Winston & Julia Chocolate Shop is a popular South African artisanal chocolate company. It recently launched its own outlet at Agri-Park in Stellenbosch, Western Cape.
Founder Nini Jerman says the name was inspired by two fictional characters.
“The name got its inspiration from George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. It’s really a dark book where the future is bleak and the main characters in the book are Winston and Julia. There is one line in the book where Julia is giving Winston a piece of chocolate and in that moment where he tastes it and smells it, he just knows its not the usual stuff. He asks her where did she get it, she defiantly says ‘the black market’. ”
With that, the idea began. Winston & Julia’s products were initially dried fruit coated in dark chocolate and healthier chocolate options.
Jerman has witnessed the boom in handcrafted, local, healthy chocolates, with more consumers craving wider varieties.
“It has grown a lot. We focus mostly on gifting and our packaging is very important. The whole idea is that the chocolate inside surpasses the beauty of the packaging. Sugar-free is also a big thing. As soon as there is a sugar-free label people flock for it.”
She added that this year the brand would grow to feature sugar-free chocolate, providing sugar-free workshops and sugar-free biscuits.
Opening their workshop in Stellenbosch, Jerman says it had been a difficult and challenging time as the norms had changed. Smearing each other with chocolate is now a big no-no, and social distancing and Covid-19 protocols had affected the experience of chocolate making and tastings.
But fun can still be had. They have adjusted by providing workshops that include two people or a group of a maximum six people.
So how tasty are these chocolates? Jerman swears by their almond rocka tumbles, saying “they are to die for” and Winston & Julia’s bestseller.
“What we do is we make the almond rocka like a toffee. We take the temperature a little bit higher than usual for the toffee to create a crunchy toffee, then add lots of butter and almonds.”
It’s then placed into tiny blocks, coated with 56% dark chocolate.
With virtual workshops in the pipeline, they are still offering tastings and for love birds this Valentine’s Day, planning a romantic getaway sounds like a plan too.