In November 2020 I visited Kristine at The Chocolate Barn in Waipu. Their property is hidden away like a secret chocolate paradise, and I loved every minute I spend there!
The Chocolate Barn has got a lovely background story. The barn was originally built for their daughter’s wedding, after which they weren’t quite sure what to do with it. Kristine has always had a passion for making chocolate and desserts, but she hadn’t done it as a business. They used to own over 500 chickens! And while they still have a few left, they decided to convert the barn into a proper chocolate business for Kristine, and leave the ‘chicken life’ behind them.
When I walked into The Chocolate Barn Kristine surprised me with a platter of gorgeous chocolates, including a few new experimental flavours. In 2021 she is planning to release some new products. So if you want something a little different then her well known and loved chocolate covered nuts, she will soon have you covered! I was honoured to have been able to taste them before she made her final selection, and can’t wait to see which ones she will indeed produce.
One of my favourites was the tangy and fruity mango jellies, covered in white chocolate. As well as the raspberry nougat, covered in ruby chocolate. Their texture was perfect, with a soft chew, and the flavours were intense and true to the ingredients used. Another stand-out flavour were the pecans. They were covered in a caramelized chocolate, blended with cookie crumbs! I need a whole bucket full of them please!
Kristine makes the jellies and nougats herself, using ingredients from local farmers and suppliers. Even the macadamias come from a local farmer! She told me about how she only works with whole macadamias, she doesn’t use the broken ones. She has developed her own special roasting process to ensure fewer macadamias break, which means there is less wastage. However nothing truly goes to waste, as she can use the broken macadamias for her lovely desserts, and when trialling new chocolate recipes.
What’s next for The Chocolate Barn?
Kristine and her husband have recently renovated one half of the barn to be a fully operational (and massive) kitchen, perfect for workshops! The other half is dedicated to the chocolate making process, including a special sealed and temperature controlled room. This is where Kristine makes the chocolates. She used to do a lot of bonbons and bean-to-bar, but has chosen to now specialize in chocolate covered goodness.
Her hobby is still to make beautiful desserts and other chocolate creations (I secretly can’t want for another visit so I can see her make those too!). Kristine’s passion is to create beautiful, delicious, and affordable chocolate, for everyone to enjoy. And I think she does a fabulous job of it! Early in 2021 she is planning to release a special gift box range as well as offer special workshops in her newly converted Chocolate Barn.
How to get your chocolate fix?