Kwena – The First Or Noir™ Chocolate in Africa

Kwena – The First Or Noir™ Chocolate in Africa

Chef Motheba Makhetha in the Cacao Barry Or Noir™ Lab

Chef Motheba Makhetha, proud winner of the best dessert in South Africa at the 2023 Eat Out awards, is the first chef on the continent to create her own unique chocolate.

Kwena, a 66% dark chocolate made from beans of African origin, pays homage to Motheba’s family and their sacrifices. The name translates to Crocodile, the Makhetha family totem. This name aptly describes such a robust chocolate with its rich dark cocoa notes, fruit, and acidity. It also speaks to her relationship with food and how she came to love pastry: growing up sharing food with loved ones was significant to Motheba’s decision to become a chef, and her family was very supportive of this choice.

Motheba Makhetha receiving her award at the Eat Out South Africa Awards ceremony

Cacao Barry partnered with Eat Out, South Africa’s definitive restaurant guide, at their 2023 Awards ceremony to honor the best dessert in the country. This is the first time in Eat Out history that desserts have been acknowledged with their own award. The grand prize for such a special award was a trip to France for the Cacao Barry Or Noir experience. Winning an award at Eat Out was an out-of-body experience for Motheba, who was honoured to receive recognition from those she looked up to in the industry. She sees this award as a stepping stone to further elevate her pastry career.

Or Noir™ allows chefs to explore unlimited personalization options when creating their own unique chocolate recipe. By customizing each ingredient in a chocolate, from the bean origin to the cocoa content and fluidity, a chef is empowered to pour their personality into this key ingredient for any great pastry chef.

Chefs Motheba Makhetha and Arno Ralph outside the Or Noir™ Lab

Motheba traveled up to the lab along with Chocolate Academy South Africa Head Chef Arno Ralph in February 2024. There, they worked with the Or Noir team to create a one-of-a-kind chocolate to best fit Motheba’s needs. She described the experience as “nothing less than magical” when reminiscing about the day she crafted her chocolate. She was thankful for the input and support that Chef Arno was able to give her through the experience.

Chef Motheba works with her new chocolate, Kwena

The day started with some questions so that the team could understand Motheba’s priorities for her chocolate, including how celebrating Africa with her choice of beans was a top priority. The chefs then tasted a few different cocoa mass profiles – the most concentrated form of pure chocolate, with no added ingredients. After giving her feedback on what she liked and disliked about each mass, the Or Noir team created a few blends for the Chefs to try. After tempering and moulding the recipes, Motheba already had a favourite in mind; once the contending chocolates were applied into a ganache, her decision was final, and Kwena was born!

Or Noir™ Kwena

Cacao Barry prides itself on being innovators in cacao flavour excellence. Rooted in French pastry history since 1842, we have chocolate to suit the needs of any great pastry chef. Our chocolate is fully sustainable. We nurture chocolate production from farm to plate, and that is how we can deliver the finest quality to our customers. 

Please contact your local sales representative to learn more about Cacao Barry's offerings, including the Or Noir™ experience.