Chocolatiers in America: Nunu Chocolates

Goodlifer: Chocolatiers in America: Nunu Chocolates

I first encountered Nunu Chocolates at the Brooklyn Flea. The quirkily shaped chocolate bonbons artfully arranged on the outdoor market table definitely got my attention, but they also made me somewhat skeptical. Chocolates that come in fancy shapes have not, in my experience, ever provided much gastronomic pleasure. The first one I sampled was the Earl Gray Ganache, and I was very happily surprised. I have never really had a good tea-flavored chocolate before, but this hit the spot. It was all downhill from there, I was sold. The fact that Nunu’s retail outpost is located mere blocks from my home was a definite bonus (or diet downfall).

Earl Grey Ganache, Jasmine Ganache & Organic Raspberry Ganache

Earl Grey Ganache, Jasmine Ganache & Organic Raspberry Ganache

Absinthe Delight, Espresso Brandy & Prosecco Ganache.

Absinthe Delight, Espresso Brandy & Prosecco Ganache.

Chocolate maker Justine Pringle hails from South Africa, and says she was never that interested in anything culinary growing up. One day, about three years ago, she was walking down the West Side Highway with her musician husband, brainstorming what they could make to sell at concerts instead of the standard-fare T-shirts and CDs. In an interview with Radio Free Cupcake, Pringle says that the first and only thing that came to mind was chocolate, so chocolate it was. She got her chocolatier permit at Ecole Chocolat in Canada and started experimenting with recipes. That part was easy, it all came together naturally. The hard part, she says, is keeping the consistency and maintaining the standard of her products.

Justine Pringle, Nunu's chocolate maker. Image via Radio Free Cupcake.

Justine Pringle, Nunu’s chocolate maker. Image via Radio Free Cupcake.

Nunu chocolates are not made with high percentage chocolate since Pringle feels that is clashes with the fillings and makes the chocolates taste bitter. Most contain 50% or 60% chocolate, which she says goes better with both ganaches and caramels. All chocolates are totally natural and individually handmade with the finest ingredients, including a single origin Cocoa bean derived from a Trintario and Criollo hybrid which is bought directly from a family run farm in Eastern Colombia. The plantation practices sustainable farming and has received their IQNet certification for both the ISO 14001 and the ISO 9001 standards.

Soft Caramel Star Lollipop, Caramel Peanut Crush & Chocolate Covered Graham.

Soft Caramel Star Lollipop, Caramel Peanut Crush & Chocolate Covered Graham.

Hand Dipped Salt Caramel, Soft Golden Caramel Butterfly & Salt Roasted Cashew Caramel.

Hand Dipped Salt Caramel, Soft Golden Caramel Butterfly & Salt Roasted Cashew Caramel.

For the first two and a half years, she held a full-time job and rented space in the kitchen of Brooklyn eatery Sheep Station at night, often staying up until the wee hours of the morning making chocolate, only to have to wake up and go to work the next morning. When Nunu was accepted to the Union Square Greenmarket, she decided it was time to give up her job, since it would have been impossible to do both. All seems to have been uphill since. Nunu chocolates are now sold all over the country, and recently opened a retail location on Brooklyn’s Atlantic Avenue. Pringle says she is overwhelmed by all the local support she has received. The plan is to establish a mini-kitchen in the store so that she can serve people and make chocolate at the same time.

Nunu's retail store, on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn.

Nunu’s retail store, on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. Photo via The Brooklyn Paper.

Nunu is a term of endearment for little kids, often used in Pringle’s native South Africa. It seems a very appropriate name for these chocolate creations, sweet in both senses of the word.

Top photos via Notes on a Party

About author
A designer by trade, Johanna has always had a passion for storytelling. Born and raised in Sweden, she's lived and worked in Miami, Brooklyn and, currently, Ojai, CA. She started Goodlifer in 2008 to offer a positive outlook for the future and share great stories, discoveries, thoughts, tips and reflections around her idea of the Good Life. Johanna loves kale, wishes she had a greener thumb, and thinks everything is just a tad bit better with champagne (or green juice).
1 comment on this postSubmit yours
  1. I need to find a jasmine infused chocolate for my friend’s baby shower. Could you sell me about 50 pieces of it. Better yet if it is flower shaped since her daughter’s name will be Jasmin.
    Pls let me know ASAP…it’s for March!

    Thank you, Deborah

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