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Chocolate in Sydney (or perhaps wider)

I'm really passionate about chocolate and have been trying to understand what the chocolate shops in Sydney are like. Having been helping my friend Paul (Paul A Young Fine Chocolate) in his shop recently I've been really spoilt. I was wondering if there is a chocolate scene (yes, I know that makes me sound like an idiot) in Sydney, but it's really thriving in London and I can't think of a better way to describe. Interest in beans, plantations and vintages is growing. Is this the case in Oz at all?

Feel free to tell me about Melbourne if that's the chocolate centre on Australia.

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  1. I can not call myself an expert in the chocolate scene in Sydney or elsewhere in Australia but we do have a number of excellent small boutique chocolate shops. Sydney has seen the arrival in the last few years of Haighs Chocolates originally from Adelaide(www.haighschocolates.com.au/index.html) . It is located on George Street in the beautifully restored Strand Arcade. There is a lovely fine chocolate and patisserie store on Fitzroy Street in St Kilda (Melbourne) called Cacoa run by a Frenchman (www.cacao.com.au). I'm not sure if they will be on a comparable scale to the UK but you will not have to give up your love and appreciation of chocolate while here.

    1. I have found in Sydney there are a few excellent places around doing speciality chocolates, eg Haighs as above, Colefax in Haberfield, Belle Fleur in Rozelle, Adora in Earlwood and a few more, however not sure if this constitutes having a specific chocolate culture. All of these boutique stores are small businesses, and many are not widely known about. However, Lindt 70% is getting more and more popular in the supermarkets, and as this article says, tastes are changing away from conventional milk chocolate and towards smaller, richer servings of quality chocolate.

      http://www.smh.com.au/news/Good-Livin...

      I know this article is a bit old, there have been more recent writings on the subject but I couldn't find them straight away.

      I know Simon Johnson, a popular, expensive food shop sells single origin chocolates, however few places advertise where their beans are from, as public knowledge isn't strong enough for that to matter. Yet.

      As it is now commonplace for speciality stores to label the origin of gourmet coffee, I am sure education on different chocolates is in the near future.

      1 Reply
      1. I've recently moved to Sydney from Adelaide. Adelaide's is the home of Haigh's and I must say Lindt is thus far the only comparable chocolate I have found. I trying to find where all the good shops are in Sydney. I haven't found there to much of a chocolate 'culture' but would love there to be. I found Belle Fleur in Balmain but to be honest didn't think it was amazing. Good but not great. They couldn't even tell me the percentage of cocoa on their product. If anybody can tell me the places to go in Sydney it would be much appreciated.

        1 Reply
        1. re: mjb100

          Well, as my username suggests, I am a bit of a chocolate fan! I have recently moved from London to Sydney and haven't found comparable chocolates as yet. Just this weekend I tried Haigh's - the chocolate on it's own wasn't awful but I did throw away half of the box that I was given. I don't want to be too harsh but they are very out dated - mostly creams, nougats and caramels. Some were so hard I couldn't actually bite them! Got to say, I have never thrown away chocolate...

          The Lindt cafes do a range of chocolates separate from their standard bars which look good but haven't yet indulged. I have however, tried their hot chocolate and that is absolutely sublime. I have seen 2 branches - one on Darling harbour 1 on Martin's Place (only mon - fri)

          1. re: purple goddess

            i am not a chocolate afficionado - i find the weather in Sydney too hot most of the time to really enjoy it, although the occasional indulgence here and there never goes astray. having said that, i have a little input, although I don't think Sydney would be a destination on a map of chocolates of the world!

            any sydney chocolate list always has just william on it http://www.justwilliam.com.au/ but i have to admit i have never tried. as one other reader mentioned there are the lindt signature cafes that are cropping up in the CBD.

            http://www.definitelychocolate.com.au/ seem to be "on the e-waves" a bit at the moment, but that doesn't necessarily mean a lot.

            there is currently the first lenotre qualified chef in australia working at the sofitel.

            my belief is, that you will find the occasional good chocolate at the end of a restaurant menu in the top restaurants - I know Quay has been credited with this in the past.

            oh, and one other idea is to visit the essential ingredient, not a choclatier, but they are bound to have something special in stock (i get my cocoa for hot chocolate there, and that satisfies my cravings

            )

            Finally, not a chocolate shop, but arguably the finest patissiere in the metropolis is Victoire on darling street balmain. their croissants are unbeatable, and i do believe i have seen some house made truffles and the like there.

            hope this helps...

            1. re: kmh

              I might be showing my age here but does a restaurant called "Death by Chocolate" still exist?

              1. re: cankles

                The one in Toorak Road is looooooooooooooog gone......

                1. re: purple goddess

                  I haven't seen one in years, and they aren't listed in white pages. but i don't think that many chocolate connoisseurs were heading there even in the dark old 90's! it might be like sizzler and have survived in random suburbs...

                  oh, and one last tip, don't get sucked into Darell Lea - the chocolate is so so and after a feature on australian story recently, i find it hard to believe they are still in business!

          2. Some friends recently went on a Chocolate & Coffee tour in Sydney and they were impressed with the chocs they got to sample.

            http://www.chocolateespresso.com.au/C...

