“On Moshav Ein-Vered in the Sharon area, in the middle of the orchard, there is a magical world of chocolate,” says Limor Drucker, who offers a plethora of chocolate-related activities at her centre in Israel.
Sarina Chocolate is a visitors’ centre for the art of chocolate-making and a place for workshops and events. It is designed especially to create a unique experience and a world of chocolate”, says Limor.
Limor’s back-ground is fascinating, and her story explains how she came to open a chocolate store and workshop in Israel. She was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and at the age of 5 she and her family moved to Cape Town, where they lived for 13 years. “After completing Aliyah; studied at the Hebrew University and got married,” explains Limor. “My husband lived on the Ein Vered moshav and we moved there and brought up our family.
“I worked as an English teacher for many years. In 1999 my husband was relocated for a job to Germany and we moved and lived in Frankfurt for six years. It was then that the idea of changing careers and taking a chocolate course came to me,” she says. Limor studied chocolate-making in Belgium at a well-known chocolate academy called Barry Callebaut, and in France at Valrhona. “However the best learning was done when I travelled around the world and worked as an intern at chocolatiers in the States and in Germany as well,” she explains.
“One thing led to another and we decided to start a new project related to chocolate when we returned to Israel. My husband and I decided that we would build this centre from scratch on our own land. With all the bureaucracy it took five years to get the building licences! In the meantime I started off with a small studio in the basement of my house. I sold chocolate at fairs and went to people’s homes to do workshops. We opened the new studio during Rosh Hashanah of 2010.”
A chocolate experience
“We aimed to be a ‘centre of chocolate’ for groups, tourists and private visitors — a place where one could buy good-quality chocolate and also take part in chocolate workshops. These workshops are suited for all age group: kids, families and adults and for every occasion: birthdays , bachelorette parties and just to have fun!” says Limor. “Today we also do private and business events. Small or large groups are welcome. The entire centre is designed to be an experience for all the senses. It is large, spacious and well-equipped, and is surrounded by beautiful orchards and greenery.”
Meanwhile, Limor explains that the name ‘Sarina Chocolate’ comes from her mother. “I decided to name my new business after her because she was an incredible cook… she ingrained in me a love for the kitchen. Both my parents come from Aleppo (Syria) and Syrian food is the gourmet food of the Middle East! Unfortunately both of them passed away before they could see the studio, but I have no doubt that they would have been very proud of me,” she says.
Limor prides herself on making chocolate of the highest quality. “The chocolates we make are all made from finest Belgian chocolate. We have a wide range of products, they are handmade and there is something for everyone. Our pralines and truffles are all fresh and we have a large, ever-changing variety of flavours, such as nougat , marzipan and different liquor-filled pralines. Some of our more daring and adventurous flavours are Roquefort cheese, balsamic vinegar, black olives and olive oil! All the dark chocolates are made with 70% cacao mass. There are also bars of chocolate with nuts, pistachio, orange peel, chocolate liquor; bouquets of chocolate and lot’s more!
Fun for the whole family
Sarina Chocolate is a fantastic outing for the whole family in Israel, and a variety of activities are offered. A visit to the centre and an active workshop includes the following: A visit to the cacao trees and greenhouse, which includes a tour from a private guide who explains the growing conditions and the developing trees — a unique sight in Israel! Visitors can then watch a movie describing the world of chocolate and its production (In Hebrew only); followed by a delicious tasting workshop.
The visitors then enjoy a chocolate fondue, and have an opportunity to make their own truffles and roll them in different toppings. Participants will be able to pipe chocolate into various shapes, which you take home at the end of the workshop. In addition, you are taught about the process of tempering chocolate and will be given pralines in different flavours to take with you. “The workshops last about 2 hours, at the end of which the participants take home an abundance of chocolate!” says Limor.
All workshops must be coordinated ahead of time. All products are kosher and the centre is closed on Shabbat. The workshop is offered in English. The entire facility can also be booked for a function or conference of up to 120 people, and catering is provided (all dairy and kosher). “Sarina Chocolate is a unique experience in Israel for so many reasons,” says Limor. It is the only place in Israel where cacao trees are grown, the chocolate is of the highest quality, it is suitable for all ages, and we offer workshops, events and a space for private functions. Ultimately, you should visit because ‘nine out of ten people like chocolate… and the tenth person is lying!’” Indeed, Sarina Chocolate truly makes Israel ‘the land flowing with milk and honey.’