We have just spent a great weekend in Melbourne! We couldn’t wait any longer to get down and check out some of the bean-to-bar chocolate scene, and we thought you might like to know what we found.
Firstly, we were in Melbourne for the Savour School Bean to Bar Chocolate course. This 3-day class was a hands-on introduction to making chocolate from bean to bar, and was a great way to be immersed in the bean to bar process. We’ll be doing a blog post about this course, and a similar chocolate course we did in Sydney recently, shortly – keep an eye out for that if you’re interested.
One of the highlights of our weekend was our visit to Mork Chocolate, which is a lovely small café that specialises in bean-to-bar chocolate drinks (bean to brew?!) They have a great menu, with some drinks highlighting the cacao flavours of different origins, while others are more like cocktails in that they are delicious concoctions with chocolate carrying other flavours and textures…
We couldn’t resist trying their famous ‘campfire’ hot chocolate. It arrives with a glass full of wood smoke, which you flip andthen pour a delicious hot chocolate into. A freshly roasted homemade marshmallow is on hand to stir the mix. This was really fun, spectacular, but not the highlight of our visit… Our favourite drink in terms of flavour was the chocolate tea milkshake. The relatively strong flavour of early grey tea matched beautiful with the chocolate flavour, and it wasn’t too creamy or sweet – a truly delicious and unusual chocolate experience that is highly recommended. The other drink we tried was the 22-hour cacao extraction, which was a tantalising cacao tea like-drink, both comforting and refreshing. To offset the mild astringency and bitterness the tea is served with coconut blossom sugar syrup, which we found out is made from ‘tapping’ the trunk of the coconut tree, much like the process for maple syrup. A big shout out to the team at Mork – not only did they serve us delicious bean-to-bar drinks, but the service was fantastic.
Friendly, knowledgeable and super-helpful, they were gearing up for a super-busy mother’s day. Mork is a must-visit for anyone interested in bean-to-bar chocolates!
Our next stop was to catch up with the team at Monsieur Truffe. Our subscribers tried their bars in March and they were really popular. So we popped in to restock, and chatted with them about their plans for taking their full chocolate range (they currently make bean-to-bar plus some couverture based bars) fully organic over the next few months. If you haven’t been to see their factory (through the walls of the café next door) then definitely check them out. Their bean-to-bar range is always evolving, so keep an eye out for new stock too.
On Friday night we popped in to the Makers Market at Collins Place and met up with the lovely Laetitia from Pain et Chocolat. She is passionate about great chocolate, and although not making bean-to-bar yet, she is hoping to do so in the future. Her mother’s day special was a dark chocolate with fig, fennel and almond – a delicious combination of sweet, spicy, bitter and fruity!
Our final visit was to the South Melbourne markets to meet Charles and Chee – the team behind the soon-to-be launched Atypic Chocolate. A pastry chef from France, Charles landed in Australia based on a recommendation from a friend. Another recommendation saw him buy a van and drive it from Sydney to Melbourne where he arrived in St Kilda – and he’s never left. While working at various cafes and teaching at Le Cordon Bleu, Charles has been drawn back into the foundations of chocolate. Together with business partner Chee, they are setting up the first Australian chocolate factory contained entirely within a permanent market. This is one truly passionate chocolate maker – on a recent trip to Vietnam he took his own small stone grinder as hand luggage so he could test cacao bean flavours on the spot!
Like the rest of Australia, Melbourne has a booming craft chocolate scene. Next time you’re in town (or if you live there), make sure you check out some or all of these fantastic bean-to-bar chocolate experiences. And if there is anywhere you think we should visit next time please let us know!