"Behaving like little children in a chocolate factory"—Members of the Telfed Editorial Board had a much more johnalford2intimate understanding of this expression after a tour of JOHNCOLAD, a small chocolate factory on the South African-founded Moshav Manof in the north. Messy coloured lips evidenced a clear lack of will  to refrain from tasting and dippinginto all the samples. Who could blame them?

For John Alford, running his own chocolate factory has quite literally been a childhood dream come true. Ever since he was nine years old, living in Auckland New Zealand, John knew he wanted to be in the food business. “I loved being in kitchens and watching people cook. Then one day, I took a recipe from a lady next door and went home and prepared a Date Loaf. After placing it in the oven, I told my mother to watch it as I went out to play.” That must be a first from a kid of nine! “Anyway, a little while later,” continues John “she popped her head out the window and bellowed “It’s come out beautifully, son.” - From that moment on, the young lad was on the path of fulfilling his dream, which came to fruition four years ago when he opened his own chocolate factory on Manof’s Industrial Park.

With a wealth of experience tucked under his belt from working in top hotels in New Zealand, Europe and Israel, as well as running the Taste of Israel sweet & chocolate operation on Manof for many years during the 1990’s, John was ready.  "All chefs dream of one day running their own business"  says John, "and I am no exception".

John works only with cocoa butter, no other compound fat. He produces some fifteen products notably a variety of truffles such as brandy nougat coated in pure bitter chocolate, dusted with cocoa. Delicious. Then there is rum nougat coated with white chocolate as well as caramel nougat also coated with white chocolate. “Say no more,” as the Monty Python crowd would say. The way our group were pigging out, someone quipped concern for the drivers, considering the alcoholic content in a few of the chocolates!

Having his factory centrally perched on top of the mountain at Manof, (a housing project initiated by Telfed), has proved most advantageous for the chocolate maker. The magnificent view from the top attracts tourists by the busload, who invariably stop for a tour of JOHNCOLAD, with John as a guide describing in delightful detail the process of manufacture. Schools in the region frequently visit the factory and John in his chef’s outfit, does a “Willy Wonka” type tour entertaining the kids. “What people, and particularly the kids, find so fascinating, is that this factory is run entirely by one person. Me!” Today’s machinery is so automated, that John is able to juggle all the aspects of the business himself. John’s market is mostly focused in the north of the country although he supplies caterers throughout the country, as well as a few wholesalers in the Dan region. More’s the pity for the chocoholics down south! For anyone visiting the north, JOHNCOLAD is well worth a visit and you can purchase his products at the factory shop.