We never need an excuse to talk about chocolate. From oozing, rich chocolate fondants to impossibly decadent chocolate brownies and chocolate-laden cheesecakes, these cocoa-rich indulgences are one of life’s truest pleasures. To help you on your hunt for the most decadent desserts around, here’s our list of the most tempting chocolate puds around South Africa.
Chocoloza at 44 Stanley (Milpark)
Exquisitely beautiful and heavenly-tasting chocolates are handmade here by Belgian-trained chocolatier Vicki Bain. In liquid form there are four single-source hot chocolates and three others – dark Valrhona, and milk or white Callebaut – from which to choose. A single beautiful chocolate is laid on a special presentation plinth on a tray, along with a small balloon whisk; completely organic, rich, full-cream hot milk (Mooberry); and a heaped cup of chocolate buttons or callets in the chocolate variety of choice, for you to drop in and whisk. It’s a five-out-of-five taste experience! Chocoloza offers handmade Easter eggs, too.
Cube Tasting Kitchen at The Cosmopolitan (Maboneng)
Most Cube diners discuss for years afterwards their ultimate chocolate-on-chocolate extravagant dessert ending at Cube. The 10-course menu here changes every month, but at present the gourmet chocolate crowd wower is chef Darren O’Donovan’s Black and White. The bases are an olive chocolate brownie and sesame sponge, topped with white choc ganache and served with white chocolate jelly, a blackberry confection, strewn with fine charcoal powder. It’s so rich and chocolatey but also so surprising in terms of the novel textures.
Café Del Sol Botanico (Bryanston)
When we talk chocolate, the temperature has a lot to do with the taste. When it’s a hot pot of pure molten chocolate, your pleasure centres start overloading. Then look to the side and there’s more: a bowl of slightly salty full-cream peanut butter ice cream. What you do next is up to you!
Café Duarte (Ferndale)
Many Joburgers cite this as their all-out chocolate dessert favourite. It’s homely, hot and filled with deliciousness. Duarte Pereira’s mother was famous for her Portuguese pancakes, so he now uses them to create a winning dessert. The ensuing simple and sweet ending comprises crêpes stuffed with layers of mysteriously spiced banana and rich, very chocolatey home-made mousse.
Four Seasons Chocolate Emporium at Cellar Door Restaurant at Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff (Westcliff)
This magnificent all-chocolate edible display will be open from Wednesday 13 April until the beginning of May. Expect 20 chocolate-themed desserts, such as a duo of dark and white chocolate mousse, chocolate brownies with caramel, and choc-hazelnut tarts. The all-chocolate buffet is all indulgence, piled high with chocolate desserts, pralines and chocolate Easter eggs, and decorated with chocolate blooms. There will even be chocolate cocktails.
The National (Parktown North)
This spot is a go-to for decadent chocolatey goodness made with chef-patron James Diack’s own farm-fresh, organic ingredients. The Tiramisu Reconstructed is a hot sponge oozing with thick dark chocolate, surrounded by a white-choc meringue, and served with choc-chip mousse ice cream. His advice is to “just dive in with your mouth open”. The menus do change every week, so if you miss this one, there’ll be just as delectable a beauty next week – promise.
Patachou (Parktown North)
In search of the most chocolatey patisserie that two French chefs could create, they came up with Le Triomphe. This amazing succession of tastes starts with a casing of flourless chocolate biscuit, soaked in cocoa syrup. Thereafter, layers of crispy praline alternated with light and creamy chocolate mousse. You can order La Triomphe in a large size or in an individual portion to eat at the restaurant or take home.
Trio Café (Greenside)
Chef Amori Burger’s food always gladdens hearts, and the chocolate items she creates are no exception. She always has a selection of chocolate items on offer, but her favourite at present for full-tilt chocolatiness is a dessert chocolate bar, sponging up the juices of poached pear and then ladled over with more chocolate ganache until it just can’t take anymore.
Michelle Cronje-Cibulka and her team continue to push culinary boundaries here. Try the salted-caramel-and-chocolate tart (R40), or the retro hot chocolate (R30), which is served with a nostalgically comforting marshmallow Marie-biscuit sandwich. Another quirky chocolate beverage is the Evil pear white hot chocolate (R32). For take-home options there’s also a wonderful chocolate macadamia banting cake with coconut-milk ganache (R40 a slice).
