By Loshaun Dixon
A sweet addition has just been added to Port Zante with the opening of the St. Kitts Chocolate Factory that will add diversity for visitors when they disembark cruise ships.
The business is the brainchild of married business partners Gary Hiranandani and Seema Shahani who call the Federation home after living here for 10 years. They also own jewellery and cosmetology businesses.
Company representative Naeemah Hazel told The Observer that the owners had a vision that will really make St. Kitts feel more like home.
“Gary and Seema had an idea to start a chocolate factory and four months later this is what they created.” Hazel said. “It really came out of a good idea and a genuine interest in doing something locally that was different.”
She said they also wanted to diversify the market at Port Zante.
“At Port Zante there were a lot of the same kinds of things and we didn’t have too many different options,” Hazel explained. “This is something to give tourists something different to come to and improve tourism with something different.”
Hazel said Gary and Seemawanted to start a business that represents people from St. Kitts and is very inexpensive.
“When you eat this chocolate, the quality is very good,” Hazel said.“It is Belgian chocolate brought to St. Kitts as a powder. We format it and add a lot of flavours that are unique to St. Kitts.”
She stated that they tried to make the flavours with a Caribbean theme so it reflects the culture. Special flavours are highlighted on the menu.
“We have the Turtles Almonds Silver/Dark,” Hazel said.“We have clusters, bars, truffles, melted chocolate and moose. In each category we have different flavours.”
Alistair Williams of the Ministry of Tourism attended the grand opening of the business and welcomed the St. Kitts Chocolate Factory to the Port Zante family.
“Anyone who follows the history of St. Kitts knows sweets are part of the culture,” Williams said. “That has always been our foundation and has always the core of our tourism.We look forward for the same sweetness to be continued as you export St. Kitts culture to the rest of the world.”
Former Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition Dr. Denzel Douglas lauded the proprietors for their venture
“I believe this is a very worthwhile endeavour providing employment opportunities,” Dr. Douglas said. “I congratulate them fully on behalf of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party and on behalf of the people of St. Kitts and Nevis.”
The store is open on Mon. to Fri,9-5. Sunday opening times depend on whether a ship is in Port.
The St. Kitts Chocolate Factory includesa retail store and manufacturing warehouse which has joined the picturesque commercial landscape of Port Zante in Basseterre.