Studio Visit: Honest Chocolate
Ages ago, we sampled and really, really enjoyed the delcious creations of Honest Chocolate! We initially spotted their raw chocolates at the Neighbourgoods Market in Cape Town and recently visited the studio in Woodstock and chatted to Ant about his business jounrey and creations.
Hover over the photos to find out more and read the captions.
So, Ant, tell us a bit about what makes your handmade chocolates one of a kind?
Our chocolates are all hand-tempered in the old-school way on a granite slab, a novelty that is these days most often replaced with a tempering machine. This hand-tempering allows us to train previously unemployed people in an old and valued skill, a policy of ours, as well as ensures we control the chocolate-making process all the way through. We also source a very special Arriba Nacional bean from Ecuador, which is a fine flavour cocoa bean with delicate floral notes.
As a brand we want to be part of a chain of positivity, from environmentally-friendly and biodegradable packaging to our policy of hiring previously unemployed individuals, in order to train them in the highly-skilled art of chocolate-making. All ingredients are carefully selected for quality and are largely organic, in order to create a final product that has a deliciously distinct feel and taste and a positive effect on the community. We specifically source our cacao from ethically run farms in Ecuador and Tanzania.
When did you first decide to start making your own chocolates?
About 7 years ago I started experimenting with raw cacao to make a healthier treat for myself. It was polished off in seconds by all my friends, so I knew I was onto something. Over the next few months I taught myself the art and skill of chocolate making, which became a passion that eventually developed into Honest Chocolate.
What were the first few years of your business like (the start up phase) and how did it benefit from being involved with a market?
The first year was part-time, then gradually we went more full-time. It was lots of late nights and long hours for very little pay! The market is invaluable to get a product with a story like ours out there. The platform for personal communication is perfect to get people to understand the value of raw cacao, our old-school production methods and what makes our chocolate special.
Can you run me through the general process, from inspiration to finished product?
We source our inspiration from international trends, brands and what local artisans are doing, too. This leads to extensive research, many hours of testing and finally, a finished product. This then gets taught to our resident chocolate makers and a creative packaging gets brainstormed and finalised.
Do you have a favourite chocolate?
Yes, our 88% slab is my fav.
Which markets are your products sold at?
We have a stand at the Old Biscuit Mill Neighbourgoods Market in Cape Town every Saturday, otherwise we pick and choose a few annual markets and expos throughout the year, such as the Gabriëlskloof ‘Our Favourite Things’ market this last weekend.
Do you have any advice for small business owners?
For this sector make sure you have a niche, but make sure it’s scalable in size and/or margins.
Where else can we buy your chocolates?
We stock certain Wellness Warehouse’s and Pick n’ Pay’s in Cape Town, as well as selected health stores throughout South Africa. Check out our stockist list on www.honestchocolate.co.za!