Brasserie de Paris (Waterkloof)
At Brasserie one is always treated like a VIP, especially at intimate tables on the veranda, where the team, under the leadership of Ané Wait and Sinisa Nikolic, will indulge your ultimate dinner-time fantasy. Here the ultimate chocolate fantasy can be found: the soft-centred fondant. This one is made with Valrhona Caraibe and Jivara chocolate and served with burned-honey ice cream, salted-caramel popcorn and a banana tuile (R78).
Carlton Café Delicious (Menlo Park)
There’s always something new and innovative that reflects the latest trend here, resulting in an unbelievable range of creative food items from the kitchen. Start with a decadent chilli hot chocolate, and for Easter, get your hands on some sticky chocolate hot-cross buns (R55). The deli menu offers a selection of chocolate cakes, including dark-chocolate mousse cake (R340); a four-layered dark-chocolate mousse cake wrapped in a chocolate ribbon (R455); an old-fashioned chocolate ganache cake (R255); as well as a wheat- and gluten-free flourless dark chocolate (R280). That’s not all! There are also date-and-dukkah chocolate brownies (R15), rocky road slices (R45), and wonderful white and dark chocolate double geminis with macadamias, peanuts and coconut (R55 for a packet).
Chocolat et Café (Hazelwood)
Tucked away at the end of an alley, between a number of other eateries, Chocolat et Café not only occupies a little gingerbread house, but the French fairytale feel is further strengthened by little French tables and chairs under umbrellas, with cobble stones underfoot. It’s a lovely venue to hang out and get a proper chocolate fix, but if you need something more substantial, there’s a proper breakfast and cappuccinos as well. Head to the glass cube that’s filled with a variety of hand-made Belgian chocolates in decadent flavours such as fresh cream, latté, chilli, almond, hazelnut, fudge, and many more. They also serve proper Belgian waffles with ice cream, strawberries and chocolate sauce (R72); chocolate fondue with waffles, fruit and marshmallows (R80); and chocolate pancakes (R82). Cakes per slice (or whole, to take home) include wonderful examples of Black Forest; chocolate caramel; white-chocolate cheesecake; dark and dense coffee-whiskey cake; and many other fantastic options.
Cocovanilla Foods (Pretoria North)
Lorraine Swanepoel’s food company produces many delicious traditional chocolate items, most notably the chocolate brownies (of which more than 1500 units were sold in the first few hours of the Tierlantynkies Food Market). These beauties are made with real farm butter, 70% dark chocolate and three types of sugar – white, brown and Demerara – each of which adds a different characteristic to the end product. Some gourmet versions are on offer, too: peanut butter, Turkish delight, Oreo, Astro, white chocolate, coffee, macadamia nut, blondies, and peppermint, which sell for R25 per brownie. The Ferrero Rocher cake (chocolate sponge made with 80% dark chocolate, layered with Nutella buttercream and chocolate mousse, and finished off with dark-chocolate mousse, Ferrero Rocher truffles, more chocolate mousse and a chocolate coating) sells for R400 each, and should excite any chocolate lover.
De Kloof (Waterkloof)
This is another high-end Pretoria establishment that offers a chocolate fondant dessert. The kitchen, which is led by Hugo Snyman, produces a classic version with dark chocolate, paired very cleverly with white-chocolate gelato and passion-fruit compote (R75). If you want to eat slightly less formally but still want to dig into a chocolate explosion for dessert, have a burger downstairs and then move upstairs for the fondant injection.
The Boiler Room Café (Morningside)
Morningside’s trendy eatery offers brilliant brunch and lunch grub, glorious milkshakes, and a particularly chocolatey treat for cocoa fans. A meal wouldn’t be complete without the Nutella cheesecake served in a jar. It’s OTT but it’s delicious. There are also delicious blondies that pair well with a hazelnut-and-choc shake.
Cacao Chocolate Bar (Umhlanga Ridge)
This chocolate café offers shoppers a sweet pit stop. For breakfast, go for the croissant, pancakes, or waffles with chocolate sauce, pure melted Belgian chocolate, or banana and chocolate fudge. Or, if the craving is really strong, sip the dark Belgian hot chocolate served over a flame through a straw. Otherwise, their chocolate fondues make for a delicious treat.
Delish Sisters (Salt Rock)
This breezy eatery is known for all sorts of freshly whipped-up treats. Real chocolate fans will be impressed by the decadent chocolate and caramel brownies, the chocolate-brownie cheesecake, and the dainty chocolate truffles with fillings that change regularly. If dark chocolate is not your thing, the berry-and-white-choc cheesecake will please the sweet tooth.
