“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
De start als zelfstandige
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
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. After the purchase of a vendor van, in the second half of 2012, it was also 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 regional 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.
De stap naar 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 turns out to be the Angel kisses. These were first purchased. In 2016 Zokola decided to produce them himself. This turned out to be a hit! The Angel kisses also found their way to wholesalers, creating a larger market for the company. In the meantime, 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 who proved to be multi-deployable: she is performant in both sections: packaging and 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.
De continue groei
The work continues to increase. In the spring of 2020, the team will be reinforced on a part-time basis by the young power & chocolatier Sven, who will join the company. Larger customers are attracted, new products developed
het nieuwe atelier
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.
This year we have big plans to invest in a larger machine park with new options, products & packaging. In this way we are steadily growing and the future looks bright. Keep following us!