Chocolate – from farm to factory

Marry-Anne Price mastered the art of chocolate making

Marry-Anne Price mastered the art of chocolate making

Published Jan 11, 2024


A Mpumalanga mother who has learnt the art of chocolate making in a bid to put food on the table, is providing South Africa with her own handmade Belgian chocolate collection.

Twenty seven years ago Mary-Anne Price and her husband bought a macadamia nut farm in Hazyview, Mpumalanga. Belgian-born Price had stopped working as a travel agent to focus on bringing up their two children Shaun and Tanya, and the couple decided on a more rural lifestyle in which to do so.

Having secured contracts to export their annual crop to the US, the Prices had a run of good fortune for four years, but in 1990 their American importer died, and his wife refused to deal with the shipment.

“The container of macadamia nuts was dumped in the sea, and we did not get paid for our crop. “Our contract was cancelled, and South African exporters had to find new markets to export the South African macadamia crop,” Price said.

It was a tough time for the couple and their two young children.

“We had saved part of the macadamia crop and, needing an income to keep the farm running and pay for school fees, we decided to use the nuts in chocolates.”

She said with her knowledge and contacts in the travel and tourism industry, she and her family could supply luxury lodges and hotels with the handmade delights.

Wanting to get things right and ensure they created a quality product, Price decamped to Johannesburg for a few months to learn the art of chocolate making at the hands of a Belgian chocolatier.

Shaun Price showing off the handmade chocolates

Armed with sufficient knowledge and practical experience, she returned to the farm and set up a small factory. By the end of 1991 the first Shautany chocolate began rolling off the production line – a macadamia nut covered in supreme Belgian chocolate.

The name Shautany came from a combination of their children’s names Shaun and Tanya.

As adults, both children joined the family business which enabled them to perfect and expand the range of chocolates, and their small industry grew from supplying lodges and hotels to opening a shop in White River in Mpumalanga.

This was followed by further outlets in Hazyview, Dullstroom and Graskop.

“We moved to the Garden Route in 2019 and shortly afterwards opened our Plettenberg Bay shop at Old Nick’s Village. Late last year our St. Francis Bay shop opened its doors for the first time and both outlets, as well as those in Mpumalanga, continue to do great business.”

These days, Shautany’s chocolates are made in a factory in White River, with somewhere between 80 and 100 different products produced on a daily basis.

“Our products are all handmade with only the finest natural preservative-free ingredients. We use Callebaut chocolate imported from Belgium, with all the other ingredients sourced locally from various artisans throughout South Africa,” Price said.

While there are no plans to open stores in any of South Africa’s major cities, chocoholics or those wanting to treat someone special with something very special, can get their hands on Shautany chocolates by contacting the White River factory from where orders can be couriered.

Pretoria News