Instagram Heroes: 6 South African Businesses Here to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

If you’ve got a sweet tooth then you’ve come to the right place as we draw attention to six local businesses serving up decadent ice cream, cakes almost too good to eat, and perfect French pastries. And while their creations are obviously best experienced IRL, these savvy bakers and sweet treat makers take the concept of “eating with your eyes” very seriously indeed – as their wonderfully styled and storied Instagram accounts will soon prove.

Sweet LionHeart

The online bakery taking Instagram by storm? If you’re one of Sweet LionHeart’s nearly 100k followers then you already know. If not, best get on it! From jaw droppingly gorgeous custom cakes to perfect pastel donuts and cookies almost too pretty to eat, there’s no denying this dynamic business – which is the realisation of a dream between childhood friends Nikki Albertyn and Karmen de Rueck – makes the world a sweeter place. And if the pleasure of tasting and seeing their creations isn’t quite enough, they host workshops and run an online school to inspire and share new techniques with like-minded pastry chefs and budding bakers alike. Follow @sweet.lionheart on IG.

Tapi Tapi

Food has the power to delight, surprise, challenge, nourish, and teach – the very premise of Tapi Tapi, a handcrafted ice cream café (that also distributes via an online store) celebrating African cultures and cuisines. Meaning you’re in for far more than just a delicious treat when you try their unique and daring flavours, created with care by founder Tapiwa Guzha to share African folklore, rituals and cultural practices directly via your tastebuds. Recent combinations include sundried, salted kapenta fish – as the Lake Tanganyika sardine is known Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe – and toffee, or for the slightly less adventurous, mawuya (baobab) and naartjie. Follow @_tapi_tapi on IG.

Honest Chocolate

From their individual experiments with raw cacao and chocolate-making on a small scale, Anthony Gird and Michael de Klerk joined forces to found Honest Chocolate: a chocolate company using ethically sourced, organic Tanzanian cacao beans to create artisanal chocolate bars. “We believe in keeping things handcrafted, using old school methods, quality ingredients, and making a pure chocolate that has a deliciously distinct feel and taste,” they say. Their chocolates are stocked in major retail outlets nationwide and are available to shop online. If you’re in Cape Town however, your best bet is to visit their chocolate café for all manner of moreish treats. Follow @honestchocolate on IG.

Paul’s Homemade

As the company’s IG bio states, “There was a time when no super premium ice cream was produced in Joburg. Now, there’s Paul’s Homemade.” At first you could only get your fix from a few small cafés and shops in the city but it wasn’t long before the decadent flavours dreamt up by founder Paul Ballen took off, so of course Paul’s famous ice cream is now available nationwide in over 100 retail chains, but more notably through 14 ice cream parlours (and counting) around South Africa, serving scoops aplenty – including the rotating flavour of the month. Firm favourites include birthday cake and peppermint crisp tart. Follow @paulshomemadeicecream on IG. 

Tonka Bean Bakery

For the French pastry obsessed, try scrolling through Tonka Bean Bakery’s tantalizing Instagram feed without calling them up immediately to place an order. Their famous donuts are piped full of vanilla-bean crème pâtissière, but it doesn’t stop there… from Rocher croissants to tres leches cake, macarons and strawberry cheesecake, the delights are never-ending. The bakery’s chef and owner Shakil Khan proudly uses classic French methods, fusing passion, technology and precision into Tonka Bean’s daily process. With two retail outlets and regular pop ups around Johannesburg, Krispy Kreme doesn’t stand a chance. Follow @tonkabeanbakery on IG. 


The January winner of our Instagram Heroes award in the business category, Yococo’s mission is stated plainly: “to serve love through scoops”. Sine Ndlela launched Yococo in her apartment in 2016 with the desire to create an artisanal vegan ice cream with intention – which is why their flavours are loosely based on the seven chakras and colour therapy. The same care that goes into sourcing the best local ingredients permeates everything they do, right down to the fun and eco-friendly packaging. The best thing of all? Their moreish ice cream is available to shop online – from a beetroot chocolate combo to golden milk (flavoured with turmeric) and decadent salted caramel. Follow @the_yococo on IG.

Are you an Instagram Hero?

If you’re a creator or business owner in Sub-Saharan Africa using IG to grow your practice or build your brand, you qualify to enter our monthly Instagram Heroes awards series. The Creator category includes art, design and craft, as well as creatives and makers across all fields. The Business category is for local entrepreneurs, agencies, start-ups and well-established enterprises. Submit your work using the form below before Friday, 19 February.

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