Bites to Bank on
25 Jun 2014
Alan Clegg came to South Africa from the UK as an investment banker. Three years later, he swapped his white collar for an apron and started making chocolates under the label Alexander Avery, a combination of his sons' second names. "I was struggling to find really nice Easter eggs in South Africa. I found many of them very sweet," he says. "No one was doing much in the way of more refined chocolates."
So he flew home to learn the trade from South African-born chocolatier Ruth Hinks at London's Cacao Barry. He returned to Cape Town and began experimenting. "I don't make bars from beans," he says. "There are eough people doing that really well. I buy proper couverture chocolate from brands like Valrhona and Cacao Barry, and make it into high-quality products."
Besides a selection of beautiful Easter eggs, Clegg makes soft-centred pralines in flavour combinations such as lime, lemon grass and coconut cream; pomegranate and rose petal spice; and a "gin and tonic" praline flavoured with juniper berries, gin and Patè de fruits in dark chocolate. "The aim is to service weddings and events, and hopefully get into retail," he says. The confections are all hand-decorated, tailored to individual specifications and can be ordered online from www.alexanderavery.co.za "instead of fitting my life around my work, I now have the luxury of fitting my work around my life, "says Clegg. - Raphaella Frame-Talmie