Chocolate, the food of love

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”

Charles M. Schulz

Chocolate is the stuff of fantasy, the oldest and most popular treat in the world. Dating back to the ancient Mayans who revered cacao as ‘The water that runs through the heart’, chocolate has universal currency, crossing age, cultural and language barriers.

From Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to Harry Potter, chocolate fills our dreams from youth, an almost magical food, an object of desire. It’s seen to have redemptive power in Chocolat, and it’s an agent of bonding in The Chocolate Lovers’ Club.

More than any other food, it’s the language of romance. As a symbol of love and commitment, chocolate is the most intimate of gifts, yet also the gift that you can give a stranger to suit any occasion.

Seen as a “Food of the Gods”, chocolate is a great mood elevator packed full of feel-good endorphins. Little wonder that it’s variously seen as a symbol of love, happiness, relaxation, optimism, and good times.

Our own chocolatiers are raising the bar on chocolate making, with some of their products receiving worldwide recognition. Not just for Valentine’s Day, local chocolate is a sweet indulgence we can all afford.

Gold Coast

Belgian Delights, Molendinar Ph: 07 5574 6599

Belgian Delights is testament to a family that has sustained their passion for chocolate through three generations. Following in his father’s footsteps, Robert Verstreken used his expertise to open a bakery, patisserie and chocolaterie with his wife Monique in Hoevenen, near Antwerp, in 1971; a business he reopened in Australia after their migration here in 1987.

In 1996, the family started making their own premium Belgian-style couverture chocolate from scratch, ranging from personalised, individually wrapped couverture chocolates through to boxes of decadent assorted truffles. Now run by their sons, Dominique and Christophe, Belgian Delights has upgraded their equipment for faster production and greater sustainability to supply a national and international market. You can find Belgian Delights chocolates at Rosalie Gourmet Market, Ingredients Deli Kenmore, Manolas Bros Deli on Isle of Capri, and Ambarella Fine Foods.

Little Cocoa, Southport Ph: 0451 977 172

Pastry chef Alicia Chapman’s dream of being a chocolatier began when she first encountered ‘bean to bar’ chocolate in a tiny shop in Berlin.  In 2018 she rented premises, installing a commercial kitchen and gaining a food license.

Little Cocoa sells chocolates at the same price as specialist chocolatier shops, yet they can be tailor made and colour-themed, even with bespoke branding for bombonière boxes at weddings stamped with the couple’s names and wedding date, logo-branded boxed gifts for corporate businesses and themed special occasions, such as anniversaries and Christmas. Alicia’s fledgling business specializes in making beautiful, fresh, handmade artisanal chocolates; however, she has a goal of one day making ‘bean to bar’ chocolate, controlling every stage of production, from sourcing the beans in South America to the creation of the bar.

Lucia Chocolates, Arundel Ph: 07 5500 5758

Named after their co-owner, Lucia Chocolates began in 1994 as a market stall selling chocolate lollypops the shape of nursery rhyme characters before moving to a factory for production. A family business run by Phillip, Lucia and their children, Lucia Chocolates now produces about 100 different delicious chocolate products mostly aimed at health-conscious consumers.

Using top quality raw ingredients and minimal to no sugar, Lucia Chocolates products are manufactured using a fine-tuned system of panning and enrobing. Their most famous chocolates are their carob, yoghurt and dark chocolate, gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan chocolates made to their own recipe without compromising the taste. Primarily a supplier for wholesalers and retailers, you can find Lucia Chocolates at Flannery’s and The Source health food shops.

Poppy’s Chocolates, Beenleigh & Robina Ph: 07 3807 1936

Started in 2005 by Lynda Pedder, Poppy’s Chocolates is one of our most successful businesses, their chocolates used by Customs House, The Star Casino, Palazzo Versace, theme parks and airlines.

Step inside the doors of Poppy’s Chocolate Factory at Beenleigh and you will find an impressive shop packed with delicious couverture chocolate delights: individual chocolates as well as gift boxes and elaborate chocolate creations such as handbags, tool sets and champagne bottles. Gaze through the picture window to see the Queensland equivalent of Willy Wonka’s factory.

At the Poppy’s Chocolates shop at The Kitchens in Robina Town Centre there’s a huge selection of handmade milk, dark, white and the delicious ruby chocolate, desserts, coffee and a signature ‘real’ hot chocolate, available in five flavours, best paired with Poppy’s own hot waffle pops (waffles on a stick). There’s even vegan chocolate on tap! Don’t miss out on our favourite product, caramel macadamias.

