I interviewed Cape Town based chocolatier Jean-Pierre Fortain for the House & Garden magazine 'Tastemaker' page in the food section for the May issue... He makes incredible chocolate products and can be found at the V&A Market on the Wharf and at the Bay Harbour Market on the weekends.
Below is the story:
'Jean-Pierre the chocolatier’ has a catchy ring to it. It’s what grabs the attention of visitors to the new V&A Market on the Wharf. The man behind the name, Jean-Pierre Fortain, is a third-generation chocolatier from Belgium, who, after holidaying in Cape Town two years ago, decided to pack up and move with his wife and children to the Mother City.
Having grown up with a chocolate warehouse as his playground, he spent hours playing with ingredients and – of course – indulging in sweet treats.
‘I was nine years old when I learnt how to do piping and started making chocolate.’ Now, with family recipes imprinted on his brain and skills gained from his time studying at the renowned patisserie school, De Groene Poort in Bruges, Fortain hopes to grow Cape Town’s chocolate culture.
Using top-quality Belgian callebaut chocolate and only Danish butter, he experiments with ingredients such as almond paste, ginger, green tea and salt. Expanding on his philosophy of chocolate’s adaptability, he once served salmon and broccoli mouse on salted dark-chocolate discs at the market’s upstairs demonstration kitchen. Not only a master crafter of flavours, Fortain has also weaved his magic with intriguing chocolate sculptures, citing castles, pianos, cars and baskets as some of his more unusual pieces.
An organic range is on the cards and, come winter, cocoa lovers can expect a new take on hot chocolate with Fortain’s chocolate sticks — ‘a stick with a cube of hazelnut paste covered in dark chocolate at the end. You stir this into hot milk for a delicious drink’. His stand at the market boasts other home-made goodies such as orange marmalade, vanilla extract, a range of diabetic chocolate and pastries on Saturdays and Sundays. Fortain also has a smaller stand at the weekend Bay Harbour Market in his new home town of Hout Bay.
Spreading his knowledge and passion for chocolate-making, Fortain offers introductory classes, including macaron and truffle-making courses. ‘I want to awaken people’s senses,’ he explains. ‘It’s very important to try different things.’
‘I eat 50 grams of dark chocolate every day. It’s very healthy because of the antioxidants. It lifts your mood and it’s good for your love life,’ he laughs.