Chocolates divine

Exquisite chocolates and wine – could there be a more decadent combination?

A couple of weeks ago, I’d read an article in the newspaper about chocolatier Richard Tomes, originally from Liverpool, whose delectable creations are sold at a small shop on a wine estate somewhere between Klapmuts and Franschhoek. They also run chocolate and wine tasting courses as well as a full day chocolate making workshop, which I would soooo love to attend, because you get to take away your own creations!

So this afternoon, we spontaneously headed out on the N1 to Backsberg Wine Estate to buy some Chocolates by Tomes. Once on the narrow side road that runs parallel to the N1 in the direction of Franschhoek, it wasn’t long until we reached the turn-off into this beautiful tree-lined avenue.

Backsberg Avenue of Trees

We found parking in a fairly small and very crowded parking lot, right next to an expanse of lawn in front of a large Cape Dutch-style buildings that are found on almost all local wine estates! A long table, made up of a whole lot of small tables pushed together, stood right in the middle of the lawn, and smaller groups of tables were dotted about. The place was clearly popular for lunch (lamb on the spit and roast potatoes are on the menu) – and judging from the number of German speaking people we passed, very popular among overseas visitors.

We  followed the signs to the surprisingly small Chocolate Shop in another building. There was one glass-covered counter underneath which all the truffles or pralines were displayed in clusters, and another long counter on which slabs of various sizes and flavours were lined up.

The price? R28 per 100g – which works out to between 7-9 chocolates. Having come all this way, we decided to splurge, so we bought 7 for R30: Lemon Tart, Kirsch Cherry, Kalua, Dark Coffee, Double Chocolate Mousse, Walnut & Honey, Almond & Caramel.

Our seven delectable chocolate delights

But there were so many more! To make your mouth water, here is the official list of flavours:

  • In Milk Chocolate:
    Almond & Caramel, Amarula, Apple & Cinnamon, Caramel Mousse, Butterscotch, Caramel, Champagne, Coffee, Coconut, Hazelnut Praline, Honey, Hazelnut, Maple Syrup & Pecan, Plain Milk, Backsberg Pinneau & Date, Barcardi Rum & Raisin.
  • In Dark Chocolate:
    Backsberg Naartjie Liqueur, Dark Cocoa Nib, Double Chocolate Mousse, Ginger & Chilli, Dark Coffee, Jack Daniels Whisky, Kalua, Kirsch Cherry, Mint, Sweet Macadamia, Sydney Back Brandy, Vanilla, Smirnoff Vodka & Cranberry, Walnut & Honey.
  • In White Chocolate:
    Candy Crunch, Pistachio & Kirsch, Strawberry, White Truffle, Lemon Tart.

We protectively hugged our precious stash to our hearts, and found a shady spot on the lawn, surrounded by gorgeous colourful flowers. And. Mind-fully. Savouring. Each. Sensuously. Melting. Morsel. Devoured the whole lot.

As we couldn’t very well leave a wine estate without a bottle of wine, we went to check out their cellar. For R15, you can taste 5 wines and 1 brandy. As I get tipsy from merely inhaling too deeply, we thought we’d postpone the tasting until we have some friends with us to share the experience.

But we did buy a bottle of Backsberg Merlot for R50 – hope it’s good. I see on their website that it won the 2008 Swiss International Air Lines Wine Awards – Bronze Award. Its description?

“Pungent aromas of raspberry and red plums are tempered by the deft use of French oak maturation. The palate is redolent with succulent, sweet fruit flavours and finely coated in ripe mouth filling tannins. Smokey and savoury oak characters provide a subtle background to this complex and well balanced Merlot.”

Don’t you just love that?


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2 thoughts on “Chocolates divine

  1. *sigh* I can get great wine and great chocolate over here, but it’s just not the same as buying it on a farm… I’m a fan of Backsberg merlot btw. Very nice.

    We belong to a Chocolate Tasting Club that sends us a mixed box of chocolates every month – two each of a selection of flavours created just for the club by a number of European chocolatiers. 28 chocolates for £16.95. So your 7 for R30 is really not bad. The problem is, once you get used to these fine chocolates, you realise that the stuff they sell in supermarkets just isn’t chocolate at all, and that’s when the trouble starts. Me with my champagne tastes and beer bottle pocket…

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