De Spa chocolates are among the finest in the world. They have a greater intensity and smoothness, and a lingering aftertaste. So what is the secret?
Freshness is the key…
There are several things that make de Spa chocolates decidedly different. Freshness is one of the keys to good chocolate. While plain chocolate may be kept up to a year the fresher the chocolate the better the taste, thus de Spa does not corrupt it's product with preservatives or additives and it's chocolates only have a six to eight week shelf life.
All of the chocolates no matter where bought from are taken straight from the factory to the shelf or box in order to maximise freshness and taste, they never store their chocolates for long periods of time.
Quality beyond all others
Another part of the answer is the quality of the locally produced ingredients - such as fruit and dairy products - some of the best in the world. Quality fruit brandies and kirsch-marinated cherries are produced in Blenheim by Prenzel.
On top of that the basic are better, as de Spa uses some of the finest chocolate paste in the world, Callebault from Belgium. Belgian chocolate is processed to a much finer texture than the basic ingredient in most larger scale manufacturing. This gives it a distinctive, ultra smooth texture and taste. Belgian chocolate also uses only cocoa butter rather than other, cheaper fats. The combination of high quality chocolate and the best local products can only produce chocolate that can compete with the best in the world.
Ingredients are only part of the story, however.
The quality of the New Zealand-made Belgian chocolates could not be achieved without the unique talent of the company's Belgium-born head chocolatier, Jean-Marie Bara.
Bara's workshop is the company's Christchurch factory, where he and trainee chocolatiers make around 70 varieties of chocolate by hand.
But presentation is the key…
What strikes you about these chocolates are they're distinct style and beauty, as all are hand made and are using traditional Belgium moulds they are visually impressive. So as not to undermine the quality and style of these chocolates they are boxed in beautiful black boxes engraved with gold, a element of style incomparable with other mass produced products. All the chocolate is hand packaged and wrapped to produce a consistant quality of presentation. Often remarked upon is the gift wrapping styles that is universal in all de Spa stores. With a combination of quality papers, and handmade bows and ribbons the theme of excellence is continued in this final element of the de Spa process.
These may have been a few of the secrets, but what makes de Spa really special cannot be truly defined until the first taste.