Making Our Own Chocolate in Invercargill

It’s our last day in the super friendly and most southern city of Invercargill and we are going to commemorate this moment the best way: with chocolate! That’s right, we have been recommended by local after local to check out The Seriously Good Chocolate Company. What’s more, we have even been invited to try making our own chocolate!

On the down side, Robin is still in the peak of his man flu, so it’s a lie-in for him this morning. Nevertheless, the motivation of chocolate gets him out of bed and down to The Seriously Good Chocolate Company’s cafe on Spey Street. With one outside wall of the cafe designed so it looks like it is dripping with chocolate, we know we have come to a magical place.

Kiwiana and chocolate waterfalls

Chocolate box after chocolate box cover the shelves surrounding the cafe. We notice some pretty funky designs like Kiwiana Chocolates (which totally reminds us of that time we dressed up as a kiwi bird and a tomato sauce bottle and paraded around New Zealand’s Kiwiana Town no jokes), as well as heaps of Christmas chocolates. New Zealand souvenirs for the family back home? We think so!

The chocolate shop and cafe owner, Jane, greets us, gives us some sexy hair nets and takes us behind the scenes. This is where the magic happens! A machine is churning God-knows how many litres of melted chocolate that gracefully pours the liquid goodness into a chocolate waterfall. We have visions of ourselves sticking our heads underneath it, but successfully resist the temptation.

Robin hard at work adding chocolate to his mould Robin hard at work adding chocolate to his mould
The chocolate waterfall's magnificent plunge pool The chocolate waterfall's magnificent plunge pool
Having a break for making chocolate... with more chocolate! Having a break for making chocolate... with more chocolate!

Moulding hearts and circles

Jane gives us two moulding trays to make our own chocolate – Laura getting a love heart mould because she’s just lovely and Robin getting a circular shape because he’s a very classic guy. Before the chocolate hits the mould, we are putting in some delicious fillings: honeycomb, or as New Zealanders say, hokey pokey in the love hearts and strawberry cream in the classic circles. Gorgeous!

We fill each mould with half the filling, put some rubber gloves on our hands, then press it down evenly with our finger. Now, it’s time to play with this chocolate waterfall and add the chocolate to our moulds!

Chocolate to tray

Jane gives a quick demonstration with her own mould and, man, do you need to be quick about it. Chocolate-making is not about wasting time. She dips the whole tray under the chocolate waterfall, and uses a wide scraper to scrape the excess chocolate off the top and side of the mould. That’s it! Now, the chocolate has to wait on the side to cool and solidify. Something tells us that our chocolate-making skills are not going too smoothly.

Laura volunteers to stick her mould under the waterfall first, all goes well until she roughly scrapes the excess chocolate off revealing some of the filling underneath. Nooooo!!! She will never be a chocolatier! Either Robin learns from Laura’s mistake or he is just a natural, but his chocolates come out beautifully. We set them on the side to solidify for about 30-40 minutes… So, we’re in a chocolate factory, what are we going to do for all that time?

A mid-chocolate-making hot chocolate. Yum!

Chocolate tastings

Jane shows us the trays and trays of recently produced chocolate, getting us to try her favourites. The ironic thing about it all is that Jane is diabetic! How can life be so cruel to this chocolatier?!

After trying some delicious chocolates and melt-in-your-mouth fudge, Jane makes Laura the most epic hot chocolate – made with real chocolate, of course – while Robin plays the responsible adult and had lemon ginger tea for his man flu.

Making a chocolate mess

He watches in pure envy as Laura eats the marshmallows, foam and chocolate sauce off the top of the hot chocolate then uses the chocolate stirrer to mix all the chocolate sauce running down the inside of the cup. It’s chocolate heaven! But Laura is a chocolate mess as she gets it all over her face and fingers.

No, Laura, you don't have something on your face No, Laura, you don't have something on your face
Here's some we didn't make earlier Here's some we didn't make earlier
Robin packing the good stuff Robin packing the good stuff

The final product!

Now that Laura has finished stuffing herself, we can go check on our final chocolate product. Jane shows us how to successfully remove the chocolate from the mould. It’s pretty technical but requires giving the mould a huge sharp bang on the table until all the chocolates come out. Oh my God, they look amazing! We bag them up ourselves, seal the bags ourselves, and can feel super proud that we have made our own chocolate!

Going back to the hostel with way too much chocolate…

As well as having about eight bags of our homemade chocolate, by some sort of weird turn of events (called lack of will-power) we end up taking a huge bag of chocolates to send home to our friends and families. That was a fun AND productive day in Invercargill.

The walk back to the Tuatara Backpackers gets a little spooky when groups and groups of kids go trick or treating for Halloween weekend. This gives us the genius idea to get ourselves a mask from the $2 store and take it with us to Stewart Island where we will be somewhere alone in the wilderness staying in a backcountry hut during Halloween in a couple of days’ time. Expect us to be scaring the sh*t out of each other, the kiwi birds and any other unsuspecting trampers out on the tracks…

Speaking of Stewart Island, that third New Zealand island not many people know about is our next destination tomorrow! You will not want to miss it. Join us then!

Laura and Robin

Bagging up our wonderful creations!
Bagging up our wonderful creations! Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

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See you tomorrow!

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