Sure we can dash out to Pick n Pay and snatch a couple of Easter eggs, or Lindt bunnies off the shelves – they’re convenient, it’s easy, and the kids love the bright gaudiness. But what’s in the chocolate? And how good does it taste? More importantly, who benefits when you buy them?
There are more than a handful of chocolatiers in South Africa, producing fine, handmade chocolate. A few of them are even organic. In fact, we’ve even found the odd raw chocolate producer on our travels, for those of you following the raw food trend.
And so we’ve put together a list of chocolatiers near you. This time when you dash out for last minute chocolates, make it a trip to your latest real chocolate producer, where the people who benefit are local, where the chocolate produced is ethical, and where, more often than not, the money you spend is well worth every penny for the numm factor.
14 Artisanal Handmade Chocolate Makers in South Africa
In The Western Cape
Saszali Handmade Chocolates, Cape Town
When it comes to original packaging and sheer ‘wow’ factor for the way they look, then Saszali chocolates come in tops. You’ll find them at the City Bowl Market on Hope Street, Gardens, on Saturday mornings. Anya makes her chocolates from the best couverture chocolate, infusing them with herbs and spices, fresh fruits, teas and other wonderful ingredients.
Telephone: +27 (0)79 358-5250
Von Geusau, Greyton
Fortunately for you, laying your hands on a few Von Geusau pralines or truffles does not necessitate a trip all the way to Greyton (although a visit to the little town is well worth your while, particularly as the Oak and Vigne Cafe has a tasting section). Von Geusau’s delicious Belgian chocolates are well stocked at a Melissa’s store near you. Indulge in exotic flavours like Masala Chai, Earl Grey, Star Anise, Rose Geranium, Cinnamon and Orange and Lemon Vanilla. As an Easter gift you can’t go wrong…
Telephone: +27 (28) 254- 9100
Roland Ramm, Cape Town
Where else would you find a chocolatier and confectioner in Cape Town but on Kloof Nek Road, where Roland Ramm has been supplying the city with his handmade chocolates since 1984. Called The Chocolate House and voted the Best chocolate shop in the Western Cape in 2009 by Cosmo, expect to find truffles, creams, pralines, ganaches and fondants spread out before you in an ensemble you will find it hard to resist.
Telephone: Not available
Moniki Chocolatier, Tulbagh
Moniki Chocolatier, owned by Nikki de Wolf, is well worth the trip to Tulbagh. Her charming little shop is set on her ‘farm’ just outside town where you can experience chocolate tasting and coffee together, whilst looking at a view to remember. The quaint little shop has a long stoep and you duck to enter, and the chocolates too have an olde worlde charm, not least because they’re all freshly made with the finest ingredients.
Telephone: +27 (0)23 230-0673
Huguenot Fine Chocolates, Franschhoek
Hand crafted Belgian chocolates by a BEE producer, their boutique chocolaterie can be found on the main street of Franschhoek where a range of pralines and truffles will have you weak at the knees. Also find an array of gift boxes with a selection of chocolates, watch chocolate being made, or take the Chocolate Experience at Huguenot Fine Chocolates. One doesn’t need Easter as an excuse, in other words.
Telephone: +27 (0)21 876-4096 or +27(0)21 876-4450
DV Artisan Chocolate, Hermanus
Based in Hermanus, DV Artisan Chocolate is a ‘bean-to-bar’ micro batch chocolate maker, one of few in the world (the only other one in SA, as far as we know, is Cocoafair). The team source beans from all over the world, roast their beans and then slowly grind, refine and conch using ancient chocolate making techniques. Containing only authentic ingredients, no vegetable fats, soya lecithin or vanilla and certainly no artificial colourings or flavourings, you’ll know them by their disintinctive colourful packaging. Taste them at Newton Johnson Wines in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, and contact them for stockists.
Telephone: +27 (0)87 808-1616
GaBoLi Chocolates, Betty’s Bay
Handmade by Gaspard, the chef of well known restaurant The Whaling Station in Betty’s Bay, there is a lovely story behind GaBoLi chocolates about how a world-renowned chocolatier offered, after tasting Gaspard’s initial attempts, to teach him the finer details of chocolate making. GaBoLi stands for Gaspard Bossut Limited, limited because there is only one of him and he can only make so many… find them in Hermanus at the Wine Village and at Dassiesfontein.
Telephone: +27 (0)28 272-9421
Cocoafair, Cape Town
Cape Town‘s latest chocolatier is something slightly different. Not only is it artisan chocolate and organic, and reasonable, but it is also ethical. Cocoafair are the first organic bean-to-bar chocolate factory in Africa, based on social entrepreneurship. The factory produces chocolate bars, pralines and truffles in a way that improves the lives of many, not just the business – it’s profit, planet, people in the real sense of the word – read our blog post for more.
Telephone: +27 (0)73 855-8096
Honest, Raw Organic Chocolate, Cape Town
Anthony and Michael of Honest, believe in keeping things hand-crafted, using quality raw and organically produced ingredients and making a pure dark chocolate that has a deliciously distinct feel and taste. Based in the City Bowl, the team make bonbon truffles, simple slabs and chocolate spread. You can find them at the Neighbourgoods Market at the Biscuit Mill, Wellness Warehouse and other health shops and delis throughout the country.
Telephone: +27 (0)21 423-8762
Chocolate Memories, Central Drakensberg
Fine handmade chocolate made in the shadow of Cathkin Peak and Champagne Castle mountains in the Drakensberg can only taste good, and is luckily also available at outlets in local gift shops, delis and restaurants in KZN, Gauteng and across the country. The chocolate used in the production comes from Callebaut in Belgium.
Telephone: Not available
McKinley Chocolates, Clarens
Handmade chocolates by Calen Thomas, born and raised in Alaska but relocated to Ficksburg in the Free State, he learned chocolate making from his mother and a good friend of his, after which he trained with Belgian chocolatiers in Alaska and with Lindt in South Africa. Now based in Clarens, all McKinley chocolates are made using Swiss and Belgian chocolate. Find a choice of ganache and pralines that will have your mouth watering, truffles and a range of nougats.
Telephone: +27 (0)82 798-5052
Geldhof Chocolatier, Johannesburg
A secret recipe, the best ingredients and quality couverture chocolate. Handmade dark, milk or white chocolate that easily evokes the hmmm factor. Based in Sandton, Johannesburg, Geldhof Chocolatier also make their own chocolate from beans. Luckily they have a few branches around Jo’burg, for when the urge takes you.
Telephone: +27 (0)11 784-5403
Snyman Sjokolateur, Pretoria
Snyman Sjokolateur is a husband and wife team. Hannes and Wenette both qualified as chocolatiers in 2005 in the little town of Kortrijk in Belgium. Snyman Sjokolateur is thus as close in atmosphere as possible to the outlets you would find in the Flemish town of Brugge. The team handcraft an array of Belgian chocolates and pralines in Pretoria. Best of all, they have an online store for their pralines, ballotins and slabs, so you don’t even have to rush off to buy these, but can do so in the comfort of your home.
Telephone: +27 (0)12 347-1828