The Return of Rémi...

Where was Rémi?

In the French Alps! And creating fantastic desserts as the head of patisserie for St Georges Restaurant in the Hawkes Bay.

Rémi Le Levier joined us at the tender age of twenty and went on to develop three of our most popular chocolates during his time here: the Peanut Butter, the Blackcurrant & Liquorice and the Strawberry & Balsamic.

In his three years away he travelled home to his native Paris, settled in the French Alps close to Geneva, and initially worked in 5 star hotels honing his skills as a chef de partie. It was there that he met pastry chef Olivier Martineau who employed him to open his first chocolaterie.

An entire product range was designed from chocolates and cakes to patisserie and ice-creams, but our shores beckoned. Keen to return New Zealand, Rémi took up the position of head of pastry at St Georges Restaurant in the Hawkes Bay. Here he created a 5 dessert menu using seasonal and fresh products that changed every 4 weeks.

 We are ecstatic to have Remi back with us and look forward to more intriguing flavours and exquisite creations.

 Well leave you with Remis own words

 Working for Bennetts has been my best experience by far, they gave me an incredible opportunity when I was only 20 to come and work for them, managing a team of 13 girls at the time and creating all the new products. It is probably my experience at Bennetts as a chocolatier that has made me the professional I am today. So that is why, coming back to Mangawhai and working for Bennetts is very exciting for me as well as the incredible lifestyle!

(We didn’t make that up, he honestly said that!)


Simplicity of Style at Bennetts: Natalie + Scott

Bennetts were delighted to help Natalie and Scott celebrate their special day.

We love that they appreciated the French/Tuscan style that is Bennetts. We do feel that it's an idyllic location for an intimate reception.

Natalie commented that "The building gives such natural beauty that you don't need to add much."

Bennetts were very happy to work with Natalie to personalise the table settings. Natalie choose to use antique spoons with a personalised note for each guest.

"The layout of the wedding had a beautiful, natural feel. I loved the rosemary on the napkins."

Natalie and Scott chose Mary-Anne Boyd to create the flowers. Mary-Anne's gorgeous classic white and green flowers added to the romantic ambience.


Natalie and her bridesmaids looked stunning in Harriet Falvey, With Love.

The Bennetts dinner menu, chosen in conjunction with Natalie and Scott, showcased delicious seasonal and local produce.

Natalie's friend, Clara, created this delicious and gorgeous wedding cake.

And of course the day wouldn't be complete without award-winning Bennetts chocolates!

Congratulations to you both and thanks so much for spending the day with us. A big thank you goes to Cameron of Little Village Photo Co. for sharing these beautiful images.



Photography: Little Village Photo Co.


Flowers: Mary-Anne Boyd of Flowers and Flair


Wedding gown and bridesmaids dresses: Harriett Falvey, With Love


Hair & Makeup: Rubie Dickson & team


Groom and Groomsmen Attire: Dorset Suit Hire - Boston Grey

Live Music: Jez ad Wez


Wedding Cake: Clara McNeil

Chocolates: Bennetts of Mangawhai






Blackberry Mousse

Mangawhai is rich with delicious fresh fruit which we're spoilt with every summer. This is why we know you will be as excited as we are to welcome a new blackberry chocolate to our wonderful fruity range.

The best part about this juicy new treat (apart from the taste!) has been our ability to see it all the way through the creative process, including picking the blackberries ourselves. We set off down a gravel road with handwritten directions to the most secret of local haunts and after battling with the thorny vines we rose victorious. Rejecting any berries that looked too ripe, or not ripe enough and inspecting each and every one; we returned to the factory with the best possible berries!

With the fresh berries ready, next was the experimenting time! Ali and Caroline set to work coming up with a variety of blackberry based creations for us to taste and choose from. It was hard to pick a favourite as we were hit by a variety of tastes such as the fresh summer flavour of blackberry and pear and an indulgent double layer blackberry crème. But in the end it was the delicate blackberry mousse that won our hearts. Beneath a creamy milk chocolate shell the mousse is as light as air and bright with flavour.

This exciting addition will only be available in our Mangawhai store so venture in to see us and experience a handcrafted blackberry mousse for yourself!


It takes a lot of hard work, skill, and artistry to produce fine chocolates. Each season our team creates unique and inspired ranges.

This Valentine's Day is brought to you by:



He has showcased his artistic side as he worked on the message bar prototypes. With just a flick of the brush, he can turn a plain chocolate bar into a true piece of art.


She has put a new twist on an old classic by selecting the best flavours for Valentine's Day. And with this delightful box of 12 hearts, we're really feeling the love.



Her many years of experience in chocolate making have shown through in moulding these delicate heart shells. Three of our best-loved chocolates fit snugly inside. Raspberry Drop, Strawberry, and Mangawhai Sea Salt Caramel are a trio of deliciousness for the hopeless romantics.




She divides her time between the development kitchen and our flagship store and has put together Biddy's After Dark Selection. We're pretty certain that she had her chocolate-loving husband in mind when choosing the Valentine's treats for this tin.


She felt that Passionfruit and 70% dark chocolate would be just perfect for Valentine's Day. And we trust her impeccable taste. We hope you do too.




She is the epitome of Bennetts gorgeousness. With her flair for styling and eye for detail, she creates dazzling displays. And the latest is no exception.



The Bennetts team will have you head over heels this Valentine's Day.

Terning the Tide

This past weekend I was lucky enough to take some time out of the Christmas chocolate madness to spend an afternoon with local birders, Sioux and Heather. We headed out to the Mangawhai Sandspit with the salty wind in our faces and the first view I got of the birds was as our boat reached the other side of the estuary.  There they were, maybe five, all fluttering above us in a very dainty kind of way. And just at that moment I experienced a bit of Fairy Tern fabulousness. We then tiptoed across the widest expanse of slippery fish eggs I have ever seen and made our way to the viewing hut on top of the sand dune.


Sioux fixed the telescope on one of the two nests. Peering out were two fluffy bundles being fed perfectly bite sized meals of tiny fish by the Fairy Tern parents. It was hard to stick to the "no disturbance" policy that is kept by the protectors of the Fairy Tern as there is an overwhelming urge to get closer to the incredible little birds.

It’s difficult to fully appreciate the amount of time and genuine care that these volunteers put into the guardianship of the Fairy Tern but from my few hours spent out on the dune it is easy to understand their passion. It’s 16 years since Clayton and I decided to make the Fairy Tern a resounding symbol in our business. At that stage we hadn’t expected the community support the bird would come to receive. This support culminated in the huge amount of love and fierce protection found in Mangawhai being recognised nationwide as the Fairy Tern won the Seabird of the Year 2014.

Next time you're in Bennetts pop any spare change you have in our Fairy Tern wishing fountain or have a look at our Fairy Tern chocolate box - all profits go to the Fairy Tern Trust!


It is a privilege to have the opportunity to help in the effort to protect this magical bird!