Local chocolatier Natalie Price just can’t seem to stop smiling these days. Her shop in Old Nick Village, Shautany Chocolatiers, is a popular stop for tourists and locals.
She has six branded Shautany Chocolatiers stores countrywide, four in the tourist hub of Mpumalanga (White River, Hazyview, Graskop and Dullstroom) and most recently two new stores – in George and luckily for us, in Plett.
You will find her chocolates in bespoke accommodation establishments placed on guest pillows and given as VIP gifts for special occasions. She also collaborates with businesses to create one-of-a-kind chocolate mini masterpieces and gift hampers to be served at special events.
“All good things have been happening since the first day I opened my doors so I’m extremely grateful for that and for the support I’ve had here in Plettenberg Bay,” says Price. “Local support has been incredible. Plettonians are very warm and passionate people who really support local trade. They have an eye for quality and a need for new experiences, especially in the artisanal field, and we have received amazing feedback from them,” she says.
In fact, one of their stores received the South Africa Retail Award for ‘best retail store’ in 2007, and that year they were also voted as the ‘Best Handmade Chocolate in South Africa’ by well- known chef, Jamie Watt. Her mother Mary-Anne (also co-owner of the business), has been in love with chocolate since birth. She was born in Antwerp, Belgium and basically grew up around some of the world’s best chocolate. This is where she developed her knowledge and her love for chocolate.
As a young girl, her family lived in the Belgian Congo before they were forced to flee to South Africa during a violent disruption. She has lived here ever since. The family moved to Plett two years ago to seek a new lifestyle and to concentrate on their chocolate business.
“We were from White River near the Kruger National Park, living and producing our chocolate on a macadamia farm. We sold the farm and decided that the beach would be an exciting and new experience for our children,” says Price.
Her mother joined the family a year later. The mother and daughter duo pride themselves on the knowledge that they are giving their customers a personalised, quality experience. This is the primary reason they have chosen to keep the business in the family. She says, it’s important “to ensure integrity of our brand and quality of our products. Our plans are to open two or three more stores in other areas of the Garden Route.”
By all accounts, there was a fair amount of trial and error in perfecting the craft but being self-trained generally means you have learned the hard way and know the tricks of the trade. Luckily for us, her passion and talent have produced the perfect chocolates!