Hans Fouche guides the gangly arm of the 3D printer from behind his computer, caressing it through sweeping circles. The base of a bowl takes shape, before Fouche reduces the circumference of the tool’s movement to form a long, tapered neck with a splayed opening. An ornamental vase. He turns his creation over with workman’s hands. Not perfect. No matter. Fouche takes a bite out of the vase and starts over.
Chocolate melts in his mouth while he scrutinises every minute detail to find his fault. It’s only a matter of time – Fouche’s eyes were trained to detect gremlins in supercar engines during his time abroad as a Formula 1 engineer. Having returned to South Africa just over a decade ago, Fouche decided to use his technical skills to bring alive the creativity in his heart. He began exploring 3D printing and, opting for chocolate as his medium, was able to turn the images in his mind into decadent art.
Thanks to their unique designs, Fouche Chocolates broke into the already-saturated confectionery industry and have sold strong ever since. For the man behind them, who still works from the garage he started in, the process has been about making a career out of his passion. Having left the spilt oil and bitter office coffee behind, Fouche now has the pleasure of cleaning up far tastier workplace accidents. Life is pretty sweet for South Africa’s garage-based Willy Wonka.