In the words of Michael Levine, “[c]hemically speaking, chocolate really is the world’s perfect food.” So…how lucky are we to have some of the most awesomely indulgent chocolate café’s right here in Cape Town! If you’ve not been to Honest Chocolate Café or My Sugar – a visit to each should top your New Year’s resolution list. I’m sharing my gooiest two secrets with you, so listen carefully and be prepared to have your walls of resistance crumbled – we’re going deep into the heart of the chocolate factory!
Honest Chocolate Café, Cape Town City Centre
If you blink, you’ll miss the entrance for Honest Chocolate Café. Wedged between historic buildings in the bustling Wale Street in Cape Town city centre, the only thing that gives it away is the gorgeous gold lettering on the window. It shines like a halo from the entrance, inviting you into the heavenly gates of chocolatopia.
Once inside, the little space opens into a beautifully, classically-rustic café, with a counter loaded with decadent chocolate products, and dainty little dining tables that line the wall. Out back you’ll find a secret courtyard that is reserved for those who want to hide from the city for a bit. On a sunny day, it’s the perfect place to unwind, spoil yourself and forget about whatever is worrying you, because chocolate, right?
This small artisanal chocolate shop’s name couldn’t have been more appropriate. Here, it’s all about using old-fashioned ways to create new and exciting products to keep up with the ever-evolving cosmopolitan nature of the mother city, without ever losing the focus on organic, quality ingredients. They believe in honesty; in sourcing locally and fairly. They believe in staying true to the character of the actual cocoa-beans by not killing the distinct taste of the raw cacao with barrels of sugar or artificial flavourings.
My absolute treat when visiting, is their trademark “Coconut dream” shake. It’s deliciously dairy-free and blended with handfuls of sticky dates, coconut milk and lashings of decadent raw cacao powder. It’s surprisingly filling, but guarantees to leave you with the full-mouth flavour of how chocolate was meant to be enjoyed. None of the guilt, and all the pure chocolatey goodness.
I also really love their chocolate nachos. I’m that weird person who likes to eat sweet and savoury together. Their chocolate nachos are just that – beautifully crispy and salty nacho chips with a generous bowl of dark chocolate dip. It’s such a gastronomical experience that your taste buds will literally beg for more of this cheeky sweet-salty combination. And of course, you can’t leave without one of their handmade chocolate truffles – think rich dark chocolate paired with macadamia, honey or orange undertones. My personal favourite is the dark chocolate hollow skulls – I mean, they’re just too cute!
My Sugar, Sea Point
Their gates are golden and there is chocolate dripping from the ceiling. Quite literally! My Sugar is the type of place where my naughtiest daydreams are manufactured. As you walk in, you are greeted with a warm hug filled with the aroma’s of freshly ground coffee and melted chocolate. The beautiful space is decorated with rustic wooden pieces and accents of rose-gold. From the artistically written chalk board menu, to the rich, brown walls with golden touches, My Sugar screams luxurious indulgence. But the main attraction is the glass counter filled with hundreds of handcrafted chocolates. From frogs to robots, from dark chocolate pretzel bark to their signature miso caramel golden Buddhas. Galaxy domes filled with marshmallow and salted caramel. The options are endless and the one is as pretty and shiny as the next.
If that is not enough – the salivation factor is kicked up another few notches with their endless selection of daily donuts and dessert milkshakes on offer. Everything is supercharged with ridiculously good ingredients and rich, quality chocolate. Take a seat and play a vintage wooden board game whilst you swoon over pretty cups of exclusive house-blend coffee, and share a few different chocolates with your friends or family. Here, owners and partners, Kaylah and Asher, created a cozy, friendly spot that promises to be a full experience. It’s about the surprise element; about seeing people’s reactions when they bite into a beautifully hand painted Space Bar. It’s about sharing the experience with loved ones and making a visit to My Sugar an absolute must-do spoil every now and again (definitely more often than not!). It’s at My Sugar that you realise, when it comes to chocolate, you should always opt for quality over quantity.
My personal favourite is their signature Caramello Buddha – miso caramel and crushed peanuts in a milk chocolate shell, robed in a fine layer of gold dust. I’ve been waiting for months to get a taste of this golden-tummied chocolate deity and it most certainly didn’t disappoint. It’s gorgeously creamy and rich, and the crunchy peanuts sets off the indulgent caramel perfectly.
So, my advice to you: take your time. Take a few minutes and let your eyes feast on the chocolate counter before you make any decisions. You can try as many or as few chocolates as you want. Try one of their Butterscotch Popcorn Milkshakes, or nibble on a donut whilst you play a round of dominos. Whatever you do, just be in the moment, and enjoy your sugar for the ultimate extravagance it is. No guilt, and certainly no regrets!
Life is short, eat the chocolate
Even if you are trying to lead a healthy lifestyle; life is short. Eat the chocolate, but make a conscious decision to eat quality. To support fair trade and local produce. Less is more; especially when it comes to Honest Chocolate Café and My Sugar. But the level of reward and satisfaction is so much higher than gobbling down that XL bar of supermarket chocolate. Chocolate should be an elegant affair; not a raucous street party. And now you, too, know where to find the best cocoa soirees in the city!