“C’est du Zokola”!
The name 'Zokola' is pronounced with an emphasis on the last syllable and refers to a childish pronunciation of the French word 'chocolat"'
This has not least to do with the location of our company: 5 km from the French border. The name also appeals to our passion for this delicious product.
Sylvie Allaeys & Bart Devos
The start as an entrepreneur
In 2006 & 2007 Sylvie Allaeys followed the "Chocolatier" training in Syntra West. Soon she received the first orders from friends and family, which pushed her more and more towards “an independent company”. In October 2007 she became a chocolatier as a secondary profession
First production site
In October 2008, after a year of chocolate production in another location with the necessary worries, it was decided to renovate to create our own "modest" workshop.
In 2011, Sylvie decides to go full-time for her chocolate business. Initially, sales are mainly through weekly markets. The vendor van, purchased in the second half of 2012, could also be used as a shop. In September 2011, the idea raises to go all out for regional products with the launch of ' Belgian hopcones' on the occasion of the 3-yearly Hop Festival in Poperinge. This praline will be the first recognized 100% West Flemish regional product from Zokola.
With the start of the WWI commemorative events, the idea of making the Chocolate Poppy also grows. With the permission of The Royal British Legion Zokola designs a replica of the paper version. This tasty and beautiful praline sees the light in early November 2012.
The step to retail
At the beginning of 2013, her husband Bart Devos joined the business. '100% West- Flemish' gave the opportunity to supply Carrefour for the regional products department. This made them take the step towards supplying more and more to the retail sector. Also in this year, the Warandehof & Zokola find each other in the creation of a rhubarb praline. The third recognized regional product!
Gradually, the Zokola products were sold more and more in retail. One of the top products appears to be the Angel kisses. These were first purchased. In 2016 Zokola decided to produce them itself. This turned out to be a hit! The Angel kisses also found their way to resellers and created so a larger sales market for the company. Meanwhile, more than 30 varieties are already on the market. The work volume is increasing and it is therefore decided to hire a part-time worker Anja. She turned out to be multi-deployable: she is performant aswell in packing as in production!
The realization is gradually growing that niche markets must be sought. In retail and wholesale, the need for sugar-free chocolate is remarkably increasing. The assortment is expanding very quickly.
The continuous growth
The work continues to increase. In the spring of 2020, the team will be reinforced on a part-time basis by the young chocolatier Sven, who will join the company. Larger customers are attracted, new products developed
The new production site
2021 is a decisive year for Zokola. In the summer, the workplace & packing area are tripled in size. Sven is recruited full-time in September 2021. In November of that year, Laïcha joins to support packaging and production.
2022 will be another decisive year! A new line of enrobed chocoaltes is being designed for an even more beautiful-looking product. In 2022, Zokola will also take its first steps towards export. The chocolate kisses are gradually finding their way abroad. To handle the larger influx of chocolate kisses, a brand new production line is ordered. Exciting!
new production line
June 2023: the new production line has arrived! A completely new chocolate machine for 80 kg, cover belt and conveyor belt with cooling tunnel to produce many more chocolate kisses! Entrepreneurship means constant investment in the future!