Julien Rousseau-Dumarcet (left) and Nathalie Morin (right), co-founders of Rousseau Chocolatier
Written by Raf Peligro
The holidays aren’t the holidays without traditions. And as a mother and co-owner of Rousseau Chocolatier, Nathalie Morin is well acquainted with the traditions that define the season.
During this time of year, busy is an understatement for Nathalie. She, alongside husband and co-owner Julien Rousseau-Dumarcet, produces and sells many kinds of chocolate delights for customers including chocolate boxes, advent calendars, chocolate ornaments, chocolate trees, and more. Their treats have become staples for many Haligonians and their holiday preparations – given away as gifts, used for stocking stuffers, and, of course, for savouring during this special time.
“We’ve had customers say it’s not the holidays in their house without Rousseau chocolates,” shares Nathalie. “It warms my heart to hear that we’re now part of many families’ traditions.”
Behind the scenes at the store, located at 5151 South Street, the close-knit Rousseau crew have also created their own traditions. To celebrate the season and to show her appreciation for them, Nathalie brings the team together for dinner at a local restaurant. They also wind down at The Board Room Game Cafe for games and good fun.
Nathalie is a mother of two, so juggling work and family during this hectic season is a challenge. She admits that she and Julien don’t get to spend much time with the kids leading up to the holidays, but that hasn’t stopped them from ensuring the little ones make the most of the festivities. Thanks in part to the store’s location, Downtown Halifax plays a role in their family’s traditions.
The little ones, aged 3 and 6, are now old enough to fully appreciate the holidays and look forward to everything related to the season. They enjoy waving to the festive floats and dancing along to the music during the Saltwire Holiday Parade of Lights. Often, her children also stop by the store, have a cup of Rousseau’s hot chocolate, and then run over to Peace and Friendship Park to see the sparkling 26-foot-tall DELIGHTFUL DOWNTOWN Tree.
A highlight of the young family’s holiday season is the Evergreen Festival at the Halifax Waterfront. “Evergreen reminds me of the markets Julien and I loved going to when we lived in Europe,” says Nathalie. “The kids love getting bundled up to see the outdoor fire pits, the light installations, and the vendors.”
Nathalie and Julien have also recently added a new tradition for themselves: attending the Boney M. holiday show at Scotiabank Centre. “Last year, we enjoyed going to a Downtown restaurant before the show,” says Nathalie. “We heard they’re returning this year, so we’re planning to do it again.”
Despite the demands of work and family life during the season, Nathalie says it’s all worth it when she sees her children’s faces as they go through their holiday traditions.
“The holidays can be a lot physically and emotionally for me and my husband – and for many people,” shares Nathalie. “But through my children, we get to relive our childhoods and to find joy in an otherwise busy time of our lives.”
Nathalie also generously shared a special Morin family recipe steeped in tradition. “My grandmother used to make us these chocolate chip cookies,” says Nathalie. “Julien and I now make these for our kids – made with Rousseau chocolate, of course!”
Grand-mère’s Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 2 to 2-1/4 cup flour*
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup of Premium Sustainable Baking Chocolate from Rousseau Chocolatier
Mix butter, shortening, eggs, vanilla, brown sugar, and white sugar together using an electric mixer.
Add the flour*, baking soda, and chocolate to the mixture.
Drop by the tablespoon full onto a regular baking sheet.
Bake at 350F for approximately 10 to 12 minutes or until golden.
*Note from Nathalie: The dough should be somewhat greasy but not sticky. Play with the flour mixture by adding some or all the extra 1/4 cup of flour to get the right consistency – it may take some practice!
This article originally appeared in the 2023 Downtown Halifax Holiday Gift Guide .