Sally Williams is a real person, by the way – a South African chef who found inspiration on a trip to Morocco. On the day, our guide was Rebecca Mangwane, the equivalent of Willy Wonka in the famous book by Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. She started working with Sally Williams close to 24 years ago, whisking up the secret recipe in what was then Sally Williams's home garage. Today, she is a quality control specialist, and Sally Williams' brand is shipped across the globe to around 20 countries.
Rebecca is passionate about nougat, and the business, and through her enthusiasm and care it is clear that this sweet business has a lot of heart.
The factory has the highest hygiene standards, so we began by donning lab coats and hair nets and scrubbed up like surgeons. Imagine a room filled with the aroma of honey and vanilla, and this is the space in which one of our favourite and most iconic nougats is made.
Sally Williams nougat is encased in rice paper, and yes, you are meant to eat it that way. Apparently this is the most frequently asked question! Next we headed into the cutting and packing area, and received an incredible treat of freshly packed nougat –– so good.
At the factory we also had the opportunity to experience the chocolate rooms where bits of roasted nougat are encased in delicious chocolate to make bars and Easter eggs. Lastly, we peeked into the Turkish delight room, to see the making of these rose water sweets.
At the end of the tour, we were given a sample of some of the treats we experienced being made. The familiar almond and macadamia nougat lived up to its excellent reputation, and the new-to-us peanut butter nougat, the Belgian dark chocolate with nougat bits, and the Turkish delight, had us reaching for more.
To be honest, this reviewer was wowed by the visit and the opportunity to go behind the scenes and see how these treats are made. It's easy to forget the people and processes when you are buying something off the shelf, all neatly packaged. It's a lovely thought that the next time we grab a box of Sally Williams at the store, we'll think of it as a tribute to the work of all those who spend their days mixing these ingredients into something delightful, locally made, and highly gift-worthy.
* Sally Williams Nougat is available at all good supermarkets. See more details here.