Barking good chocolate

A 10-year-old Hout Bay girl’s new business venture has given a new meaning to the term “sweet gesture”.

Recently, an animal clinic in Khayelitsha lost one of its biggest sponsors, and Julia Pleass decided to come to the rescue, starting a chocolate business called The Barking Chocolatier.

The handmade-chocolate business runs every week, with profits being split between her school, Kronendal Primary, and the Mdzananda Animal Clinic.

Julia has also run raffles, using her handmade chocolates as prizes, drawing lots of attention in the process.

She has already raised just over R500, but plans to double that by the end of the year.

“I really get that feeling like I am helping out the clinic by donating much needed funds towards them. They need all the help they can possibly get,” Julia says.

Julia’s three dogs and two cats have all been either adopted or rescued by the young chocolatier.

“We have one dog we adopted from the Anti-Cruelty League and our other pets all came from the clinic out in Khayelitsha,” she says. “I just really wanted to help out the animals.”

Her mother, Caroline, who is also a Hout Bay chocolatier, says her daughter has always been “madly in love” with animals.

“She raised the funds for the animals by selling handmade chocolates, made by herself and without the help from her me.

“The venture started when one of her friends gave her a chocolate fondue set as a birthday gift, but it quickly grew to a bigger bowl over a pot of hot water on the stove, taking over half the fridge,” says Caroline.

Julia has also used her chocolate raffle to raise R160 for Hout Bay Pets.

After school every Monday and Tuesday, she makes chocolates and then she sells them on Wednesday.

“Julia is extremely hard working. It was her own idea to start a business, selling chocolates once a week at school. She keeps half the profit to put back into her business and the other half is shared between her school and clinic in Khayelitsha,” says Caroline.

Julia is also very much into horse riding and hopes, she says, to become a professional horse-riding coach.

But she also has ambitions to teach other kids how to cook and bake for themselves.

Julia is assisted by her close friend, Lena Meier, who helps with the selling of the chocolates every week.

“Lena has become really good at calculating amounts quickly and packing chocolates away quickly too,” says Caroline.

The Sentinel was unable to get comment from the Mdzananda Animal Clinic by the time this edition went to print.