in the chocolate lounges are led by Steve Kearney, the Senior Service Manager, who joined Gânache Chocolate in 2009, bringing a wealth of experience from a fine dining and service background.

Passionate about the products created in the kitchen in South Yarra, our staff are instrumental in giving our customers the best European style chocolate experience.

So where did the idea for a European style Chocolate Lounge come from?

Growing up in Germany, near the border of France and Luxembourg, Arno was fascinated by the artisan approach to cooking and at the age of 15 enrolled in a pastry chef apprenticeship at the Brueckencafe in St. Wendel. After several years, Arno moved to London to accept a role at Marasus Petit Fours, where he refined the art of preparing handcrafted chocolates for famous establishments, including Harrods, The Ritz, The Dorchester, Glen Eagles and on occasion, the British Royal Family.

After 2 years in London, Arno immersed himself in learning the art of dessert preparation, Friandise and sugar show pieces at the renowned 5 star Hotel St. Gotthard in Switzerland, working with famed sugar artist Ewald Notter. Following a short stint in Berlin at the internationally respected cafe Opern Palais, Arno joined the acclaimed Patisserie Luitpold in Munich. Working there for two years before completing his master degree at the best College for pastry chefs in Germany, The Master College in Munich, Arno graduated as dux, winning the Bavarian championship and a gold medal from the state government.

After graduating, Arno took a year off to fulfil a lifetime ambition of completing an overland motorcycle trip from Munich to Sydney. On his return, he was appointed as chef of a traditional pastry house in Pfaffenhofen, near Munich, where he was in charge of four full time pastry chefs and four apprentices, making a large variety of chocolates, patisserie, gateaux's, desserts and biscuits.

Chocolate being the main focus in his career, Arno and his partner Sian spent 18 months in South America, riding motorcycles and researching the origins of coffee and chocolate. On their return to Germany they successfully published a book about their travels.

In 2004, Arno and Sian moved to Australia, and Arno took up the position of Head Chocolatier for an Australian chocolate company, then in 2008, they decided to pursue their goal of opening a speciality chocolate lounge and Ganache Chocolate came into existence.

Since then Arno’s chocolates have won accolades including a gold medal at the Royal Melbourne Fine Food awards and Competitors Choice at Chocolate Rush. Invitations to speak at events such as the Melbourne Food & Wine festival and numerous teaching engagements keep Arno busy, but he is never far from his chocolate.