THEIR artisanal chocolate shop - in the heart of St Francis Bay - is something magical, akin to stepping into the pages of Joanne Harris’s chocolate-themed novel.
However self-taught chocolatiers Cindeez and Kereth Guilbride’s edible creations are perhaps far superior than anything in Chocolat.
With kilograms of the finest chocolate, Cal-lebaut, in their shop, Chocoholix, the couple quickly agrees they have a sweet tooth.
Something they never had before.
Now, it is part of their daily lives. And not only a nibble here or there. Within the first three months of opening their shop, they gained 10kg.
Cindeez smiles, “We only use the finest chocolate, Callebaut, and flavours to make our handcrafted artisan chocolates.
“Depending on the recipe, we might mix high-quality chocolate with other ingredients like coconut, chilli, orange, pecans, cream or nougat to create our exotically flavoured confections.”
But, where did this sweet decadence all start for the former owners of a second-hand and antique and collectable shop?
The economic downturn in 2008 and the possible closure of their two shops, forced the couple to take the road less known - or face bankruptcy.
Determined to make a success, they prayed about a way out and received the answer from above: make chocolates.
Thus, their first chocolate shop, Chocolate Heaven, was born.
A second shop followed shortly.
Chocoholix opened in November last year, after Cindeez and Kereth relocated from KwaZulu-Natal to St Francis Bay at the end of August 2018.
This chocolate boutique has been producing fresh batches of chocolate daily - often in small quantities to ensure freshness and because of the time required to create these sweet treats.
Cindeez, who loves to talk about chocolate, laughs, “We knew absolutely nothing about chocolate. Not even the difference between good quality chocolate and not-so-good quality chocolate.
“Transforming our antique and collectable shop into a chocolate shop within two weeks, we had to learn very quickly - all from Google, books and friends.
“Kereth’s extensive background in the food service, assisted a great deal in our chocolate- making abilities.”
And their first chocolate?
Coconut with condensed milk dipped into chocolate - a technique they learned from an old friend.
Cindeez says, “Everything we did, flou-rished from day one. Every filling and every chocolate.”
Over the last ten years, they expanded their product line from five to 36 exquisite chocolates, excluding slabs, with names like vanilla drops, chai spice, coconut swirls, flurry curry, cherry bombs, ninja gingers, flirty turkey and caramel delights.
“It takes an amount of artistry to come up with new flavours,” says Cindeez who sees recipes as evolving. “We are always trying to improve and perfect them over time.”
Since they do not use preservatives, added fats and oils, she makes everything fresh and they have a limited shelf life.
“It is an eating chocolate, not a keeping chocolate,” she says.
The secret to their success?
Cindeez looks upwards, “We do everything on faith. It is all Him. Not me or my husband. We call on His Name.”
More sweet decadents
Apart from the artisan chocolates, Chocoholix specialises in The Chocolate Dunkingz, as well as sweet waffles and pancakes drizzled in chocolate.
Also on the menu are explode-in-the-mouth knickerbocker glories: banana split, strawberry and blueberry cheesecake sundaes.
Cindeez and Kereth plans to introduce a savoury menu in the near future for those with a bit less of a sweet tooth.
Visiting this family-friendly shop in St Francis Drive, they only have one rule: you have to make a mess, or wash the dishes.