Chocolat! is all about creating flavour sensations.
The chocolate boutique, based in Port Elizabeth, brought their aromatic coffees and exquisite handmade mousse truffles to the Festival on 30 June and 1 July. The business, owned by Raymond and Niki Westraadt, aims to combine and balance the bitter flavours of black Arabica coffee with the sweetness of their cocoa butter products.
The presentation tables were adorned with trays of bite-sized delicacies with crushed nuts and other garnishes scattered on top. Details of the techniques used in production were discussed, such as tables of cupcake-shaped moulds that vibrate to rid air bubbles.
Their spectrum ranges from 70% cocoa dark chocolates to white cocoa butter chocolates, featuring alcohol-infused chocolates for those inclined. Tasting cards were placed on each seat for the audience’s arrival, bearing three elegant truffles and three chocolate squares, each emblazoned with the word ‘Chocolate’ between rectangular patterns.
Audience members were encouraged to snap the squares to demonstrate their quality. Sharper cracks come from purer products, while duller breaks indicate more additives – particularly dairy products.
Chocolat’s combinations are precise. The creamy cocoa flavours and oozing velvet mousse of the truffles swirl on the palate when chased with a sip of steaming Arabica. However, cocoa wasn’t always the sweet indulgence it is today.
Human consumption of cocoa originated with the Aztec people approximately 4000 years ago. A bitter drink was produced from the plant and used for its medicinal benefits: among others, the euphoric buzz of endorphins releasing. These apparent medicinal benefits are found in dark chocolates today, concentrated in products that are a minimum of 70% cocoa.
While chocolate may not be the prescription of choice for medical professionals, its delectable taste excites taste buds and entices nostrils. It embeds relationships over shared slabs and repairs wrongs when given as a ‘sorry’ gift. Chocolate has become a significant culinary phenomenon, and the calibre of products offered by Chocolat! encapsulate why.
By Ash Dean