            1. Adora Handmade Chocolates in the Accor Wentworth Hotel and at Earlwood are easily the best chocolates in Sydney. They have really vibrant flavours and the chocolate is top notch. I like them better Belle Fleur, Lindt or Colefax. And all of those are way ahead of Haighs, which might be a legend in Adelaide but are really a factory made mass market product. I don't understand the buzz about Haigh's. If you try them, they are second rate. Adora, though, takes the cake, so to speak, because of their intense but perfectly balanced flavour. I asked them why this is so and they told me that they they don't use any icing sugar to aerate the chocolate and dilute the flavour. The fillings are based on heavy cream, cultured butter and stuff like that. And they are innovative. It's not all pralines and variations on that theme. Wattleseed, lime, passionfruit, raspberry, aniseed, honey, dried mango - they don't all sound like natural chocolate partners, but in the hands of Adora they are just beautiful. I also like Lindt, Colefax and Belle Fleur, but they are the only competitors to Adora. There are some other handmade chocolates out there, but they don't compare in flavour.

              2 Replies
              1. re: chocdemon

                that sounds fantastic. it's on my list now!

                1. re: chocdemon

                  to all u haigh's slaggers out there, I've recently been on a trip to Paris where I bought chocolates from 16 of the best different makers there, and to be honest I didn't find one of them overly better than haighs! For what it costs a kilo (about $100 less per kilogram than french chocolates!) haigh's is bloody good quality. sure it's range is traditional but they do really good milk chocolate and deserve some aussie support!

                2. Hmm slightly off topic (location), but if your ever in Melbourne head to one of the arcades off the Bourke St Mall (the arcade with Gog and Magog) and visit Koko's. I think theres one in Carlton (Lygon St?) too - but I like the orginal better :)

                  Walk up the charming little stairs take a seat and order away.

                  This place really puts Max Bremmer to shame...

                  Cheers

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Blacken

                    I have got to agree with Blacken - Koko Black (http://www.kokoblack.com/) is excellent. I am a regular at Brenners in Rose Bay - I like the waffles and a Venezuela Dark, but it's not a chocolate experience for me: the chocolates themselves are okay, but nothing special. Koko Black (sadly only in VIC and ACT) reminds me of the Chocolate Society and Maison du Chocolate which I loved in London. They do great simple dark chocolate truffles with a great kick and also a chili version with a slow burn...

                  2. Le Pleisse Praline which is now closed in Turramurra.... BUT the owner does grace Otello in West Pymble every week and is a part owner of Otello...

                    German chocolate with heavy german cakes.... mmmmmm

                    1. Max Brenner is all things chocolate... gotta go there.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: FLgirlgoneSydney

                        Read in SMH Good Living that Oh Calcutta (251 Victoria St Darlinghurst) is closing & a new choc shop opening there, sounds interesting as the owner is Asian but trained as a chocolatier in Belgium IIRC

                        1. re: jellyface

                          and if anyone wants to know, the old oh calcutta! chef is now at delhi oh delhi on erskineville rd just off king st

                          1. re: kmh

                            Shame to see it go, Oh Calcutta was one of my regular haunts when I first moved to Paddington years ago.

                            Another one, around the corner from Basil and the crew was Ristorante Riva - does anyone know if Beverley and Eugenio moved to another restaurant?

                            1. re: PhilD

                              how long ago are you talking about re ristorante riva and was that at all associated with the bar/club?
                              I was underage in the heady days of the club, but when John and (wife whose name escapes me) left there, they went to lane cove oddly enough and opened clausar in a site that always struggled and it was FANTASTIC. to begin with pastas started at $5.5 a serve. slowly they gained credibility, prices went up, they shifted across the plaza to a swankier fit out and it was still all great until...
                              they sold it to some fools who ruined it within minutes; these same fools then went on to by LUNCH at castlecrag and destroyed that too. Lord knows how hard it is to get a decent feed if stuck on the north snore!!!
                              I digress...

                              1. re: kmh

                                IMHO I have found chocolate Nirvana. There is a stall at the Arts Centre in Christchurch NZ called "Temper Temper" (http://www.tempertemper.co.nz). It is run by a Chocolatier from Canada and the quality is ouststanding. Intense dark chocolate with ganaches ranging from subtle to extreme all with long finishes. I particularly liked the sharp raspberry (made from local berries) and an unusual absinthe. Also mouth-filling salt caramels and brownies with a serious dark chocolate kick. If you are on the South Island look it up. We live in Sydney but I am trying to work out how to get my cousin to collect and send chocolates over to us...

                      2. Yesterday I discovered San Churro in the Chatswood Westfield Mall - top floor, next to the Myers entrance in the mall - I had a dark chocolate milkshake which was awesome, but the selection of chocolates and chocolate sauces is incredible- - the churros looked very good also - they also sell a huge selection of bars ranging from 30-70% and with some flavoured ones.

                        It's a bit of a hike maybe,, but worth it for the chocolate

                        1. Mitra's Chocolates in Mosman is awesome. The chocolate is amazing and i've tried my fair share of chocolate. It is located at shop 6/573 Military road and is such a cute little place. The atmosphere is very inviting with really friendly service. It's not like the big commercial chocolate stores and makes you feel good to be supporting a small business. Also the hot chocolate and ices chocolate are to die for :) definitely
                          try it out.

                          1. I've been really delighted with a interesting chocolate 'scene' in Sydney emerging. Besides some classic and established digs such as: Belle fleur in Rozelle and Just William in Paddo
                            (both refined with cotton glove clad ladies in lovely shopping districts).. We also have fresh faced, excellent chocolate shops like, Boon Chocolate in Surry Hills (modern and beautiful) Coco Chocolate in Kirribilli (tattoo choc box and bars with pine nuts, caramel and sea salt are best sellers) and Adrian Zumbo in Balmain (pastry chef extroadinare who makes brilliant and hilarious chocs. These last 3 all are cafes as well.