Our new chocolate bar and boutique in Auckland City is now open, and it’s a beauty! The Commercial Bay Development has been a long time coming and for us this new store began as a twinkle in our eyes almost 2 years ago. After pitching our little company to the Landlord’s we were blown away by their enthusiasm to have us join such an impressive line up of retailers. And then the hard work began with business plans, design concepts, menu ideas, sourcing, recipe development, and planning, planning, planning!
The fit-out of the Auckland store was a very different process to that in Matakana. Back in 2017 we were up a ladder putting wallpaper on the ceiling and had friends volunteering with a paintbrush (thanks guys). None of that when you’re part of such a huge project like Commercial Bay! We worked with the ladies at Material Creative on the interior design, Harrows Furniture made some of the key pieces of furniture for us, including our comfy banquette and stools, and Allen and Chapman expertly crafted our cabinetry and chocolate bar! We love our beautiful glass pendants from Monmouth Glass and of course our iconic piece of rainforest, in both of our stores, from Cole and Son wallpapers.
After the original plan of opening in September 2019 was set back 6 months due to base build delays, we were full steam ahead at the beginning of this year to open our doors in March, just before Easter. Staff were hired, stock had been made at our chocolate kitchen in Matakana, the fit-out was very close to complete, and deliveries booked. But with Easter came the Lockdown and another delay to opening our second store. In some ways we were grateful to be given the extra time to spend with our little boy, and take a breath before the madness that comes with opening a new store began! But the timing couldn’t have been worse for a chocolate business with large amounts of Easter Eggs ready to sell! The first few days of lock down were very unsettling, while we took the time to work out whether we were classed as an essential business or not?! Thankfully we were allowed to continue selling our chocolates online, and we had an amazing response from our local and loyal customers and we were extremely grateful for their support! The two of us were kept very busy packing online orders, especially without our wonderful team to help us.
The Matakana store re-opened in May, and the opening date for Commercial Bay was set for mid-June. After a few late nights and long days setting up shop we finally got there! Honest Chocolat is now officially in Auckland City and we can’t wait to welcome you.
Just like everyone else, this Lockdown is making us slow down and think about the important things in life…like FOOD! Nico made this amazing dessert last week and it disappeared very quickly considering it was just the two of us eating it. This recipe sounds involved, but really there’s just a lot of resting time in between the different stages. Perfect for when you’re at home all day!
Pâte Brisée (Pastry):
190g diced butter (unsalted) at room temperature
5g fine salt
50g milk (5cl)
Dissolve the salt in the milk and slowly pour over the diced butter, stirring with a spatula while doing it.
Add the flour in batches to the butter mixture, still using the spatula to mix it. You will have a lumpy mix at this stage but it’s all good.
Once all the flour is added, pour the mixture onto the bench top and using the palm of your hand press the mixture a few times until it all comes together and smooth. Don’t over work it.
Split the dough in half, and cover. Keep one half in the fridge for 2 hours for the flan, and the other half can be kept in the fridge for a few days or frozen for a later date. This pastry is great for a quiche!
Roll the dough for your flan to approximately 2mm thickness and 30cm diameter (no need to get the measuring tools out for that) and put onto a tray to keep in the fridge for another 30 minutes.
In the meantime, grease the inside of a mould (22cm wide approx. 3cm high) with soft butter. Sprinkle some sugar over the butter so it is fully covered with it, tap the excess out.
Get the dough out of the fridge and put it in the mould, trim the excess and keep in the fridge for another 2 hours.
Flan Mixture (Chocolate Orange Custard):
37cl water (or milk for extra yumminess)
1 orange (use a fine grater to remove the zest. The rest of the orange can be used for something else)
50g 70% dark chocolate (GET IT HERE)
Pre-heat Oven at 190c
In a pan, warm the milk and water.
In a mixing bowl, combine eggs, sugar and corn flour, mix well until light in colour. Pour the warm milk mixture over it, mix well and put it back in the pan. Using a whisk, stir continuously and bring it to a boil, this will thicken your mixture. Once it has boiled well, take it off the heat, add the chocolate and mix well to incorporate.
Pour the mixture in the mould lined with the dough.
Bake for 1 hour.
Once it’s baked, let it cool down completely at room temperature. Once cool, keep refrigerated for 3 hours. Best enjoyed fresh, and trust us, you’ll have no problem eating it all within a couple of days!
This Easter we’ve teamed up with the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) to help raise awareness about mental health in New Zealand and the help that is available for people experiencing mental health problems. Everyone has mental health and it’s important people know they are not alone and that they deserve to be supported.
