Either you think it’s the cheesiest occasion of the year or you’re known for your sappy displays of affection. Whatever your style, treats from these SA confectionery companies are the gateway to bliss, and there’s no doubt they make the perfect gift.

A taste for the exotic

Ma Mère Confections produces artisanal sweets with unusual and exotic flavours. Think toasted coconut marshmallows swirled with salted butter caramel and white chocolate, vanilla, olive oil and almond nougat.

The Cape Town company is run by founder Lexi Bird, who has a background in advertising, and her team. Their core focus is nougats, brittles and Parisian macarons.

You can find Ma Mère Confections at its factory (by appointment only) at 5 Loop Street in Maitland, Cape Town.

Visit mamere.co.za or follow @mamereconfections on Instagram

Honest to goodness

Honest Chocolate, an artisanal chocolate company in Cape Town, started from a bit of experimentation with raw cacao. It is run by Anthony Gird and Michael de Klerk, and all its chocolates are handcrafted in small batches using traditional chocolate-making methods, including hand-tempering the chocolate on a granite slab and hand-dipping each chocolate bonbon. The company also sells hot chocolate and chocolate spread.

Honest Chocolate uses organic, raw cacao that is ethically sourced in Ecuador, and each chocolate wrapper is illustrated by a different
SA artist.

The company has also opened a chocolate-inspired café that sells — wait for it — banana bread "bunny chow" (mini banana bread filled with chocolate spread, ice cream and roasted nuts). Sold!

Honest Chocolate products are free of processed sugars, dairy products, preservatives and additives.

Visit honestchocolate.co.za 

Now for nougat...

Born of the desire to create an experience of refined and exquisite taste, 1701 describes itself as the coming together of culinary excellence, bespoke gift curation and an appreciation for the finer things. Cordon bleu chef Lianne Scher and her son Nicholas are the perfect complement of creative gastronomy and brand custodianship.

Each piece of 1701’s nougat is hand-cut and wrapped. The Rose Turkish Delight & Almond Nougat and the Nocciola Chocolate Nougat are quite literally life-changing.

By the way, 1701 is the year in which nougat is believed to have been created in the small town of Montélimar, France.

1701 is about more than just nougat, though — the Schers curate luxury gift collections too.

Visit 1701.co.za or follow @1701brand on Instagram

Handmade and heavenly

The Counter produces incredible handmade confectionery that is sold in a few Joburg stores. It also makes gift boxes for special occasions, like Valentine’s Day.

Two passionate foodies — Meg Pascoe and Ian Vos — run the company, which started as a "side hustle". They’d been working together for just over eight years at a catering company.

Having gained experience in fine dining institutions such as The Saxon Boutique Hotel and spending several years training in London, the two get it so right on their assortment of treats. Try their brownies, you won’t be sorry.

Visit thecounter.co.za