Teacher educator and author of many teacher reference books. Amused by random ideas and loves random acts of kindness. Enjoys writing humour...seriously!Please see my Instagram: wilsonjeni
Published December 20th 2015
Indulgent and Decadent- just the way I like it
Almost impossible to choose
Sure it's the biggest heat wave in Melbourne's history, today is predicted to top 42°, but that's not going to stop me from attending this highly anticipated chocolate walking tour. I'm more excited than a teenager going out for the first date at an 'all you can eat dinner' restaurant.
The two hour walking chocolate tour is a sweet trail through Melbourne's famous lane ways, visiting the best cafes to find some secret shopping hotspots while sampling and drooling over chocolate.
Normally the tour would be attended by ladies, couples, families and tourists, but today is a media event with bloggers, photographers and other writers. It's a hard job but someone has to do it.
The hostesses were full of energy, knowledge and passion about chocolate. They did a chocolate chant with movements to get us pumped to eat chocolate. I needed no such external motivation.
So many chocolate types and so little time... you'll just have to buy a few more dozen chocolate treats to take home for later. This tour proves that the density of premium chocolate locations in Melbourne is one of the highest in the world. On the tour you can indulge in ten chocolate tastings, special discounts and offers in store.
Being decisive was never my strong point
An unexpected part of the tour was some history about the locations, for example we learnt about the creation and materials for the mosaic in the Block Arcade.
But first, we got a lesson about how to eat chocolate. I must admit this amused me until I realised that I was doing it all wrong. Seriously there is a routine that chocolate connoisseurs use. Unfortunately it requires some restraints. Our guide told us that you first look at it, then smell it (that seems like a waste of time to me), then bite the chocolate in half. You let it rest on your tongue and melt and use your tongue to lift it to the top of your mouth and in this way you'll get the full flavour. I reluctantly admit that this did enhance the taste. Until this time I had never regretted that all those years of scoffing down chocolate when I could have been savouring it slowly.
Scoff or savour?
Chocmama in degraves St was our first stop. This tiny boutique shop has only been open for one year and is run by Louise (who is a self confessed chocoholic). She focuses on Australian products including old-school feel lollies.
For those who really love freckles!
Louise said that she offers a modern twist and old-fashioned favourites. She personally tastes all products before putting them on the shelves. What a personal sacrifice! Apparently Louise's children have a lot of friends who like to visit her work. They would literally be as excited as children in a lolly shop.
How I felt!
Our next stop was Haigs in the beautiful setting of the Block Arcade. Haigs have just turned 100 with their fourth generation of family chocolatiers. They've had lots of practice creating quality chocolates and have created an ethically and environmentally aware company.
Experienced chocolate creators
The quality of the cocoa and percentage is perfect so that the dark chocolate leaves no after taste. You must try the dark chocolate champagne truffles which use real champayne. I practised very small bites with this one to stretch out the chocolate pleasure.
This is what they are famous for
You're in for a real treat at Koko Black. It's like stepping back in time in style. Koko Black was voted one of the top five places in Melbourne to go for hot chocolate. The iced chocolate is delicious as well. Their best seller is the salted caramel chocolate. Vincent confessed to eating a lot of them. On my to do list is the $28 chocolate degustation which includes a hot chocolate, chocolate mousse, and a few other surprise chocolate treats.
Unmeasurable skill and passion. Photo by Paul Bryan
You can watch Vincent the chocolatier as he enjoys making the chocolates. How frustrating - it takes three days to make their chocolate and in less than three seconds they're gone. Our host said that when you snap the chocolates in half you could hear a crisp sound. The idea of taking it easy with these delicious premium chocolates is a bit of obscure to me. My usual style is
'all in one go', it's worked for me for a long time and I'm sticking to it.
Be sure to go upstairs to see the beautiful old-fashioned space and the gorgeous semi-circle windows overlooking the arcade.
The New York Chocolate Bar. Guess where it started? Photo by Paul Bryan.
A new chocolate bar in town is the New York Chocolate Bar. The cafe is stylish and spacious and has that American up market feel typical of New York. They are famous for their signature peanut butter and jelly praline chocolate (a mouthful of zing) and their unique light red velvet chocolate brownies. The giant sized peanut butter cookies are made on site.
Red Velvet brownies - the perfect taste and texture
The New York Chocolate Bar's iced chocolate drinks are made of melted chocolate, not the typical powder or syrup. They are deliciously rich.
A must stop chocolate stop for personalise chocolates. Photo by Paul Bryan
Our last stop was the KitKat Studio, which is new to Melbourne. They make special edition and custom chocolate for one week at a time. You cannot get them anywhere else but in store and for one week only. Holly, the head chef, explained how we could make our own signature chocolates with personalised packaging for only $14. First you pick your chocolate: milk, dark or white and then pick from 16 options such as almond brittle, butterscotch, pecans and pretzels, marshmallows, coconut macaroons, fruit and green tea. Then you can have your name put on to a box. I wish I had heard of this place before I bought all my Christmas presents.
Focussed on designing your specialised chocolate. Photo by Paul Bryan
What a fabulous fun day we have had sampling and buying chocolates and learning about our beautiful city Melbourne. We now have a number of great cafes on our list to explore. We absolutely loved the chocolate walking tour and would highly recommend it as a gift or a fun family activity.
The biggest surprise of the day is that I am sure I have fallen in love. Peanut butter and jelly chocolate... this little treat is likely to bring on an addiction. Peanut butter and jelly chocolate where have you been all my life?
The love of my life
Choose your own chocolate walking tour
There are three different walking to cater for all budgets and time limitations so there's no excuse to miss out.
A one hour express chocolate walking tour runs on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays for $39 per person. A two hour city sightseeing chocolate walk operates Wednesday, Thursdays Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for $49. The twilight chocolate walking tour is two hours from 6 PM on Thursday or Friday night for $59 per person.
Acknowledgement: Thanks to Paul Bryan for giving his kind permission to use his beautiful photos.