Brisbane

31 Degrees Custom Chocolates, Woolloongabba Ph: 07 3160 8834

After humble beginnings in 2014 as a market stall, 31 Degrees Chocolates make treats for every palate and dietary requirement, including gluten, nut and dairy allergies. Taking their name ‘31 Degrees’ from the working temperature for tempered dark couvertures, 31 Degrees makes their exquisite chocolates by hand in small batches, pairing the world’s finest couvertures, such as Valrhona, with the best local ingredients. Their extensive range covers truffles and bars to cookies, brownies and even cakes.

CoCouture, Contact directly Www.cocouture.com.au or Instagram @cocouturechocolatesau

CoCouture brings us deliciously refined handcrafted chocolate. Made using only the freshest local and sustainable produce, craft chocolatier Monica Pearson personally engages with her clients to make a chocolate that looks amazing and has a flavour to remember. She specializes in bonbonières, corporate orders and bespoke smash cakes (like a piñata). Passionate about her shiny colourful Belgian couverture chocolates and confections, CoCouture creations include a whole buffet of chocolates incorporating hand painted, moulded chocolates, bars, confections and their famous Rocky Road containing freeze dried berries and Australian nuts with huge cubes of house-made marshmallow, oven roasted coconut and lashings of chocolate.

“Have a balanced diet… a chocolate in each hand,” is Monica Pearson’s mantra.

Chocolate Moments, Albert St & Myer Centre Ph: 0402 680 192

Chocolate Moments is the home of exquisite Belgian chocolates, handmade in Brisbane by Gerrard Gosens, blind Paralympian, adventurer, and finalist on popular television show, Dancing with the Stars, and his wife. They share their passion for top-quality chocolates with Brisbane by creating delectable truffles, chocolate liqueur shots, creamy chocolate fudge, and so much more.

Couverture & Co, Red Hill Ph: 07 3367 3000

Couverture & Co. was established in August 2013 by former journalist, Jessica Brookes. Her range of about twenty different truffles, bars and chocolates with flavours such as salted caramel, champagne, white chocolate ganache and banoffee is handcrafted in the onsite kitchen to ensure that customers receive the freshest possible product. Their fine artisan products are made using traditional methods, including hand tempering, dipping and piping to achieve maximum delectability.

The Dark Chocolatier, Adelaide St., Brisbane & Noosa

Established in 2009, Noosa Chocolate Factory has stores on the Sunshine Coast and in Brisbane. They specialise in panning (chocolate coating) using our own blend of high percentage cocoa dark chocolate sourced through partnerships with PNG and Colombian cocoa farms. However, they also produce an extensive range of milk and white chocolates, all palm oil free. The Noosa Chocolate Factory stores serve their signature hot chocolates, specialty coffee and over sixty rotating seasonal Queensland-made chocolate products, including their ‘must try’ Rocky Road.

Dello Mano, Tattersall’s Arcade, Brisbane & Merthyr Village, New Farm Ph: 07 3890 4526

Dello Mano is a family business established by Deborah and Bien Peralta in 2006.  Using their backgrounds in food science and marketing to fuel their dreams, the couple reinvented the humble brownie, sparking a brownie revolution in Australia. Some years later, Aston Kutcher would discover Dello Mano Luxury Brownies, flying them by courier to Paris for his birthday. The business that started with one batch of handmade, locally sourced ingredient brownies to sell at the markets now carries a range of artisanal cakes, biscuits and truffles enjoyed by celebrities, dignitaries and food lovers worldwide.

Mayfield Chocolates, Spring Hill & Toowong Village Ph: 07 3832 1832

Peter Ingall is the chocolatier and host at Mayfield Chocolates, a company he founded in 1993, famous for using Australian ingredients such as pineapple, Kakadu plum and ginger in imaginative ways to create original chocolates of the highest quality. Using fresh cream or cocoa butter rather than vegetable fats, and no artificial colouring, flavouring or preservatives, Mayfield’s chocolates have received many honours, including Champion Chocolate Award at the Sydney Royal Easter Show and a Gold Medal in Belgium.

New Farm Confectionery, Newstead Ph: 07 3139 0964

Inspired on a Parisian balcony, New Farm Confectionery in Newstead is chocolatier, chocolate shop and wholesaler in one, renowned for its gourmet contemporary take on classic chocolate and confectionery, handcrafted for adult sweet lovers. From slabs of chocolate bark to chocolate bars, slabs of nougat to mounds of billowing marshmallows, from exotic ruby chocolate to mountains of Rocky Road, there’s an indulgent gift or treat for the sweet at heart.