Saved by chocolate: Makana Chocolate Factory and Shop

Like many members of the mobile community, Bill and I migrate north if we are going away in the caravan in winter. The reason is obvious although this year we struck some rather stroppy gales. The caravan shook like a baby’s rattle and the wind was so belligerent it’s a wonder we didn’t end up on the Cavalli Islands. For a couple of days it was entertaining but when cabin fever began to threaten our will to live, we drove to Kerikeri to see if anything had changed since we were there four months ago. And there we discovered the just finished, stylishly redesigned Makana Chocolate Factory and Shop. Many chocoholics will know this place. In its old livery it had been making and selling memorable chocolates for the last 18 years. But now, as well as the redesigned factory and shop, a separate addition – the Makana Café, Patisseria and Gelateria no less – has appeared. In this urbane environment we sipped a cup of genuine chocolate that was so warming, delicious and reminiscent of Spain, I was also able to swallow the cafe’s rather pretentious appellation. If you go to this delightful place, I have word of warning: do not enter this cafe with its marble table tops, mosaic walls, cushioned seating and sweeping verandah if you are hungry. You risk a blowout calorie attack from any of the gorgeous array of desserts and cakes, such as boozy chocolate cherry mousse, caramelised banana, or pecan pie with Chantilly cream. You may resist these delicacies but then there’s the tempting gelato bar where 25 manicured mountains of flavoured ice cream lie in wait. Next door the chocolate factory, established in 1998, is now housed in as modern and elegant a building as the cafe. You can watch delicacies in the making in a kitchen as neat as a dentist’s surgery and take your pick from the sophisticated display of mouth-watering confectionary. That’s if you can overcome the eye-watering price tags. I know money can’t buy you happiness but it did buy me a block of chocolate dipped macadamia shortbread which made me feel that life was, after all, worth living. Jill Malcolm is a former editor of Motorhomes Caravans & Destinations and author of the Great Kiwi Motorhome Guide.
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