When we arrived at the second ever Winelands Chocolate Festival in Stellenbosch, it was BUCKETING down outside. I could just imagine sneaky angels sniggering in the heavens whilst throwing down Olympic-pool-sized troughs of water upon our meagre heads. This made for a somewhat chaotic arrival. We made a maddened dash towards the festival after waiting it out in the car for five minutes hoping the storm outside would subside. Once we found cover under a stretch tent, we realised that no one had asked for our tickets. And this “festival” was more weekly Sunday market than sophisticated chocolate emporium. Probably because we had accidentally happened upon Blaauwklippen’s weekly Sunday market!
Note to self – Check out Blaauwklippen’s weekly Sunday market.
Note to Blaauwklippen – Please sign post your weekly Sunday market.
We finally found the festival!
After a graceless drenched jog to the actual festival area, we were still not asked for tickets. Probably because no person in their right mind would actually sit outside under a tent in the apocalyptic weather to scan barcodes. This means we didn’t get our hands on the welcome pack including freebie magazine and chocolates. Luckily we still got to pick up our wine tasting glasses once we finally made it inside Blaauwklippen’s manor house.
Cue heavenly harps played by less sniggering, more lovely angels, because this was exactly what a chocolate paradise should look like. Whilst making our rounds and picking up complementary chocolate tastings galore, the R120 ticket price became more and more justified. We arrived starving so head out on the hunt for some food. All the food traders were located outdoors under stretch tents, which meant we had to brave the torrential downpour again.
We searched for some seating once we had grabbed steak pitas, but there was none to be had. Well at least none available that wasn’t being utterly stormed upon! It’s a pity the event organisers didn’t invest in one more stretch tent for the large communal tables that were not being protected in any way by the humble umbrellas hoisted over them. Unfortunately the weather made being outside incredibly unpleasant so we didn’t stick around too much to browse many more stalls, and instead head back to the warm, chocolate scented caverns of the manor house. We did pick up some macarons from MaMere, and a few brownie tastings from Yummi on our way in though.
Highlights of the Winelands Chocolate Festival
Afrikoa chocolate was a standout to me because their vibe was friendly, welcoming, and engaging. We were drawn in by their vibrant packaging and generous baskets of sample chocolates, and stayed for their freshly roasted cocoa beans dusted with cocoa powder. These little nuggets of joy were toasty, roasty, cocoa perfection. I adored Louisvale Wine’s chocolate truffle and wine pairing, which included half a glass of wine and its chocolate truffle pairing for R15. I opted for their rose bubbly, paired with the mixed berries truffle.
But the Winelands Chocolate Festival offers a lot more than epic chocolate and wine – as if you could want for more! But alas, there were beautiful chocolate patisserie and cakes on display, as well as a chocolate couture themed fashion show to bring a little art and culture to your debaucherous Sunday Funday.
Blaauwklippen Wine Estate
The Winelands Chocolate Festival was a cool excuse to visit a new wine farm too. We did a little browsing of the manor house before leaving with a lesser focus on chocolate alone. The Spirit Room was dark and sultry in a sophisticated and comforting kind of way. I half expected to find a fireplace lit and an elderly gentleman telling war stories. Unfortunately I only found brandy – I’m not a fan. They had wine and chocolate pairing settings at the table but apparently weren’t doing those on the day? Weird.
I look forward to returning to Blaauwklippen for a sneaky wine tasting. But I especially look forward to the next Winelands Chocolate Festival, which hopefully won’t see much rain!