behind all this is that the premises were once – and not that long ago either – the home of Goodall & Co undertakers. Some people find this a bit morbid, but I love the history, and the way Cape Town changes over the years.
Having occupied the ground floor for a while, the upstairs level became available so the guys from Honest Chocolate – Anthony Gird and Michael de Klerk – grabbed it, seeing an opportunity to use the big open room for events and workshops, and to extend their business.
One of the first things they did was begin putting on chocolate workshops and we attended the first last month. It was hosted by Gird, who gave a detailed, yet simple, explanation of how chocolate is made. It’s a story I’ve been told many times, and this was one of the easiest to understand. I still marvel at how it was discovered that the bitter cacao bean can be fermented, dried, cleaned, and roasted (although Honest Chocolate leaves out this step – for now) to turn it into the glorious yumminess we know and love. We owe a great debt of gratitude to those ancient innovators and their vision.
The lecture was accompanied by the passing around of bowls of chocolate bits in their various stages for us to taste. Trust me, it has to go through quite a bit before it becomes palatable. I have the most hilarious photograph of Divine Lady D’s face when she tried some, but she has forbidden me to publish it.
Then there is the process of tempering chocolate, an essential step for making smooth, glossy, evenly coloured coating for your dipped chocolates, and produces a crisp, satisfying snap when you bite into it. This couldn’t be left out because the workshop was to culminate in us making our own bon-bons.
Anele Dziba demonstrated the tempering, pouring melted chocolate on to a cool granite slab – temperatures are critical – working it back and forth with a spatula.
It was mesmerising, and not only because every person in the room wanted to put their hands in it.
Afterwards we all got a turn to dip bon-bons, which we packaged in tissue paper in a cardboard box finished off with a label – just as they do for the shop.
These were to take home to eat in the middle of the night or, if one was feeling generous, give to someone special as a gift.
● The next workshop is on Saturday, November 21, at 10.30am. Tickets are R250 through Quicket, and for any queries or more information call Cassidy on 082 820 5061 or mail info@honestchocolate. co.za. Check out Facebook this weekend for a competition giveaway. The Honest Chocolate Café is at 64A Wale Street, Cape Town.