Established just over a year ago, this little pink bakery exudes genuine passion for authentic patisserie that it likes to share with the people of St Barts.
What is Chokola Vany?
Malik Maxor: We are an artisanal bakery that produces everything from scratch. Freshly made each morning, our baked goods are a feast for the eyes enriched with a mélange of flavours. I like to call myself a dessert dealer, providing people with a host of sweet pleasures.
What was the inspiration behind Chokola Vany?
Mathilde Zapparoli: Malik and I are both from families involved in the culinary trade, which naturally influenced us from childhood, motivating us to follow in their footsteps. Chocolate and vanilla not only reflect the colours of our skin but are also two favourite ingredients that go well together. They thus symbolise our partnership, and what better way to express this than in the Créole language.
Can you tell me about your journey to become a bakery?
Malik: We met about five years ago and frequently discussed the idea of doing something enterprising together. A trained and experienced pastry chef, Mathilde’s ambition was to open her own bakery. I was keen to support this idea, particularly to be able to offer the people of St Barts homemade cakes and pastries. After a lot of planning, discussion and hard work, this dream became a reality in July 2022. I am the front of house and Mathilde is the talented pastry chef.
What makes you different to other bakeries?
Mathilde: We are a small family enterprise that shares a passion for producing authentic and innovative creations. We also share a love of people and gain satisfaction in bringing happiness to our clients. We are always evolving, making novel creations such as nut encrusted choc ices, and colourful macarons filled with our homemade ice cream. We are unique in offering a praline pain au chocolat as well as a chokobanania, which is a chocolate banana pastry. Both of these have become the preferred choice of our customers.
What do you make and where do you get the ideas for your creations?
Mathilde: Chokola Vany offers a full range of traditional and unusual pastries alongside imaginative cakes, homemade sorbet and ice cream, as well as our own chocolate. We equally make savoury items such as sandwiches, bruschetta and salads. My culinary school training has given me a good foundation of knowledge, which is combined with valuable experience through working in Michelin star restaurants. I have a natural thirst for knowledge and continue to progress through constant research to inspire new ideas. I even dream about creations, writing them down as soon as I wake up. I enjoy experimenting with interesting flavour combinations, pairing them with a variety of textures, be it soft cream or mousse, crispy pastry or crumbly biscuits. This is all enhanced by an array of natural colours such as bright green pistachio or deep pink raspberry. Presentation is key, particularly as I believe that we eat with our eyes.
Where do you source your ingredients?
Mathilde: We endeavour to work with a variety of local suppliers who provide fresh quality ingredients. The tropical fruit we use in our ice cream, sorbet and patisserie comes from nearby Caribbean islands. We seek to only use supplies that are responsibly produced.
Who are your principal clients?
Malik: We have a broad range of clients from local residents to seasonal workers to tourists. We also provide a catering service, which means we frequently work with butlers, concierges, event managers, hotels and restaurants. We supply a couple of supermarkets here on the island, for people to find our produce when doing their regular grocery shopping. We currently take telephone orders and are looking to develop this service.
Where are you located and what are your opening hours?
Malik: Chokola Vany can be found between Toiny and Petit Cul-de-Sac, behind a pink arch and sign board. We are open from 6am until 1.30pm, then 5pm to 7pm for any last minute requests. We currently have a small seating area, which we are planning to extend in order to welcome customers to stay and enjoy breakfast or lunch.
Do you have a mission?
Mathilde: We want to continue the culinary tradition of our families, which has been handed down from generation to generation. We also want to spread happiness and positivity through our homemade produce. We specifically chose the colour pink for Chokola Vany as it is a calming colour associated with love and kindness.
Is there anything specific that you would like to share with the readers of Coccoloba?
Malik: Believe in yourself and have the courage of your convictions to fulfil your dream. Our journey has not always been easy, but we consistently had great faith in ourselves and were determined to see our idea through to the end. We would like Coccoloba readers to adopt a similar attitude.