Darling Sweet came into existence when Frits van Ryneveld and Hentie van der Merwe met in September 2013 and decided to start a toffee factory in Darling; Hentie, with his passion for art and food, and Frits with his love for quality and design. Frits, who had been living in Darling for some years, was the first to come up with the idea. For him it was obvious that Darling ought to produce the most delectable old fashioned handcrafted toffees seeing as one of its main ingredients, butter, is historically linked to the small town with its picturesque surroundings. The idea didn’t take long to inspire Hentie – artist, lecturer and trained chef – to start journeying into the centuries old art of toffee making, tracking down long-forgotten toffee recipes and experimenting in their kitchen late into the night, while teaching art students about art and photography during the day.
From the start their idea was to produce a range of high-quality toffees that are handcrafted using traditional methods and with no artificial colorants, flavorings or preservatives added, thus ‘clean label’ products. Furthermore, to produce a range of toffee flavors that are unique to Darling and its surrounds, using as many locally sourced ingredients as possible.
In July 2014 Frits resigned from his full-time job as a medical representative and they converted Frits’ 24m2 antique shop into a production kitchen and employed their first two members of staff. Here they started producing their first three toffee flavors; Tannie Evita’s Classic, Honey & Salt, and Sour Fig, which they sold at local craft- and food markets as well as at a few local outlets. Since then Darling Sweet has grown at a remarkable pace during which time Hentie also resigned from his lecturing position at Stellenbosch University to join the company full-time as product developer.