“Made using only the finest local and organic ingredients, internationally and ethically sourced”
“Brought together by our passion for chocolate, the Nova Team’s mission is to create delicious tempered temptations that are offered in a variety of taste sensations.”
These are statements made by Nova. Steep to live up to, I thought.
I met Dylan Johnsson at the Good Food & Wine show, as he brandished a jar of smudge at me. After chatting briefly he asked if I would be interested in doing a review on a few of his products, and of course as a food blogger, I said yes! Nova makes strong claims about being sugar free, ethically sourced and creating quality chocolate products. After loving the teeny taste sample at the show, I was ready to try some proper tasting. I love chocolate and as a new mom am trying to balance that love with losing the baby weight so a sugar free alternative peeked my interest. I also employed the taste buds of 2 other chocolate lovers, to ensure that we got a fair opinion of the products.
WHAT I WAS GIVEN TO REVIEW (at no cost to myself):
Balsamics @ R71.25 per bottle
We tried the Chocolate ml Balsamic; Pinotage Chocolate Balsamic with no sugar; Chilli Chocolate Balsamic; and the Lemongrass Chocolate Balsamic.
Well balanced and not over the top chocolaty flavoured, they are delicious. We tried them with different cheeses, meats, on salad and in olive oil, as well as also used them in cooking. Trust me. Make a burger, top it with any one of these and you have got a champion!
The Pinotage was the top favorite but they are all smooth and just delicious. These would be ideal for the middle of the table at your next dinner party...or as we did it, just at dinner.
Slabs @ R50 per 100g slab
A couple of things make these slabs special. First there are the flavors: Dark Chocolate; Dark chocolate with Peanut butter; Roasted Cacao; Dark chocolate with Espresso. What we all noticed was how easy eating and smooth this chocolate is. They are all 54% dark, which is not overly bitter or hard. The slabs have a lovely balance between the dark chocolate and their fillings and are decadent eating material. They are all sugar free, using Xylatol as the sweetener, but what really surprised us was the lack of artificial taste. They were simply delicious and as good, if not better, than any regular chocolate slab. (The dark chocolate also comes in a smaller Kj controlled size slab)
Price wise they are around R10 more per slab, than something like Lindt, but definitely worth it if you are looking to cut down/out your sugar. If I didn’t know about the product, I may have passed it over out of lack of knowledge, but it definitely has a quality taste and packaging the would make it a wonderful gift for someone special....or just a guilt free midnight snack for yourself.
Smudge @ R69 per 250g jar
Oh boy! If you thought this was a biased post before this, hold onto your hats. Be warned... Smudge is addictive. Very, very addictive!
Now this product I was very sceptical of. I detest Nutella...or any other sweet spreads. I have hated the idea of chocolate anything on bread or toast and cannot stand the taste...
Well all I can say is I have tried Smudge on EVERYTHING. From toast to biscuits, on toasted banana loaf: to even smearing it in the cup when I made hot chocolate! EVERYTHING. I finally had to keep it in the fridge because every time I walked past a jar (we had the plain and the hazelnut) I would eat a spoonful. Keeping it cold made it harder to get out the jar!
This stuff is insanely good...and also sugar free. It’s so creamy, smooth, silky and tasty that it is totally irresistible. I could honestly eat an entire jar with a spoon in one sitting!
WHAT WE DIDNT TEST:
Nova do a diabetic hot chocolate that, while I didn’t get in my box to try, I did taste a little bit at Good Food & Wine. It is unbelievable and if you weren’t told it was sugar free, you wouldn’t have known.
I was very impressed by the Nova products that I was sent. I found them to all be of very high standard and quality, and definitely competitive with other established brands. The packaging is just beautiful, and you can taste the love and care that goes into their products.
Would I spend the money to enjoy the taste, knowing that it was sugar free and lower in guilt, as well as being of a high standard using ethically sourced products? Yes I would. We always complain about value for money, well value also means that what you paying for you get, and with Nova I can say I found the quality of the product in line with the pricing.
At this point the products are available online or at 2 locations in Gauteng. This is a definite yes to go into your loved ones Christmas stocking....but go order yourself some early Christmas cheer... you really should test the products before buying as gifts for others!
Check out their facebook page: www.facebook.com/NovaChoc/ and website: www.novachocolate.co.za/.
VERDICT: I would definitely recommend Nova Choc-oh-late products.
Anyone that knows me, knows that Good Food & Wine is one of my favorite shows of the year, and, because of how many I've attended, both in CT and Jo'Burg, I am quite critical of this show.
