Anthony Gird and Michael de Klerk
Co-founders at Honest Chocolates
Honest Chocolate is a small artisanal Cape Town based Bean to Bar chocolate company that believes in keeping things handcrafted, in using old school methods and organically produced ingredients to make a pure and delicious chocolate.
Co-founders Anthony and Michael shared the story of how it all began with a bit of experimentation after Anthony made a few simple chocolates from raw cacao powder as a healthy treat for himself and his friends. When these were polished off in seconds with requests for more, he knew he was onto something. Over the next few months he taught himself more about the art and science of chocolate making, an endeavour that eventually developed into Honest Chocolate.
Meanwhile Michael was experimenting with raw chocolate in London with similar results and on his return to Cape Town it was the natural opportunity to join Anthony on his chocolate adventure. The duo starting selling their products at the Biscuit Mill and other markets but as the demand grew opened their chocolate studio.
The first years of Honest Chocolate were spent working with raw cacao from Ecuador, but their slabs are now made entirely with organically produced Tanzanian cacao beans which they roast, grind and temper in their Woodstock kitchen. It took them three years to find and build a relationship with Kokoa Kamili who supply them with their Tanzanian beans, but the efforts to create ethical chocolate with a reduced environmental footprint inspired them.
As loyal Capetonians they are committed to keeping everything as local as possible, even the cacao beans – although they may not be grown in South Africa, Tanzania comes close.
The name ‘Honest’ Chocolate depicts what Anthony and Michael want to do. To be open and ethical, sourcing from an organic farm that they know uses no pesticides, as well reflecting the transparency with which they face the production process. Honest Chocolate keeps their focus on dark chocolate with a 70% organic cacao bean and unrefined cane sugar with their flavour variants including dark chocolate with Coconut Blossom Sugar, Naartjie and Kalahari Salt. The purity of ingredients means their chocolate pairs beautifully with coffee and food.
When they first started they invited an artist to design the wrapping paper for each different flavour, but when changing to organic Tanzanian beans they brought out a retail range that is bolder and more simple. They are now back with a new artist’s range that is fun and exciting for their specialised range that includes Pineapple & Buchu and Miso & Tamari Sunflower Seeds. Other popular treats in their fold are the bonbons and chocolate spread.
‘In Cape Town if you open up a chocolate company people don’t think you are crazy, they encourage and support you.’
Being in Cape Town is important to Anthony and Michael as they love the ‘do what you want to do’ attitude in the city. ‘Express yourself in your work and your business, follow your dream.’ Cape Town certainly does have a tendency to produces new ideas, especially in the foodie industry, and this is certainly one of the better ones.