I'm an inner-city rambler who's happy to share my best finds with you. My writing turns up in the local street press, magazines, and more. (This week's pic: 'bad' -- some West End graffiti for anyone who's ever misbehaved.)
Mayfield Chocolates has won national and international awards for its delicious confectionery, but this Brisbane chocolatier remains unknown to many locals. So I thought I'd spend some time taking you into the creamy, dreamy, chocolatey Mayfield world.
Mayfield's low profile is partly the result of its location, in an unobtrusive shop hidden up on Wickham Terrace (near the corner of Edward Street). In an area better known for its medical specialists, Mayfield's staff are dispensing a different kind of therapy: chocolate -- with a distinctly Australian flavour.
They've been doing it since 1993, winning prizes at both Sydney's Royal Easter Show (Champion Chocolate Award) and in international competition in Belgium (gold medal). But it was only a month or so ago that I noticed their pretty window display and decided to step into Mayfield's garden of chocolate delights.
When I opened the door, I was greeted with that wonderful smell you get in all fine chocolate shops -- part sweet, part dark, part alcohol, part perfume. Inside a long glass cabinet lay row after row of individually crafted milk, white and dark chocolates. Chocolate hearts, chocolate starfish, chocolate truffles, blocks of chocolate, groggy chocolates in shiny pink and orange wrappings, and more.
Mayfield sells over 40 different types of chocolates, ranging from classics like Country Caramel, Orange Cream, and Cappuccino to more unusual offerings like the Precious Heart (glaceed cherry and brandy), Simply Lavender (lavender ganache in either milk or dark chocolate), and the Olympic Spirit (pecan praline and crispy rice in milk chocolate).
They also specialise in unique chocolates using native Australian ingredients. These include the Rainforest (featuring native lemon myrtle), the Outback (with native peppermint), and a Macadamia Vanilla Truffle. Australian liqueurs and nuts feature across their range.
After agonising over which treats to take home, I chose four: the Caramel Love, Country Caramel, Wattle Log (roasted wattle seed ganache in white chocolate) and Woodland (native aniseed ganache in milk chocolate).
The consensus among my tasters was that the native chocolates were delicious, but mildly flavoured (as is often the case with native ingredients), and that our favourites were the delectable caramels, which contained a generous helping of butterscotchy liquid.
Chocolates are sold individually or in crisp, white boxes
On a return visit, I purchased the Coffee Queenslander (coffee and Queensland dark rum), the Bushranger's Dream (dark rum and sultana), and the Kakadu at Night (Kakadu plum in dark chocolate). I found the chocolate on the Kakadu rich and satisfying, with its contents resembling a gentle, apricoty syrup. My male taster declared that both the Queenslander and Bushranger packed a delicious whallop, with real dark rum (no essence of anything here). A coffee fan, he came down in favour of the Queenslander, which features a crunchy, fresh coffee bean on top.
Beautiful fabric-covered boxes are also available.
These fresh, real flavours were found in every chocolate we tried from Mayfield's, which uses fresh cream or cocoa-butter in all products. No vegetable fats, no animal fats, no cereals, no flour and no gluten -- which means you never get that nasty 'waxy' taste that you sometimes get with inferior chocolates.
So, how much do you pay for these indulgences? Mayfield owner Peter explained to me that the chocolates are priced per kilo or box. In practice, this means that each loose chocolate I bought worked out to be between $1.50 and $2.00 (supplied in a small cellophane bag).
Look very closely and you'll see 'Happy Birthday' written on two of the chocolates...
Shiny white boxes can be purchased starting at $4.90 for a box of two. I bought a box of eight ($15.50) for a friend's birthday, and it made a delightful gift, especially with the 'Happy Birthday' chocolates featuring edible writing. More elaborate fabric-wrapped gift boxes are also available.
With Father's Day approaching, a box of Mayfield chocolates is a creative and affordable option. Blokey chocolates include the Queenslander, Bushranger, Chilli Truffle, Rum Splash, Brandy Splash, Port Splash, Cappuccino, and many others. If you can't make it up the hill to Wickham Terrace, you can order on-line, where you can also find Father's Day specials. Mayfield ships chocolates all over the world, and Peter guarantees that your choccies will reach you in top condition.
Before I left, Peter and I got talking about the many Brisbane treasures that are largely unknown to local people. Mayfield is now so well-regarded in France that French interns regularly come to do work experience with the business. Yet most Brisbanites don't know the Mayfield name. I hope I've done my part to remedy this, and to introduce you to Mayfield's chocolatey wonders.
Talking of chocolate (which is alywas a great idea, by the way) one of the most successful things I've seen at a wedding is a chocolate fountain (with fruit and marshmallows etc to dip into it as it flows in a yummy chocolate river.)I don't know if these things are considered passe or cheezy but it sure was the center attraction piece at the one wedding where I saw one. Probably quite costly though?Oh, and another good tip for chocolate is using liqueur chocolates as wedding favors for men.Anyway have a fantastic day!