The Mental Health Foundation covers the A-Z of mental health information and support, taking a holistic approach and promoting what they know makes and keeps people mentally well. They work in schools, workplaces and within the wider community, advocating for positive mental health and wellbeing through providing free support and resources, running campaigns and influencing policy.
One of tools the MHF promotes is mindfulness and we wanted to give you, our customers the opportunity to experience how powerful being mindful is, so we’ve put together a mindful eating exercise for you to try out while enjoying Honest Chocolat.
But what is mindfulness? Mindfulness basically means paying attention to what is presently occurring.
Research suggests that when we intentionally practise being mindful we feel less stressed, anxious and depressed, and more balanced and in tune with what is happening inside and outside of our bodies. The resulting calm and clarity boosts wellbeing, broadens perspective and provides an important foundation for learning.
So without further ado, peel open your favourite tablet of Honest Chocolat and give it a whirl…
Notice the colour of the chocolate. Does it have a reddish tinge or is it so dark it’s almost black? Look for the shine on the surface of the chocolate. If there are white marks on the chocolate this is known as blooming and is where the cocoa solids are separating from the fats within the chocolate. It's absolutely fine to still eat and certainly won't do you any harm, but it does affect the texture and mouthfeel of the chocolate (yes mouthfeel is a word!)
In the same way you smell a wine before taking a sip, if you smell chocolate it adds to the tasting experience. When you put the chocolate in your mouth you will be inadvertently smelling it anyway, through a process called retronasal olfaction, don't you know. When eating, the odour molecules travel from the back of the throat using the back entrance to the nose. This explains why you can’t taste properly when you have a cold.
Break the chocolate with your fingers and listen for that satisfying snap that indicates a well-tempered chocolate. Note the thickness of the bar and size of the squares and any textured pattern it has.
Now this requires some self-control not to wolf down the bar in one hit and then move on to the next one. You should let chocolate melt on the tongue to let the cocoa butter coat the palette and work with the bitterness of the cocoa solids. Notice how the flavour develops over time. Is the chocolate light/heavy, bitter/sweet, powdery/smooth, creamy/sharp? What flavours can you detect? Coffee / berries / smoke / caramel? Is the flavour long lasting or does it quickly vanish?
Now think about how this experience is different to how you would normally eat a bar of chocolate. Which gave you more satisfaction?
Don’t restrict your mindfulness to eating chocolate. Mindfulness can be applied to any food, thought, feeling, physical sensation, another person or things that are happening around you. By practising this over time you’ll strengthen your ability to pay attention, and you will feel more appreciative of the things around you.
To learn more about mindfulness please check out the Mental Health Foundation’s website on how to be more mindful.
You can enter our raffle online until Saturday 31st March 2018, for the chance to win an Honest Chocolat Giant Easter Egg and help to raise money for the Mental Health Foundation. Enter here
We wanted to share this article in the NZ Herald about the health benefits of dark chocolate to help squash the rumours that chocolate is bad for you. Remember to always eat good quality dark chocolate like ours, to make sure it doesn’t contain all that nasty other stuff AND tastes amazing too! Otherwise what’s the point?!
Read the article HERE
1. We don't use dairy in our ganaches - that means the centres of our chocolate bonbons don't contain butter or cream. This gives a bright, clean and decadent tasting chocolate bonbon. Ideal for vegans or those looking for a healthier treat.
2. We don't use large amounts of sugar in our chocolates. We believe chocolates should taste like chocolate, not sugar. Because we use good quality ingredients we can keep things simple and honest, without adding all the nasty stuff that usually gets paired with chocolate!
3. Our bonbons are like works of art. Lots of people tell us the chocolates look too good to eat, but wait 'til you've tried them! Attention to detail goes a long way when you want to give a personal gift.
4. The chocolate we use is one of the finest in the world, and you can taste the difference! It is also direct trade and organic.
5. We don't use artificial flavourings. We only use natural ingredients in our chocolates.
6. Our chocolates are fresh! Not designed to sit on a shelf for a year, and why would you want to? We don't use preservatives in our chocolates to keep them as yummy and irresistible as possible.
7. We create amazing flavour combinations! Our chocolates are crafted by Nico Bonnaud, a pastry chef with 18 years of experience. If you're going to treat yourself, make it a good one!
8. None of our products contain palm oil! A cheap alternative used to replace cacao butter, we avoid the stuff like the plague because of the devastation it causes to the planet.
9. We can design and supply customised packaging for companies / events with a minimum order of 50 items! We work with you to find a solution that suits your budget and brand.
10. All our chocolates are made with love - hand crafted in our own custom built chocolate kitchen in sunny Snells Beach :)