Fourteen on Chartwell (Umhlanga Rocks)
After enjoying their gourmet pub grub, guests can tuck into the desserts selection, which features boozy milkshakes as well as the popular Bar-One spring roll. The rolls are crisp, golden and warm, and come filled with rich, melting Bar-One chocolate. They’re served with a dollop of vanilla-bean ice cream for extra indulgence.
Old Town Italy (Umhlanga Ridge)
This Italian market-style eatery doesn’t mess around when it comes to decadent pastries. There are Bar One cronuts, chocolate gelato-filled doughnut cones, gooey hazelnut brownie cake, and a rich red-wine chocolate cake that can be found at the gleaming pastry counter.
Pop-up Society (Glenwood)
Don’t order anything for dessert other than the Death By Chocolate freakshake at this popular Glenwood spot. The jar of decadence is filled with a thick choc shake and is then topped with all things chocolate: chocolate sauce, chocolate cake, and a thick chocolate sauce. Good luck getting through this one with just a straw.
Ray’s Kitchen (Salt Rock)
The family-friendly restaurant offers one of the best dark-chocolate fondants around. The small decadent dome of chocolate is satisfyingly wobbly with a rich, glossy centre. It’s utterly chocolatey, with just a hint of salt to bring out the flavour.
Republik (Durban North)
While this buzzing spot is all about its burgers, the chocolate-laden desserts and milkshakes right up there with the best. Choose from triple-chocolate brownies, deep-fried Bar-One bites with ice cream, or the milkshake simply named Because Chocolate. The latter is blended with chocolate biscuits, Nutella, Crunchies, Milo and Bar-One and topped with whatever chocolate they can find on the day. It’s also served with a mini chocolate on the side.
Surf Riders Food Shack (Addington Beach)
If you’re looking for something cheeky after an afternoon on the promenade, this sunny spot offers everything from piped doughnuts to milkshakes and vintage ice cream. For a cocoa fix, go straight for the chocolate mud pie. This pud comes with a chocolate overload warning and is made up of a thick brownie base with nutty praline, fluffy chocolate mousse and ice cream layers, and finished off with a drizzling of dark chocolate sauce. If you’re a shake fan, sip on the double-chocolate and Bar-One deluxe milkshake.
Inside Siam Restaurant, you’ll find a popular little Thai-style ice cream parlour. These guys are known for creating delicious ice cream scrolls in minutes, right before your eyes. Chocolate fans can order the Death By Chocolate bowl. This consists of a chocolate ice-cream scroll base with brownie flavouring, a topping of whipped cream, and a garnish of brownie and chocolate shavings.
95 Keerom (City Bowl)
This Cape Town stalwart has become known for its sweet ending of dark Italian chocolate fondant with a hot liquid chocolate centre. It’s simple but rich and intense at the same time.
Beluga (Green Point)
Besides the sushi specials and cocktails, this popular spot is also known for one rich dessert offering in particular. The Lindt chocolate truffle beignets are coated in glorious golden batter, fried, and served with a rich butterscotch sauce. Also popular is the white Lindt martini that tastes like melted chocolate.
Burger & Lobster (City Bowl)
After feasting yourself silly here, and if you have room for pud, the Nutella-Oreo cheesecake is recommended for all chocolate lovers. The ultra-rich slice comes layered with Nutella and a dreamy caramel-chocolate ganache and Oreo biscuit on top.
The Creamery (Claremont, Newlands, Mouille Point and V&A Waterfront)
Chocaholics will love indulging on the 65%-cocoa chocolate ice cream at this ice cream spot. Try your scoop on top of a golden waffle with chocolate sauce and toasted marshmallow, or head to the Mouille Point branch for a helping of the hot choc-chip cookie topped with a scoop of cocoa-rich ice cream.
The General Store (City Bowl)
This Bree Street lunch spot bakes up incredibly decadent chocolate brownies on a daily basis. These beauties are perfectly dense and gooey and are made with 70%-cocoa chocolate. The chocolatey flavour, moist fudge-like texture and the slightly crisp top are what keep office-workers heading back for these brownies by the boxload. Also keep your eye on the cake stand for the brownie-base cheesecake. Both make for a perfect ending after enjoying one of the café’s wholesome lunch options.
