SOCIALS | Have a break, have a 'chocolatory', sugary overload
Hold the sugar tax - if you're looking for a chocolate fix you might want to make your way to Midrand later this month.
That's because Nestlé, maker of Kit Kat chocolate bars, is opening what it's calling Africa's very first pop-up "chocolatory" in the sprawling Mall of Africa.
Our invite for the launch had been quite cryptic: a box containing three canisters of what appeared to be candy toppings, with the address, the Chocolate Academy in Fourways, Johannesburg, revealed later.
And, arriving at the venue on a wet Thursday afternoon, organisers remained mum as to what was in store.
Sipping on a Mojito cocktail and enjoying canapes including sundried-tomato macaroons, salmon blinis and quinoa goats-cheese balls, I greeted yummy mummy Vanessa Carreira-Coutroulis and got to know former Miss SA finalist Karishma Ramdev, who might still be a medical student but clearly has money to burn, dressed as she was in head-to-toe Gucci.
Then it's catching up with My Kitchen Rules SA contestants, photographer Donald Chipumha and food blogger Luyanda Mafanya.
I asked the two, who made it to the semifinals despite coming unstuck after serving overcooked salmon, if they've learnt to master what really is the easiest fish to cook.
"I can cook it at home, but cooking on a TV show is madness," claimed Donald.
Time for more food, and I dish up tzatziki and hummus dips and the yummiest honey-glazed sliced beef fillet from a harvest table before heading inside where the MC, perky radio host and almost but not quite "It Girl" Tumi Voster, welcomes us.
Tumi announces the chocolate confectioner's new venture, a clever trick for us to multiply our sugar rush by customising their bars with a plethora of toppings, from coconut flakes to salted caramel pearls. To give us an idea just what's possible, three chocolatier couples are tasked with customising their own bars within a three-minute time limit, with the rest of us invited to vote for our faves.
Vanessa and entertainer Taryn Louch pair up to create a nostalgic concoction featuring biscuit bits, salted caramel pearls and white chocolate blossoms on a milk chocolate base, which sounds promising but doesn't quite hit the spot.
Next up, Donald and Luyanda pick a white chocolate base and cover it with a colourful combination of hazelnuts, honeycomb and mint - but it's celebrity chef Nti Ramaboa and foodie Steve Steinfeld who turn out to be the deserved winners for their "Summer Break", which comprises fruity bits and coconut flakes atop a milk chocolate bar.
The day ends with a fun exercise in which we're all invited to also make our own coated bars - but by that stage I'm all candied out.