Who is Choco Loco?
Choco Loco is a funky little chocolate shop in Takaka, at the top of the South Island of New Zealand. We think of it as Europe meets New Zealand but with a contemporary twist.
The brainchild of Gay Hamilton and Kathy Craw, Choco Loco opened in December 2017. Our first incarnation was out the back of our shop, creating in the tiny commercial kitchen and selling the finished product out of the hatch window.
Oh how we grew! Just 9 months later we won our first award, a Gold Medal at the New Zealand Chocolate Awards for our super yummy A Currant Affair – a two layer bonbon with blackcurrant paté de fruit above a licorice chocolate ganache with a hint of absinthe.
And the next time the Awards came around, in March 2020, we won 3 more medals - 2 Gold Medals for Lime Zinger (a zingy lime sour) and Tiddly Pom (tangelo and pomegranate molasses) and a Silver Medal for our (gin and kaffir lime) Gin Fling.
The judges thought they were delicious and our customers agree.
We still design and produce these gourmet hand made chocolates right here in our little shop.
And because we only use the freshest ingredients (mostly local and some out of our gardens!), quality Belgian chocolate and no artificial preservatives, this means they’re packed full of flavour.
This does also mean our chocolates have a shorter shelf life, but we reckon they are so good you’re pretty unlikely to put them in the cupboard and forget them anyway.
But don't take our word for it, try them for yourself!
Our little shop is literally the sweetest shop in town!
In our chocolate nirvana you can buy all things chocolate – books, cards, mugs, gourmet chocolate bars, our filled chocolates and giftboxes as well as cakes and pastries made right here.
And with café seating inside and out, you can enjoy a relaxed coffee, croissant or chocolate while watching the world go by.
Well, maybe not the world but Takaka is pretty eclectic and as we are situated between the market and the main street chances are you’ll get a good feel of the unique vibe that is Takaka.
Come and visit!
So who is behind Choco Loco?
Kath - head chocolatier
"I never used to like chocolate. I grew up in Kenya and my Grandfather used to send chocolate treats from the UK by sea for Christmas. By the time it got to me it had been repeatedly melted on the journey through the Suez Canal. It was soggy, white coated blobs of yuck that I ate anyway. I never really bothered after that.
Then everything changed. In the process of opening Choco Loco I learnt all about Belgian chocolate and tasted all kinds of boutique chocolates made by the growing number of New Zealand chocolatiers. I discovered that I love good chocolate and that’s my aim….. to make really good snappy and shiny chocolates packed full of flavour. I love the range of flavours we have and it’s a good sign when your ‘go to chocolate’ keeps changing."
Gay - owner
"I have always loved chocolate and, truth be told, a little too much. Once I started I had a very poor stop button, and zero quality control. So I have had quite a few "Is this wise?" moments along Choco Loco's journey.
But during the research stage I discovered I could differentiate between quality and mainstream and with rich, flavoursome chocolates my stop button appeared. It seems you don't need a lot of good quality chocolate to feel satisfied!
We produce damned good, tasty chocolates that stand apart from mainstream. Quality not quantity now works for me - who would've guessed!"