The Honest Chocolate Café opened a week ago on Wale Street, in a building next door to where it operated Honest Chocolate, the first outlet from which the owners Anthony Gird and Michael de Klerk first made and sold their artisanal dark chocolate in 2011. The Honest Chocolate Café sells all things chocolate, a blackboard as well as a menu detailing what treasures one can order.
Anthony says he ‘stumbled’ into chocolate-making, not having any culinary background. Using raw cocoa powder he had found in health shops, he experimented with it to make chocolates that his friends loved. Michael was living in London at the time, specialising in website design, and he too was experimenting with chocolate-making, having been inspired by a friend in New York to do so. The team call themselves ‘imperfectionists’, learning as they go along. They have started with making moulded and dipped truffles, and sold their first handcrafted chocolates at the Old Biscuit Mill. Their chocolates do not contain dairy or emulsifiers, and they only use natural fructose. The raw organic cocoa beans are sourced from Super Foods, who in turn source them from a co-operative in Ecuador, which is also known to make one of the top chocolates in the world. Their cocoa beans are not roasted, unlike other cocoa producers. The beans have a great aroma, have anti-ageing properties, and are good for the heart. They use agave nectar instead of sugar, which is low GI, and is therefore diabetic-friendly. In addition to truffles, they make small slabs, each new product wrapper designed by a different designer: a rabbit on the 72 % bar, and an illustration of the Kalahari desert on the Salt bar. They also make a chocolate spread.‘At Honest we’re into dark chocolate. We make it by hand in Cape Town using only the finest organic cocoa. There are no preservative, artificial flavours or emulsifiers in our chocolate, keeping it s pure as possible. It is also free of dairy and cane sugar. All Honest Chocolate Café food is made with local and organic ingredient as far a possible, and we support our fellow local small-scale food producers. We have vegan and gluten-free options, but we also have good old-fashioned butter, eggs and flour baked goods’.
Shay Terblanche is the manager and chef, he told me proudly, having returned after a year in Miami, and having studied at Capsicum College and Chez Gourmet, and previously worked at The Test Kitchen, Crystal Towers hotel, Tsogo Sun, Nude Café, and Societi Bistro.
I arrived about 15 minutes before closing time yesterday, just as Shay wanted to close, but he welcomed me inside, as he did with the other customers arriving thereafter. The room is dominated by a counter, on which some of the chocolate treats are displayed. A refrigerated display cabinet contains the dark chocolate truffles. Tables are set up along the side wall, and seating in the window is available too. The interior appears dark, despite the light being on, with only one ceiling light. We were told that the kitchen had closed already, but I was allowed to order a ball of vanilla ice cream (the chocolate had sold out during the morning), and a slice of the most delicious chocolate cake, with a thick layer of chocolate icing. Other customers ordered the banana bread ‘bunny chow’, the banana bread centre being removed and sprinkled on the platter, and the opening filled with chocolate sauce. Shay was impressive, asking the customers if they would allow me (‘the blogger’) to photograph their dish, and they agreed!
The menu is simply presented on cream paper, and offers
* chocolates, including truffles (R14), chocolate cups (R17), truffle tasting board (three truffles with sugar and salt, at R45), and macarons made by Ma Mere with Honest Chocolate (R12)
* cakes, pastries, and tarts: the chocolate cake costs R35 a slice, croissants R18, brownies R20, and tarts R35.
* ‘specialities‘: thick pressed toast made from Woodstock Bakery sourdough/rye smothered with a chocolate spread (R28); chocolate pizza R55); nachos and chocolate guacamole (R38); and banana bread ‘bunny chow’ filled with macadamia nut spread and ice cream (R48).
* ice cream comes from Sorbètiere in Woodstock, vanilla and chocolate offered at R28 per scoop, as well as a Honest dairy-free ice cream at R40, in vanilla and chocolate flavours too.
* beverages: Honest hot chocolate R25, Coffee R18, cappuccino R20, Lady Bonin blended teas R16/R18, milkshakes R35, iced chocolate milk R16/R22.
The Honest Chocolate Café is a unique haven and heaven for chocoholics, who will enjoy the diversity of chocolate offerings.
Honest Chocolate Café, 64 Wale Street, Cape Town. Cell 0828293877/0827363889 www.honestchocolate.co.za Twitter: @HonestChocolate
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Tel (021) 433-2100, Twitter:@WhaleCottage Facebook: click here