We arrived around 10am with baby in tow and dived right in. Right off the bat I could see a heap of new products and vendors. I personally love the Dome as it is a lovely cool venue and super spacious.
As per every year, the show was jam packed with goodies to eat, goodies to cook with, celeb chefs and more, but what was obvious this year when we walked in, was that the layout was different and while the regulars were in attendance, their were a lot of new traders there too.
Special note: A product that I couldn't try this year due to nursing, was Malfy Gin. That said, I cannot wait to get my hands on it as soon as I can. The aroma is amazing and I have a feeling this is a product to keep a look out for
Lets jump in, with some of my top products at this years show:
Last year we bought 2 bottles of this new butter based piri piri and were so dissapointed ...WHEN IT RAN OUT. We cried "WHY did we not buy more", stupidly forgetting that this homegrown gem is available for order online! We were delighted to find them again at this years show, and that they have expanded with a new oil based product to go alongside the yummy butter based original. Smooth and creamy, it has a nice bite without being ridiculously hot.
But be warned... do not just buy one bottle of this....you are going to eat it with EVERYTHING. Go check them out at : Delagoa Bay online
The Real Food Factory
So there are lots and lots and LOTS of traders that do condiments to go with stuff and on stuff. You can fall over dead from an overload of chutneys and pestos and mushroom things...but, this was one of the nicest brands I found. What also helped was that the young people in the stall weren't pushy, but really showed a love for the product they were selling. And what a product. We bought the Hemp seed and Coriander Pesto, as well as the Shitake Mushroom with lemon and ginger. Cape based (Kommetjie) they can be found on Facebook
or contact email@example.com
Nova Choc -oh-late
So I don't want to tell too much about this rock star chocolate product, as we will soon be doing a full stand alone product review. However, let me tantalize you with just a little taste... When I got hailed to try a nibble with the promise of a great sugar free chocolate, I was very skeptical. I've had sugar free chocolate, it's not tasty. But, on their promise that this was the best, I popped a piece in my mouth and was STUNNED. Smooth, creamy, sweet and just plain yummy, this stuff is AMAZING. They do various slabs as well as balsamic blends and the most amazing hot chocolate. Go check them out on Facebook, but keep an eye on the blog as we will have them here for a full product review SOON!
The current movement all over SA is to get rid of plastic straws. I've seen some funky glass ones, but have been worried to use them due to just something extra to break. Imagine our surprise in finding Foreva Straws. As they say "ForEva Reusable, Dish Washer Safe, Eco Friendly Drinking Straws. Why Wouldn't You Have A Set In Your Kitchen Draw? Think Green Drink Clean." We bought a pack to do our bit, and cause they are such a smart home option. Check them out on Facebook
The smaller cooking spaces allow for the public to get up close and personal with local chefs. Neil Anthony (a personal chef hero of mine) and J-Something (I got to meet him briefly) were two of the many chefs doing their thing at the show. This personal interaction with the public adds to the fun and makes the GF&W show something special.
One thing that REALLY impressed me, was the baby room. As a new (my little girl is just about to turn 3 months old) mother who is exclusively breastfeeding, going out is a bit of a story. You worry about where you can go to nurse, or change your baby (and no, those ugly drop down tables in the loo are NOT an option for me) What I LOVE about GF&W being held at the Ticketpro Dome, is that Phillips Avent have a permanent baby room in the venue. However, not only is it a space to feed, it has been well thought out for use by Moms or Dads. You enter into a large room with space to sit and spaces to change nappies and a counter with bottle warmers on it. There are 4 separate rooms with doors, for nursing, each with a table, comfortable chair, plug point and second seat. What is great with this is that dads can come and sit with mom while she is nursing, or can take their kids in the main room to change a nappy without encroaching on a nursing moms privacy. This room sets the dome head and shoulders above other venues, and makes the GF&W show such a pleasure to attend. I spent far longer at the show than I have any other since my daughter was born, as the stress was gone. I nursed her twice while we were there, and did a nappy change ... without a worry. WELL DONE to eveyone on this point.
All in all I give this years show a 8/10. Enjoyable, full of variety and value for money, we went home full of tasters, our wallets lighter of cash and with a heap of new products to look out for. Most importantly though, we cannot WAIT for GF&W 2018!
Editor in Chief by day, freelance copywriter, amateur photographer & blogger by night. I love finding new adventures in food and life and sharing them with my readers.