Pieter de Villiers creates bars of happiness

It all began in a Hermanus garage in 2010 with machinery Frankensteined together from ordinary household appliances and gadgets. A decade later, the story has come so far as to produce a new type of chocolate – still using custom-built machines – that is vegan, Keto-certified, gluten-free, and rain forest-friendly. With no added sugar either, but still utterly delicious, it’s like a modern miracle.

The discussion about chocolate has been going on forever, as scientists study MRI brain scans in an attempt to truly understand why we – for the most part – love it so. There is consensus that chocolate triggers the release of endorphins and serotonin, which make us feel good.

Pieter de Villiers, founder of De Villiers Chocolate, believes in what he calls “joyful necessities”, an evocative phrase.

“Chocolate has a special place in most people’s lives,” he said. “I see it on their faces as soon as they walk into our tasting room and catch a whiff of that chocolate aroma in the air. Even people who are initially disinterested grow a smile after tasting their first piece of De Villiers Chocolate. 

 “What ultimately gets me up in the morning is the knowledge that we will be creating bars of happiness to be enjoyed as a treat or as a gift for someone special.”

The new bars have a host of benefits attached; they are vegan for a start, so no dairy. They contain no gluten, no trans fats, no palm oil or GMOs, and the Ugandan beans are Rainforest Alliance certified.

The No Added Sugar range is sweetened with monk fruit extract which makes it suitable for diabetics and ideal for Keto/low carb followers, with as little as 5.9g of glycaemic carbohydrates in an entire bar (coconut).

That’s only 1.8g per 30g serving but honestly, who’s going to stop there when you can have so much more, without the guilt – or the negative effect on the jean pant? It’s a no-brainer.

There are eight bars in the two ranges. “We experimented with several flavours. Our in-house team, along with friends, went through several tasting sessions to whittle the range down to eight bars – two dark chocolate and six nut butter bars,” said De Villiers. 

The darks are 70% cocoa and Salt and Seed. The nut butter ones – which, by the way, are incredibly smooth and creamy – are 33% cocoa, flavoured with chocolate cookies, sea salt and caramel, coconut, and various nuts: almond, cashew and hazelnut.

The research and development of these bars has been a long time in the making – five years on and off – since De Villiers visited Turin, Italy, the home of the original gianduja paste, in 2015.

“I have been working on perfecting a uniquely African version of Italy’s famous nutty chocolate butter. The Italians managed to achieve this with a set of ingredients consisting of locally sourced hazelnut cocoa from selected origins and recipes developed over time…..”

www.dailymaverick.co.za: Read the full story HERE