Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Chocolate in Canberra

With the kitchen renovation dragging slowly on, here's another post that's not about cooking or food shopping. On that front, we do hope to have tiles by Saturday. At that point we can move most of our stuff back to the work area. Though I still want to keep things fairly clear for painting, so refilling the cookbook shelf still isn't on for a week or so. And the pantry shelves need extra reinforcement, so I'm not filling that yet either. Well. Anyway. Chocolate.

I finished my Easter box of Haigh's choccies about a month ago, and am considering buying some more on a Sydney trip. I especially love their strong fragrant cream fillings - rose, violet, lemon myrtle. And the shiraz truffles. B1 wants to go for a short trip, and I'll go along if the dates suit. I'm wondering if we can get to the Lindt cafe as well as Haigh's. Meanwhile, obviously I must restock in Canberra.

Now that's not such a terrible thing. We have four three local chocolatiers, as well as all the major brands in specialty sweet shops and supermarkets, and the fair trade varieties at Oxfam and other locations. This is even spreading to supermarkets, especially since Green & Black were bought out by Cadbury-Schweppes. And none of our chocolatiers are outrageous marketing ripoff artists like the infamous Noka. You can expect to pay in the general vicinity of $100 per kilo for locally made chocolates - not cheap, to be sure, but there is a fair amount of work in it. If you do feel like making your own, you can get quality couverture from Essential Ingredient, and probably elsewhere.

Koko Black only just counts as local. This is a small chain, with several branches in Melbourne. Canberra is their first interstate location. But they do make their chocolates on site - you can look in the kitchen window and see it happening. They make good filled chocolates, but I find their bars too waxy in texture for my taste. I prefer a bit more melt-in-the-mouth texture to my choccie.

Bruno's Truffels is the oldest. First opened in Narrabundah in the 1980s, the shop is now run as a cafe in Mawson. Bruno is Swiss, and he makes the chocolates as well as doing the baking of a number of Swiss and German specialty breads, biscuits and pastry. Or possible supervising this - I do hope he's trained up a few good apprentices! His chocolates are excellently smooth in texture, though the base dark is a little bit too sweet for my ideal.

All Things Chocolate in Kingston is my current favourite. The selection varies with chocolatier Lindy Butcher's whim, but she does have a list of regulars. Fig & muscat pyramids are on that list, but two other favourites of mine aren't - the star anise licorice and the orange, pistachio & cardamom cream. The base chocolate is Belgian, and although it's not fair trade, she does support the RSPCA with a portion of sales.

UPDATE: Bad News.
All Things Chocolate closed down last week. The lady in the bookshop across the way tells me Lindy Butcher has gone back to teaching for the moment. We can only hope that she goes back to doing market sales soon. I am very disappointed. No more orange, pistachio & cardamom creams for me.

Lindsay and Edmunds do not have a shopfront at Fairbairn, where they make their chocolates. You can buy these ones at Kingston markets, EPIC markets and a few other spots.

Their base chocolate is Belgian Belcolade, and for everything else they try to buy Australian and organic. The chocolate is an excellent bittersweet, strong and dark, and my only quibble is that all of their fillings are solid. Ginger, orange, dates and other dried fruit and nuts - it's all good, but there are no creams. I've had a prowl on the Belcolade website and I think it's the organic 72.5% variety. Probably not the fairtrade or rainforest alliance, which I'd like to see.


BJ said...

Vale Lindy! Now I fear for the bookshop over the way. Is Kingston going to turn into a mall? Nooooooes!

Meantime let's petition Haighs to open in Canberra. You get yours via Melbourne and Sydney; I have to go all the way to Adelaide for mine. It's just NOT RIGHT.

Maybe (says she with tongue shivering in one cheek) the very cold place we lunched at recently is secretly about to morph into a huge high-quality chocolatier?? That would explain the entirely inadequate heating if nothing else...

Anonymous said...

All About Chocolate was a huge letdown anyway!! I did however like the gift shop nearby!