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Spotlight: Basilei Handcrafted Confectionery

During the annual "Our favourite things" market at Gabrielskloof last December, we were fortunate to try some of the MOST DELICIOUS fudge and nougat from Basilie. WHAT A TREAT! My husband and I tasted all the fudge (some flavours maybe more than once 😉 ) and bought a few beautifully wrapped pieces for our family members. I fell in love...you could taste the effort and thoughtfulness with which Basilie's confectionery treats are made of. Right after our Christmas vacation I mailed co-owner Istvan with a few questions for a special feature on A Burst of Life. We have to share these wonderful food delights with the rest of the world.

Tell us more about where it all started? From where your love for sweet delicacies and where did you get the inspiration to start your business?

Basilei’s origins date back to the start of the new millennium. It was then that my old man decided to mature his craft as an artisan. He developed countless exciting recipes and products. Naturally, my brother and I found ourselves in the kitchen, helping where we could and eventually learning the skill ourselves. The inspiration to start our business however, can be attributed to various factors. I spent 5 years living in Australia and there I was exposed to a creative culture that opened my eyes to the possibilities of building an inspiring brand with quality products and service. Furthermore, we believe that entrepreneurship is one of the keys to economic and social transformation in South Africa, and therefore one of the dynamos in our business is the possibility to present many South Africans with jobs that adds value and dignity to their lives. Lastly, we are privileged to come from a family heritage that encourages risk-taking and big thinking. Such an upbringing has played a vital role in our lives and the birth of Basilei. Needless to say, my brother and I cannot take sole credit for where we are today. When one looks at the countless opportunities presented to us at the expense of other people’s hard work and investment, your only response can be humble gratitude.

 Where does the name Basilei come from?

Basilei originates from an ancient Greco-Roman word that means royalty, majesty or kingdom. When we brainstormed what type of corporate identity we wanted to build, these words strongly resonated with us and verbalised the type of product and service that we want to produce.

I love your brand and the look and feel of it. What message do you want to portray to your customers with your brand?

Excellence is one of our core values, and therefore we hope that as every customer interacts with us, they experience the luxury and quality that we desire to present. Whether it is at first glance of our packaging, viewing our social media, interacting with one of our sales assistants or tasting our product for the first or tenth time, we hope that they leave inspired by the standard of the brand.

Do you make all your products yourself? As all your products are made by hand - this could be quite a timely but special process?

All of our products are made by hand in our own kitchen. It definitely makes for a time consuming process, but in return it permeates every product with integrity. Integrity to our brand and to the customer. It means that we care about every step of the process, marrying heritage and innovation; creativity and tradition. There seems to be an awakening in the global market place, in that customers appreciate (and are willing to pay for) goods that were carefully considered and manufactured. We strive to contribute and advance such a culture by residing with the timely process of manufacturing by hand.

Tell us more about the range of products you offer? And what kind is your personal favourite?!

Our product range continues to expand as the business does. My dad is an absolute genius at product development. Our existing product range includes a variety of luxury fudges, different flavours of Italian Inspired Nougat, Frappe and Cream Cheese Dark Chocolate Brownies. My personal favourite being the latter.

Any predictions for future trends in the confectionery industry in South Africa? And where does Basilei fit into the picture?

I am no futurist, but I think it is rather obvious that the pioneering nature of technology and food science ensures ever expanding horizons when it comes to dessert creation. Simply stated, we will continue to see products that we never even considered to be creatable or edible. I also think that the fusion of design and confection is a booming trend and that the public eye is becoming more and more aware and appreciative of the aesthetic value of food. This means that individuals and cultural groups alike will be as concerned with how their food looks as they are with how it tastes. This presents incredible scope for photographers, designers, florists, visual artists, and architects etc. to create career possibilities in the culinary industry.

I would love to think that Basilei can be one of the players in this game. It’s exciting to think of the potential partnerships and collaborations that provides the market with products that delight the senses. But furthermore, I would love for Basilei to be the type of company that doesn’t just idolize the customer’s satisfaction, but also contributes to the lives of those who are oppressed and forgotten. Imagine a world where every meal eaten provides somebody else with the basic essentials they could potentially never afford. I hope this is what the future holds for the culinary industry in South Africa.

Where can Burst readers get a hold of your amazing products?

We currently ship right across South Africa. Shoot us an email at info@basilei.com and we will get in touch with you. Whether it be for a wedding, corporate gifting or your personal indulgence, we would love to get our products to you. We also do selected markets around the greater Cape Town area. For info on that you can simply follow our Instagram page @basilei_ . Lastly, we are currently stocking at The Farmer’s Daughter in Stellenbosch as well as Pyjamas and Jam in Somerset West.

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