• We sat down with the foodie responsible for making sweet dreams come true. Estelle le Roux is the mastermind behind Chocolat du Coeur – a small business that specialises in everything sweet and chocolatey. If you are anything like me, one bite of the Salted Millionaire Shortbread will have you returning for more!

    Tell us a bit about yourself and where your journey with food and chocolate started.

    Food has always been a big part of my life, because my mom loved to cook delicious meals and my dad loved to whip up desserts. I started working in a Chinese takeout restaurant at the age of 16. My professional food journey began when I studied Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts at Silwood School of Cookery in 2017. I later went on to become a Recipe Tester and Developer for Ucook SA before moving to the Garden Route and managing a chocolate cafe in the middle of the Outeniqua Forest. I’m also an experienced Private Chef that offers an in-house dining experience.

    Estelle le Roux
    Photo: Courtesy Image

    Tell us about Chocolat du Coeur and what inspired you to start it. Please also tell our readers a bit about the products and where they can get their hands on it.

    Chocolat du Coeur is a company that specialises in Belgian chocolate baked treats and confections. The company originally began as The Hot Chocolate Cafe in Plettenberg Bay, but later rebranded to Chocolat du Coeur which translates to Chocolate from the Heart. Each of our products are recipes that have a story behind it and hold a special place in our hearts. We trade at the Willowbridge Slow Market every Saturday and Sunday. You can also find us on Instagram.

    What drew you towards chocolate?

    I have always loved chocolate. When I was younger, I would not eat any desserts unless it was chocolate. Strawberry milkshake? No thank you. Chocolate please. I remember in high school I would look for job positions as a chocolate taster on Lindt’s website.

    Chocolat du Coeur chocolates
    Photo: Courtesy Image

    You have so many amazing products. How do you stay inspired to come up with new Recipes?

    A beautiful image of a tasty product on Instagram by my favourite bakers is all it takes to spark my inspiration. Social media is a brilliant tool to use for gathering inspiration.

    What are you looking for when you make a new product?

    I ask myself, “Will my clients love this? Will this stand out from the crowd? Will it be profitable?”

    What do you love most about what you do?

    I love my incredibly loyal and supportive clientele. I love that my company pushes me to grow as an entrepreneur and an individual.

    Chocolat du Coeur florentines
    Photo: Courtesy Image

    What makes your chocolate/products different from other brands on the market?

    Our products are made with premium Belgian chocolate, butter, and fresh cream. Our products are all handcrafted with high quality ingredients, hand wrapped, and produced in micro batches. We also stock a range of diabetic-friendly and gluten-free products.

    Do you have any advice for small business owners like yourself?

    I believe passion is a feeling that fluctuates and is unreliable, but it is discipline that will grow your business. You need to be able to do the same thing over and over for a long period of time, even when you don’t always feel like it, to be able to achieve something great. Discipline is a core value and that is what makes it dependable.

    What are your future plans for your brand/business?

    My next step is focusing on stocking my products on more shelves in the Western Cape as well as developing a user friendly website.

    Chocolate du Coeur chocolate
    Photo: Courtesy Image

    Are there any exciting plans in the pipeline for your business?

    In the future, I plan to launch a podcast for local small businesses to share their experience as an entrepreneur in South Africa. I would love to build a platform where business owners can encourage and support each other.

    Quick-fire questions!

    • Would you describe yourself as a chocoholic? Definitely!
    • What ingredients do you always have in your pantry/kitchen? Chocolate!
    • What is your personal favourite item on your menu? Salted Millionaire Shortbread and the Brownie Bombs.
    • Who are your food idols? Jess Levin at Culinary Cartel, The Chocolate Smiths, Jack George Ralph at Art Chocolat.
    • What has been your most memorable food experience? I had an incredible dining experience at De Grendel in July this year.

    ALSO SEE: At home with restaurateur and chef David Higgs

    At home with restaurateur and chef David Higgs

    Feature image: Courtesy Image

    Adapted from the Food&Home Summer 2022 Issue.