New Zealand chocolate lovers guide: where to find the most indulgent chocolate
The NZ Herald’s Mitch Powell and Bethany Reitsma gave their take on the Whittakers’ new peanut butter and jelly chocolate. Video / NZ Herald
With Easter ushering in the school holidays this year, now seems the perfect time to highlight some of the best chocolate-centric destinations and experiences to sink your teeth into, from south to north.
Dunedin’s Ocho is a chocolate factory owned by several thousand small investors who continue to prove that community ownership, fair wages for cocoa beans and fair working conditions can be the foundations of a successful business. Ocho sources its cocoa beans from our Pacific Island neighbors and crafts its chocolate with a hands-on approach, less is more – it’s all about cocoa beans and sugar, no additives are used.
Managing Director Angela Howell says factory tours, temporarily suspended due to Covid, will soon be back in business, and highlights one of the attractions of visiting the factory outlet: access to “bars test” – experimental flavors, first batches and short-dated stock at great prices.
“With a year of beans on site in big bags, the place smells amazing…it’s a bit of a sensory overload,” says Howell.
For Easter gifts, check out Ocho’s Hot Crossbread Bar and Solid Chocolate Hot Crossbunnies.
10 Roberts Street, central Dunedin.
Walk down the alley off the main street of Waihī Beach and look for the red and white paint and window boxes filled with flowers – this hidden gem is Chez Moi, and inside you’ll find young Swiss chocolatier Ines Haster serving her dishes artisanal.
Unit 1, 29 Wilson Rd, Waihī Beach
Founded in 2005 in pretty chocolate-box Arrowtown, Patagonia Chocolates now has four locations offering their own chocolates, coffees and ice cream. Along with legendary hot chocolates and a “chef’s cabinet” laden with decadent chocolate desserts, the Rees St outlet offers stunning views of the lake from the upstairs dining room.
Multiple locations, visit patagoniachocolates.co.nz for details.
At Makana Confections, the not-so-secret password to entering a state of bliss is “Macadamia Butter Toffee Crunch.” This confectioner has stores in Blenheim and Kerikeri, from where the caramel crunch takes off. The Blenheim Shop sits in the middle of the wineries, allowing for a sweet break between cellar visits.
Store staff walk around and offer tastings of various delicacies, including that famous caramel crunch – a brilliant marketing tactic because once you’ve tried the trick, you can’t help but put some in your cart .
Corner Raupara & O’Dwyers Roads, Blenheim and 504 Kerikeri Rd, Kerikeri
Hannahs Laneway in the capital is quite possibly the tastiest little piece of metropolitan real estate in the country, with Wellington Chocolate Factory a key player. Its historic digs (built to house the Hannah Shoe Factory) lend a definite Willy Wonka vibe, minus the creepiness. Book a chocolatier tour for the day, during which you’ll learn about the bean-to-bar process, sip hot chocolate, and make your own three bars to take home.
Tours run all year round, including this year’s Easter Saturday and Monday, when special Easter fillings will be offered along with a few other little surprises. 5 Eva Street, Te Aro. A few steps down the driveway and up a flight of stairs is Lashings, the “brownie bar” of UK-trained pastry chef Jackie Lee Morris, which serves, among other goodies, a wide range of Wellington’s Baron Hasselhoff 70% chocolate brownies.
1/31 Dixon Street, Te Aro
No trip to Wairarapa is complete without a visit to Greytown’s Shock. In the 14 years he ran the company, founder Murray Langham injected a healthy dose of fun and wonder into Aotearoa’s chocolate scene through his interest in the therapeutic powers of chocolate.
With over 80 flavors offered in the bar selection alone, a visit to this lovely colonial house offers the opportunity to explore its personality through the generously offered tastings. It’s called Chocologie and I’m here for it.
177 Main Street, Greytown
The La Land of Raglan is a couple of jewelry sites not far south of Auckland. A misty stroll along the waterfront with one of its thick hot chocolates in hand is just the thing.
2 rue Wallis, Raglan
Brian Campbell has built something of a chocolate empire in the City of Sails with Miann. Downtown locations at Britomart and Fort St, the Morningside factory and cafe, and a recently added Ponsonby branch offer menus that read like a chocolate connoisseur’s dream.
The a la carte items are gourmet level, the selection of hot chocolates as long as your arm. For something a little different, browse the selection of chocolate teas at Morningside.
Several sites, see mianchocolatefactory.com for more details
When heading north, don’t bypass Warkworth, but instead take the time to visit Chocolate Brown, one of the first places to marry Kiwi café culture with European-style chocolate craftsmanship. Here’s just one tempting reason to visit in the fall – you’ll find feijoa praline chocolates in the cupboard.
“A case of 34% couverture milk chocolate filled with white chocolate and feijoa ganache and decorated with a touch of two different shades of green”. A delicious tribute to this strange fruit that litters the lawns of this country at this time of year.
6 Mill Lane, Warkworth
For more travel inspiration, visit newzealand.com/nz.
Check traffic light settings and Department of Health advice before traveling at covid19.govt.nz