Honest Chocolate (City Bowl)
Cape Town’s very own dedicated chocolate bar offers a decadent menu ranging in everything from choc milkshakes, bon bons and macarons to gooey brownies, intense tarts and dark chocolate cake. There’s also the offering of the chocolate bunny chow made with a mini banana-bread loaf filled with smooth chocolate spread, ice cream and a side of spiced nuts. Vegans and gluten-free eaters are also catered for at this cocoa haven.
IYO Burgers (City Bowl)
IYO is not only known for its cheese-stuffed burgers. Try the glorious cheesecake made with Oreos, organic cacao nibs, Nutella and white chocolate. Alternatively, order a chocolate ice-cream burger (with chewy cookies as the buns), or cocoa-rich shakes in flavours like straight chocolate, chocolate and cookie, Fererro Rocher, Nutella, and peanut chocolate.
La Tête (City Bowl)
While chef Giles Edwards has been taking the Mother City by storm with his nose-to-tail cooking, he also whips up a pretty darn glorious batch of madeleines, choux pastries filled with ice cream and topped with chocolate, and a chocolate pot that is richer than Donald Trump. The little pot is filled with a dark and intense thick chocolate pudding that’s cut by a drizzle of fresh cream and crunchy cacao nibs. Pro tip: Order your chocolate pot with a batch of hot madeleines for your dunking pleasure.
My Sugar (Sea Point)
Sea Point’s very own chocolatier offers more than just shiny, exquisite take-home chocolates. There are chocolate milkshakes topped with whipped cream, brownie and chocolate shavings; chocolate Easter eggs that put marshmallow strips to shame; and drool-worthy cake jars containing moist chocolate cake topped with brownie bits, pretzel bark, marshmallow fluff and a drizzling of salted caramel and chocolate ganache. In winter, look out for the OTT hot chocolates.
The Pot Luck Club (Woodstock)
While staring at Cape Town’s breath-taking views, why not finish your meal with a sweet ending made for chocoholics? There’s always something chocolatey on the menu; currently you’ll find the CocoaFair chocolate tart served with bourbon ice cream, lemon, lavender and coffee.
Betty Blue Bistro (Hermanus)
This cheery Hermanus café is known for happy food with tons of flavour and wholesomeness. If you’re after something a little cheeky, there’s plenty from which to choose. Lunch can be sweet with a sandwich filled with Nutella spread, marshmallows and Rice Crispies, or go straight for the pancake selection with chocolatey offerings like the classic Nutella version or the rich peanut-butter mousse option that’s served with banana and ice cream and wrapped up in a chocolate pancake. There are also chocolate-filled shakes and an incredibly delicious Nutella hot chocolate with marshmallows, or a Peppermint Crisp version for minty chocolate fans.
Chelsea Café and Bean (Somerset West)
This pretty café offers coffee lovers a place for a good cuppa, and chocolate connoisseurs a cocoa-rich ending after a wholesome farm-to-table meal. Try a gooey flourless chocolate cake with cream or ice cream to take home or eat in the courtyard, enjoyed with a cup of coffee with beans by Deluxe Coffeeworks.
De Villiers Chocolate (Paarl)
At this dedicated chocolate store, you can sit down and enjoy a chocolate and confectionery tasting, truffle workshops, or simply grab a spot in the cafe and delight in great coffee and hot chocolate, chocolate pastries, cakes and tarts, or the natural homemade ice cream made with De Villiers chocolate.
Jardine Restaurant (Stellenbosch)
The flavours and textures are set to change with the seasons, but given George Jardine’s skill with dessert, the chocolate pud is likely to be perennially perfect. Right now, there’s a Valrhona Guanaja pud served with tart new-season raspberries and crumbly caramelised hazelnut for a crunch.
Schoon de Companje (Stellenbosch)
Chocolate fanatics can order brekkie of brioche French toast served with Honest Chocolate’s decadent spread, chocolate-filled cronuts, a chocolate bread stick, dark chocolate milkshake, and Fanny Chanel’s superbly chocolatey ice cream. You can also try a chocolate brownie or choc-espresso scoop made with Usana Farm eggs and jersey cream, and served in a handmade sugar cone.
Yummi (Stellenbosch and Canal Walk)
This company dedicates itself to all things chocolate brownie. They’re 100% gluten- and wheat-free and are made with 72%-cocoa Fairtrade couverture chocolate. Expect irresistible flavours such as white-chocolate nougat, sacher torte, and blondies with roasted macadamia nuts, which are perfect with a cup of coffee.
Who serves your favourite chocolate dessert? Tell us about your cocoa-rich discoveries in the comments below.