Ahhhhh, chocolate! Even just one small piece is enough to fill us with waves of sheer tantalising delight. But forget the stuff that you get on the supermarket shelves – once you try artisan chocolate made by chocolate masters you’ll never want to turn back. And the great news is that if you go for the dark chocolate variety it’s also rather good for you, packed with antioxidants while stimulating the release of stress busting endorphins.
So what are you waiting for? Now’s your chance to find out all you need to know about the crème de la crème of artisan choccies on the island!
1. Kalopesas Patisserie – Chocolaterie, Nicosia
Head to any party or social gathering and present guests with a box of sweet treats from Kalopesas and the prize black box is bound to be received with numerous smiles of approval topped off by a good few ‘oohhhhs’ and ‘ahhhhsss’. Fact of the matter is, Kalopesas desserts (now housed within the Chrysovalantou Bakery) have worked up quite a reputation for being rather divine, whether it’s for their profiteroles or dreamy fruit tarts. And so, it comes as no surprise that their chocolates are absolutely moreish too, with the place filling with luxury choccie delights when the weather cools down from November onwards.
Using fine French and Belgian chocolate with no added sugar or colourings, what makes these treats a little different is that they are made as whole bars, much like the commercial varieties. But the difference, of course, is all in the fantastic flavour and top ingredients. Love white chocolate? Go for the cranberry and pistachio mix. Mad about milk chocolate? Their almond, peanut and walnut bar should go down a treat. More partial to deliciously dark varieties? Bite into their bar with pink peppers for a tantalisingly hot treat. Oh, their dried banana chocolate is rather dreamy too!
Where? 2 Leoforos Lykavitou, Nicosia. www.kalopesas.com.cy
2. New York Sweets (island wide)
With so many varieties to choose from, it’s enough to make you dizzy when you enter any New York Sweets branch (known for its fabulous cakes and famous for its dreamy brownies). But where do we begin when it comes to the chocolate? There’s dark, white and milk chocolate varieties, each made with fine Belgian chocolate. As for the specific flavours, take your pick from Nutella, praline, lemon, coffee, baileys, orange, mint, toffee, orange peel, pistachio, and the list goes on and on!
We’re told that milk chocolate is their most popular variety, but that dark is fast catching up, having recently become all the rage as chocolate lovers familiarise themselves with its many health benefits. But favourites will always be favourites, and their milk chocolate filled with Nutella and finely chopped hazelnuts takes pride of place, while many go absolutely gaga over their strawberry cream hearts and caramel chocolate. Our personal favourite? A dark chocolate nut and raisin mix. Needless to say that New York Sweet’s chocolates are extremely popular in the build up to Christmas and Valentine’s Day!
Where? Shops island wide, including Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca and Paphos towns. www.newyorksweets.com.cy
3. Pralina Confectionaries, Limassol and Nicosia
Anyone with a sweet tooth will have more than likely drooled at Pralina Confectioneries’ cakes at one point or another, be it at a dinner party or birthday shenanigan. And their luxury chocolate collection is on par with their cakes, with their signature truffles (their so called ‘Pralinakia’) best described as pure chocolate temptations. Made of chocolate ‘dough’ with hazelnut cream and cocoa filling, they are pretty much guaranteed to put a smile on your face no matter what the occasion.
As for the other chocolates on offer, they are all of the luxury Belgian chocolate variety, made with either fine dark or milk chocolate. Whether you like caramel or crunchy nuts, there are plenty of fillings and flavours to excite you. And if your kind enough to give them away as a gift, they come in a luxurious box of your choice in a branded Pralina Confectioneries design.
Where? Shops in Nicosia and Limassol. www.pralinaconfectioneries.com.cy
4. Leonidas, Nicosia
A shop on Nicosia’s Stasikratous Street gives you the chance to get hold of these world famous Belgian choccies (in addition to the existing shop on Akropolis Avenue). The brand began to work up an avid fan base from the moment it opened its doors in 1913, founded by the Greek-American confectioner Leonidas Kestekides in Brussels.
You can get lovely Leonidas treats in all sorts of shapes and weights, from the Ballotin Pralines assortment to the Ballotin Orangettes and Ballotin Napolitains. You can even get a Ballotin Gluten Free box. That’s not to forget that you can also get hold of gorgeous chocolate bars too, including Leonidas dark chocolate (70%), cocoa bars, milk chocolate feuilletine bars, white chocolate bars, dark chocolate orange and more. Then there are special occasion boxes too which make for a great gift. Pop into the Stasikratous shop and you’ll also be able to get hold of fine wine, organic teas and Piazza D’Oro coffee.
