A visit to Le Delizie – an artisanal chocolate, nougat and ice-cream shop in the heart of peaceful Newlands – is something close to magical, akin to stepping into the pages of Joanne Harris’s chocolate-themed novel… though Le Delizie’s edible creations are perhaps far superior to anything in Chocolat.
From its mall-side entrance in the Dean Street Arcade (there is also a more popular street entrance, with limited tables and seating inside and out), the shop is not immediately noticeable until the display fridge, containing wondrous-looking frozen treats, catches your eye, magnetically pulling you closer.
How Le Delizie came to be
Opened in October 2014, after Adriana and Massimo relocated to South Africa from Italy, this bottega del cioccolato (chocolate boutique) has been producing fresh batches of chocolate, nougat, gelato and sorbet daily – often in small quantities to ensure freshness and because of the time required to create these sweet treats.
The thinking behind a combined chocolate and ice-cream shop was in case one didn’t take off… though that has never been the case, and all products are indeed special and treated as such by husband-and-wife owners, Massimo and Adriana.
Doing it their way
Everything – from the beautifully ornate, predominantly clear and golden beribboned packaging and adorable gift boxes to the elegant labelling – is handmade, handcrafted and packaged by the couple themselves, with Adriana in particular painstakingly going over possible colour combinations and designs until she is suitably satisfied with the products’ presentation and beauty.
Much of the packaging and some products (such as the perle and panettone) are imported from Italy, as are some of their finest ingredients – such as the Sicilian almonds and the hazelnuts from Northern Italy – while the fresh ingredients, such as the honey, are all sourced locally, ensuring a marriage between the best of South African and Italian ingredients.
Fresh and fine
Le Delizie’s nougat is truly Italian, using only honey, egg whites and Sicilian almonds, though they produce the standard, sugary kind too. (There is also chocolate nougat for the chocoholics among us!)
Their products, especially the chocolates, are made without preserves, added fats and oils, and use only pure chocolate, which Massimo carefully melts as needed. He also makes the chocolate fillings, some of which contain cream and therefore don’t last as long as those without. Though, as Adriana explained, if packaged and stored in a cool place, all their products can easily keep at home for several weeks, if not far longer.
Something for everyone
Although everything is generally priced according to weight – especially if you compose your own orders – and carefully weighed on their shop scale by Adriana, who counts and double-checks everything before ringing up the bill, many products have set prices.
There are some pricier products, but this is by no means an expensive boutique reserved for the rich. Products start from R10 to R49, and Adriana always takes the customer’s needs and budget into account, ensuring there is literally something for everyone.
Served in lovely, plastic cups, their gelato is unique in that it does not use eggs. The exception to the no-egg rule is their Crema Della Nonna (Granny’s Cream; beloved among Italians), which uses egg yolk and is reminiscent of creamy, homemade custard.
The gelato sells for R45 per cup or R35 for 2 scoops. (Although they do not scoop at Le Delizie, they dish, Italian style!)
Super sorbet and dreamy ice-cream cakes
Their sorbet, which uses real fruit (something you can definitely taste, especially with the mouth-watering strawberry flavour), is seasonal, naturally dairy-free and consists of the finest quality ingredients.
The chocolate sorbet, for example, is made from 71% dark chocolate and sometimes for fun, particularly in summer, Massimo freezes the amazing lemon sorbet in rind and sells it thus, just as they do in Italy.
But perhaps their star ice-cream attraction(s) and Massimo’s crowning glory, are the ice-cream cakes (some are shaped like real, wooden logs around Christmas especially) and gelato bonbons (or Italian kisses). Some may be served with frozen fruit slices on top, and beyond their crisp, hard smooth chocolate exterior, lies deliciously sweet and refreshing sorbet inside. (R105 for 8; R190 for 15.)
At this boutique, everything is good and with its soft cream and old-fashioned wood décor, with wooden display cabinets, copper hanging lights and spotlights showing off the beautiful products and shop itself, and the couple’s joint dedication and care to it strongly apparent, it is no wonder regular customers can be overheard loudly proclaiming, “Everything is amazing, don’t you worry about that!” – because honestly, that pretty much sums up Le Delizie in a nutshell.
Monday – Friday, 10am – 6pm
Saturday 10am – 2pm
Closed on Sunday
Contact 062 034 2732, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Le Delizie, Shop 15, Dean Street Arcade, Main Street, Newlands, Cape Town