Home' Scoop : Scoop 52 Winter 2010 Contents 186 scoop WINTER 2010
It may be the food of the gods but it s we
mere mortals who are finding plenty of
new and exotic ways to enjoy the experi-
ence that is chocolat.
No longer is chocolate simply a chip
off the old block , devoured in front of the TV, or
a tiny treat relegated to sit beside your coffee cup.
In WA, chocolate has become an attraction in its
own right -- something that surely has its devotees
dancing around their fondue sets in delight.
While dedicated chocolate shops have been
around for decades, there s a growing trend to-
wards turning chocolate into an attraction with a
memorable experience (and destination) attached.
First to latch on to the idea in WA was the Mar-
garet River Chocolate Company, which broke new
ground in 1999 by opening a factory and Chocolate
Cafe in what was predominantly a tourism and
wine region. Its innovation was rewarded and the
business quickly became one of the most popular
and successful tourist attractions in WA. A year later
the company replicated the concept and opened a
second factory and cafe in Perth s Swan Valley.
Owner Martin Black says the shift from "retail
product" to "tourism attraction" reflects a growing
awareness and appreciation for high-quality, but
"People already appreciate the difference
between mass-market wine and boutique wine --
chocolate is ideally positioned to make a similar
transition," says Martin. "For us chocolate is a
destination and an activity in its own right rather
than an impulse buy.
"People visit because they want to see it being
made, learn about it, smell, taste and buy it."
One of the newest kids on the (chocolate) block
is the Denmark Chocolate Company, which has
taken chocolate tourism one step further with its
recently opened Chocolate Lounge.
Now you may think lounge is just another
word for cafe . Not so. Although the company
does sell exquisite handmade chocolate and
hot beverages, it s also fully licensed, making it
the first of its kind in WA.
The pairing of chocolate with beer or wine may
sound like blasphemy to some but it s actually a
match made in heaven.
Owners Chris and Annelise Grain (he a beer
lover from the UK, she a chocolate aficionado
born in Switzerland) see the combination as ideal.
"Good chocolate can be paired with many
beverages and when your business is located in
a wine-growing region it makes sense to
combine the two," Chris says.
While Denmark was also a good location
because of its burgeoning tourism industry, the
town was predominantly chosen for its cool cli-
mate -- a big plus for making delicate chocolates.
But temperate surroundings are just one
element in making the perfect chocolate -- you
Chocolate has long intrigued and
delighted us and now an innovative
group of producers is turning our lust
for fine chocolates into successful tourist
attractions as well. text serena kirby « images krysta guille
LET IT FLOW: Enjoy your
chocolate molten-style in
a fondue or crunch into
a handmade chocolate
(right) at the Denmark
Chocolate Lounge, where
you can pair it with a
glass of wine or beer.
need the steady hand of a surgeon, the patience
of a saint and a whole lot of willpower to stop
yourself eating the profits.
Passion is also essential, and when a chocolatier
speaks of his profession, it s with the same enthusi-
asm as an excited winemaker talking about wine.
"It takes thousands of hours of research and
study to become a chocolatier," says Chris.
"It s a precise and exact process that cannot be
done in a rush. We only use the best couverture
chocolate from France and Belgium, with high
cocoa butter content, so it s temperamental to
work with. It s worth it because it s the butter that
creates that exquisite melt in your mouth effect."
Chris says the taste of chocolate changes with
your mood so in creating a lounge environment he s
inviting people to enjoy it right where it s made.
"Ours is not the sort of chocolate you take
home and eat in front of the TV. Good chocolates
are designed to be savoured, and we want people
to have an interactive experience where they can
socialise with friends while sharing and comparing
flavours," he says.
And as to the pairing with wine, beer and
liqueurs -- Chris says this is made possible by the
simple fact that chocolate itself has come of age.
"The chocolate of old was very sweet," he
says. "Now there s less focus on sweetness and
more on flavour and texture. You can have dark
Links Archive Scoop 52 Scoop 53 Spring 2010 Navigation Previous Page Next Page