Where? Stasikratous St and Akropolis Avenue, Nicosia. You can shop the fabulous selection of Leonidas choccies online here.
5. Olives and Burgers, Nicosia
You might think that a place that advocates burgers in its name is a rather strange choice in an article that’s all about great chocolate. But the moment that you witness the pure tantalising joy of these melt in the mouth artisan truffles sending you to seventh heaven, you will surely thank us for the experience and most likely agree that their place on our special list is a well-deserved one!
On the Olives and Burgers menu, their truffles are hailed, ‘sweet treats from heaven’. And it’s certainly no overstatement. Don’t expect great variety: there are two basic options here – dark and milk chocolate truffles, with and without nuts. The dark chocolate variety are 100% vegan, contain no cream, no butter, no milk and are coated with 100% organic raw cacao (needless to say, it’s packed full of antioxidants). And the milk chocolate truffles are still better for you than most – containing no cream, butter and coated with the same raw cacao as the dark variety. Oh, we forgot to mention that when you buy a batch of them, the box is rather snazzy too, with a gold and pink combo making for a perfect gift for all those chocaholic ladies out there!
Where? 37d Prodromou, Nicosia. www.olivesandburgers.com
6. Joullietta Chocolatier, Paphos
Does the idea of a baileys or raspberry vanilla truffle rock your boat? Make a beeline to Joullietta, best described as a chocolate lover’s dream, and spend some time browsing the selection of handcrafted, luxury chocolates made on the premises with the best ingredients possible by the bubbly owner every day.
A chocolate lover as far back as she can remember, Joullietta enrolled in courses led by Barry Callebaut, the world renowned Belgian chocolate manufacturer, before opening up this little haven in Paphos. And one of the most popular choccies on offer, the Cyprus Double Delight, is one which often left a huge impression on her tutors during the training course, which sees rosewater or bergamot delight combined with a ganache covered in dark or milk chocolate.
Then there’s the fig and ouzo mix, with figs marinated in ouzo, blended in milk chocolate and hand dipped into dark chocolate for an all-round bittersweet flavour. Joullietta lets on that the salted caramel flavour has also become a bit of a craze at the moment, as have the candied oranges and lemons, dipped in dark and white chocolate respectively. That’s not to forget the ever changing truffles on the menu. And did we mention the ginger dipped in dark chocolate?
Fine artisan chocolates at their best, each and every one is made with high quality Belgian chocolate, with no preservatives or artificial flavours. And although Joulietta’s prime focus is creating new and exciting chocolate flavours, she has also started developing a luxury range of patisseries with, you guessed it, a chocolate theme.
Where? 16A Alexandrou Ipsilanti, Just off Paphos to Polis road, Paphos. www.joulietta.com
7. Platres Chocolate Workshop, Troodos district
Fancy a sweet treat when you’re exploring the mountains? Then head to the Platres Chocolate Workshop for a dose of indulgence. A well-known little spot established by Praxi and John Adams, the couple realised – upon moving to Cyprus – that much of the uniquely Cypriot Mountain produce in Platres provided exciting and original fillings. Fuelled by a passion for all things chocolatey, the Platres Chocolate Workshop was set up, with sweet treats made by hand, adorning the shop day in and day out.
Just think of chocolates filled with the likes of Commandaria cream (made using Cyprus’ famous sweet wine), Zivania Cream, Kitromilo (bitter orange) and many other varieties of ‘spoon sweets’. Then there’s Aphrodite Cream, (a chocolate designed for lovers as it contains honey, Royal Jelly and cream), Walnut Palouze (a smooth, aromatic dessert sweet made from concentrated grape juice), Cyprus Coffee cream and many others.
Rather uniquely Cypriot, the chocolate is pure and dark, made with just a little sugar, natural vanilla and then enhanced with Cyprus Royal Jelly to make it a smoother, richer, healthier chocolate. Do keep in mind that some of the ingredients used are seasonal, and so, the variety on offer is subject to change.
Where? Olympiou Street 1, Pano Platres.www.cypruschocolate.com/language/en-GB/Home