Moniki Chocolatier – an outing in Tulbagh to remember!
Don’t expect to find Moniki Chocolatier, on the outskirts of Tulbagh, easily. In hindsight, after much muttering about the derth of clearly marked signs, I realise that the rickety, wooden, handmade signage that changes without warning, from green, to purple as you enter Schoonderzicht Farm, are probably just part of the charm of what was by far my favourite stop whilst staying in Tulbagh.
The ride out here is well worth it. From the edge of town the scenery begins to improve as one heads closer to the Witzenberg Mountains, against which Schoonderzicht Farm, the home of Moniki Chocolaterie, rests. The farm is simply gorgeous and one sits on the porch of the 18th century gabled farmhouse or the garden of the rustic Dutch style farmhouse overlooking a valley lined with the Winterhoek Mountains, whilst savouring a selection of some of the most decadent chocolates known to man, made all the more tasty for the view, and the accompanying coffee, tea, port or amarula. And this small pleasure came at a nominal cost of R25 a head.
Think chilli and pinotage, aniseed, dutch caramel, ginger and orange, brandy truffles and shiraz with pepper and salt – just a few of the sample chocolates on offer. Moniki combines the chocolate making methods of Dutch and Belgian chocolatiers but tries to use local ingredients as much as possible. Moniki’s owner is Niki de Wolf, but we were met at the door by Berry Horing, Moniki’s other chocolatier who has been with Niki since the business began in 2005, when she started by helping with the packaging.
This is the home of chocoholics, and you’ll be glad to know that you can do a lot more here than simply sample and buy truffles and pralines. You can also head out here for high tea (which I believe includes chocolates AND cake), when the electricity is not off as it was when we arrived, or one can do group truffle-making workshops, although you’ll need to book in advance.
The beautiful 200-year old building right next door to the tasting room is also a guest house, and the farm serves as a wedding reception venue and a site for picnics, and is easily one of the most romantic settings I’ve seen.
As we sat relaxing and drinking in the view out in the garden on slightly damp wooden benches (the weather had been alternating between spring and winter all morning) with the horses in a paddock a little to our left, it felt almost surreal to have stumbled on a chocolaterie virtually in the middle of the mountains, but we were so glad we had.
Schoonderzicht Farm, Tulbagh, Western Cape
Telephone: +27 (0)23 230-0673 or Cell: +27 (0)72 504-9592