New Zealand is home to some of the finest chocolate producers and coffee roasters in the world. From boutique chocolatiers and artisan coffee roasters to the bigger brands that you know and love. At the Chocolate and Coffee Show they are all gathered under one roof, showcasing their talents and proudly offering their products, made with skill, care and attention to detail.
I was thrilled to be invited to The Chocolate and Coffee Show this year… but I think my husband was even more so since he is definitely the chocolate and coffee lover in our family. When I suggested that he look after the kids while I attended, he said “Did you say it was coffee & chocolate? You do realise you don’t drink coffee right? And you don’t love chocolate!?”. Lucky for him the older two kids were both scheduled for a grandparent overnight and so we ventured downtown with the baby in the buggy and hit the show with great gusto.
There were so many great stalls displaying wonderful new products from established brands and some new businesses offering their own flagship products. I took the time to peruse what was on offer, sampling morsels here and there and chatting to vendors about their products – products they were understandably passionate about, have been developing with enthusiasm and are eager to present to the marketplace.
I came away with a few new favourites that I’d love to share with you:
This product was hands down my favourite new find of the show. The accolades above speak volumes. But first hand experience: it’s a Hot Chocolate Bar. I love the concept, I love the branding, I love the packaging, I love the flavour and I love, love, loved the ethics of this wonderful Christchurch based company run by a talented woman. I hope to bring you a more in-depth feature on Bennetto in a few weeks, but for the time being, let me tell you that setting this rich dark chocolate bar into a cup of hot milk (be it dairy, almond, rice or hazelnut milk – the options are truly endless) and stirring it to dissolve completely, and topping with a crack of roasted spices was an experience I am willing to repeat often. Winter can’t come soon enough! Give me all the Bennetto Hot Chocolate Bars to warm my belly & my hands on cold days. I love that the bar is 70% cocoa and just 30% sugar which means that each cup contains less than 1 teaspoon of sugar. It’s not too sweet, it’s very chocolatey and all round perfect. But the addition of the ground spices takes it to another place. A very homely, satisfying, delicious place!
A business with firm family backing is always a good sign as far as I’m concerned and this family run business is doing good things. They grind coffee and deliver it to your door. They are passionate about you achieving the perfect cup of Joe at home, and want to help you do just that. They’ve also expanded into a range of powdered drinking chocolates. My pick was the Devil’s Chocolate – a thick creamy drinking chocolate that harkens back to the kind that is offered at Parisian cafe’s you perhaps may have visited. My forte is not coffee, but the all knowledgeable husband said the coffee was very nice too! You can order all their products online here and they offer a great package deal so you can check out their range.
You may remember last year I attended a wonderful event showcasing all the culinary awesomeness that Wellington has to offer, which is where I first encountered the Wellington Chocolate Factory. Their range is made from organic, ethically traded beans and is morphed into bar chocolate of the highest quality via an intricate process of roasting, cracking, winnowing, conching and tempering – using artisan methods reaching back to the 18th century – producing batches of strong, luscious organic chocolate. Their packaging is exquisite and they use local artists to infuse the wrappers with original designs. Flavours are anything but conventional and you’ll find flavours like Chilli Lime Nuts, Salted Brittle Caramel or my personal favourite The Craft Beer Bar complete with hops & toffee malt. They run factory tours which I so plan on doing next time I’m visiting the Capital city. You can also shop their extensively awesome range here.
Thirty two flavours of fudge. Can you even imagine? That is how extensive the Munchkins range is. Based in Palmerston North, this bustling fudge store has been operational for 20 years and is well known and well loved by locals but is finally now bursting at the seams to share the great news with the rest of the country. You can order online here and try as many flavours as your little heart desires!
I have followed The Pie Piper on Instagram for a while so it was wonderful to be able to try their pies for myself. I tried a little of the Lime pie and can vouch that it was yum! They were flat out busy so I didn’t get a chance to chat, but it was great to see them doing so well. This mother and daughter team are bringing the art of the American Pie dessert to the New Zealand people and doing it by way of amazing flavours like the classics: Cherry Pie, Pumpkin Pie, Coconut Cream Pie and Bourbon Pecan Pie and then switching it up with exciting new flavours like Salted Caramel Apple Pie, Kia Ora Lime Pie and Banoffee Cream Pie. Soooo good! They change flavours regularly so keep an eye out for your favourites. You can order online here for delivery Auckland wide – or pick up.
I was so excited to see Whoppie & Co at the show. I haven’t indulged in a whoopie pie for a couple of years but there was a time when they first opened their store in Grey Lynn that I indulged a little too frequently! Whoopie is a Kiwi owned and operated business run by Lucy Stuart & Nick Maddren. Lucy is a qualified Pastry Chef and Nick has been working in the music industry in Europe and New Zealand for the last 18 years. They now have a store in Nuffield Street, Newmarket where they also serve sundaes, shakes & smoothies, Atomic Coffee, Harney & Sons Tea. Yum! And again, if you’re the ordering online type, you can do that right here. The Red Velvet is a must try and the Ginger Spice is my second favourite flavour. Or wait, was it the Carrot & Walnut. See… too many yummy whoopies to try!
And just to prove that chocolate is endlessly impressive, check out these amazing stilettos that Devonport Chocolates have created all from chocolate! Too beautiful to eat right? They also make handbags. Perhaps the perfect gift for that difficult to buy for friend? See the range here.
And the little guy, well he enjoyed it too. Mostly he was happy when we let him out of his buggy and he tried out his new walking skills (whilst nibbling on his bib). See, how happy!? Love that kid.