Perhaps you’d appreciate a bit of help in tracking down the best chocolate treats, especially those which are available here in the Eastern Cape. I’m keen to share a few of my favourite places for chocoholics but, on the other hand, I don’t really want the whole world to know. Fortunately, Port Elizabeth people being as slack as they are, not that many of you will rush off and wipe out stocks of the delicacies.
Here are my personal faves:
1. The chocolate mousse slice at Ile de Pain in Knysna. This is a delicate rectangle of chocolate sponge topped with a mousse that is rich, bitter and silken all at the same time. Eat it and expire with delight.
2. The chocolate brownies at only three places in Port Elizabeth. These are: Dessie’s at Bloomingdales, Vovo Telo (Central and The Warehouse), and ... last, but not least, the newcomer Red Cherry’s coffee shop in Walmer. Red Cherry has a secret ingredient in the kitchen, in the form of Charlene, who used to work at the Warehouse, and she has a way not only with chocolate brownies but also with muffins. The so-called chocolate brownies that you buy at supermarket bakeries? Brownie-schmouwnie ... pale imitations, not to be taken seriously.
3. Karoo Moon’s Chocolate Indulgence is a lavish sauce too rich to be kept only for ice-cream.
4. The Magic Bar at Cobblestone Bakery, which, by the way, has moved to 40 6th Avenue in Walmer. A magic bar, for those who have to fall prey to this calorific addiction, is a rectangular slice of shortcake, topped with caramel, topped with chocolate chips, coconut and nuts.
5. Mrs Christodoulou’s chocolate cakes, both Greek and mousse. I am not sure if I should give you her address or phone number, suffice to say that she is a legend in Port Elizabeth chocolate cake addict circles.
6. Wickerwoods chocolate spring rolls. I’ve seen a version of this hot and crispy treat elsewhere, but chef-owner Joel Malkinson is a fantastic cook and his is still the best. It’s a bit like that Scottish horror, a deep-fried Mars bar, I suppose, except a lot more sophisticated.
7. Chocolats Marionettes from Emily Lee in Knysna. Emily imports couverture from Europe and creates the most deliciously unusual bars of chocolate in Knysna
8. Bushman’s River Mud Pie. This local version of old-fashioned millionaire’s shortbread has shortbread that is gritty like sand, but sweet like sugar. Those crumbly caramel jewels are made in Kenton, sold all over and, of course, one is simply not enough with a cup of coffee.
9. The hot chocolate from Nomu. It is solid chocolate, crumbled, to which you add hot milk. The wonderful thing is that it doesn’t sit on the shelf and tempt you to eat it straight away like a normal piece or bar of chocolate does but really desperate chocoholics (yes, I know you are out there and I share your pain) can eat it just as is.
Now, as you can see, the list is just one short of a “Top 10”. Please send in suggestions – just be sure that they are here in the Eastern Cape. I’ve only slipped Nomu in because it is a South African product, available in our supermarkets here and I know there are Port Elizabeth distributors for it. And remember, if you are short of an idea for a Christmas gift, the answer, for me at least, is chocolate, chocolate, chocolate ...