Daniel Hutmacher is proud to call himself a Swiss chocolatier - even though his factory is far from home.
Located in the hot and dusty desert of Ras Al Khaimah, The Swiss Chocolatiers of the Desert make 100kg of handmade chocolates a week.
Mr Hutmacher, who first trained in the industry in Switzerland, spent 20 years working in Europe, Asia, and elsewhere in the Middle East, before arriving in the Emirates more than six years ago, where he worked as the regional director for food and beverage for Movenpick Hotels.
"I was getting a little bit fed up ... because in the position of regional director I was constantly travelling," he says.
"I was not seeing my family anymore except for when I went home to sleep. That's no fun," adds Mr Hutmacher, who is now the managing director of The Swiss Chocolatiers of the Desert.
Mr Hutmacher started looking around for other opportunities and after conducting a small market survey into the consumption of chocolate in the region he decided to return to his roots. "Swiss people [consume] around 11.5kg per capita per year," he says.
"I found that the Middle East, and especially Saudi Arabia, consumes more. When we did our research we found Saudi people consuming up to 13kg. UAE - we were 11.5kg or 12kg," he says.
But back in 2007, when he started looking for somewhere to base his business, the cost of living and rents in Dubai were spiralling.
So he decided to look further afield and settled on Ras Al Khaimah.
He hired his sister as the head of production and brought in a top Swiss chocolatier who was working in New York to help get the business going.
"He was with us for two and a half years and now he has gone on in his career. In the meantime, I caught up with my skills," Mr Hutmacher says.
He still works in the factory, when he is not travelling around the emirates securing new clients. And he counts some of the UAE's top hotels among his customers, including the Banyan Tree resort in Ras Al Khaimah, The Address hotels in Dubai and the Armani Hotel in Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world.
When hiring staff, the only qualifications he seeks is a positive approach to life and work, plus the ability to speak English. He teaches trainee staff everything else.
He now has seven employees - and they all have a say in hiring, and the way the business is run. "We have lunch together. We all sit at the same table together," says Mr Hutmacher.
"There is no hierarchy or difference. And it is quite unsettling for employees, because they are used to being told what to do. We specifically ask them to participate," he adds.
The factory takes three days to produce just one batch of chocolates, and an alarm system connected to Mr Hutmacher's mobile phone monitors the air temperature and humidity levels at the factory. But the business does not manufacture everything in-house; it buys chocolate bars, which it then reconfigures and wraps around the various fillings that it creates in-house. The company does this at the moment because it does not have the facilities to produce chocolate from scratch yet.
Besides, says Mr Hutmacher, "we don't sell what is outside; we sell what is inside - [the filling]."
Nevertheless, he is trying to woo an investor to move to phase two of his business plan: to make chocolate on site; and open a string of boutique-style shops. "What we would like to do is to team up with a company where we take their chocolate now and take their knowledge and start developing here," he says.
"I would present them at a chocolate museum. Ras Al Khaimah needs some tourist destinations and that would be an anchor," he adds.
The shops are planned to include chocolates aimed at Middle East tastes. "To give you some other hints, there will be coffee roasted on the spot to draw you in by your nose, chocolate finished in the boutique on the front part, different displays, pastries finished behind glass so you can really observe what is being done," he adds.