In the backstreets of industrial Cremorne, Hunted + Gathered has been tempering cacao from Peru, Ecuador, Belize and the Dominican Republic.
“People in the area didn’t know chocolate was being made here,” says Harry Nissen, who co-owns the business with his older brother, Charlie. “Now we’ve opened it up, it’s been a nice surprise for locals.”
Hunted + Gathered chocolate bars contain just three ingredients (cocoa nibs, cocoa butter and coconut sugar), giving the Nissens as much control as possible in sourcing their beans and creating flavour profiles. Each bar contains a minimum of 70 per cent cacao.
The brothers began experimenting with cured meats, beer, jerky and chocolate in their home kitchen as teenagers.
“We just wanted to understand why a quality product is worth the buck,” says Harry. “And we found that chocolate was what we enjoyed making the most.
“We love the whole process of obtaining the beans and feeling connected to the growers, right through to tempering the chocolate and running experiments and trials.”
Hunted + Gathered chocolate is stocked at Blackhearts & Sparrows, Terra Madre, Happy Valley and Meatsmith, but you may have sampled it as part of collaborations with Pidapipò and Baker D. Chirico. The Nissens also supply chocolate to some of Victoria’s best restaurants, including Rockpool Bar & Grill, Cumulus Inc., The Press Club and Brae.
The new shopfront and cafe is clean and spacious, designed around the concept of transparency. With the factory humming along in the background, views of pallets, forklifts and bags of beans are all part of the experience. You’ll see deliveries arriving throughout service, too.
“I suppose the shop’s like a farm gate or cellar door-type concept. We’re making chocolate here most days so there’ll usually be an aroma of roasting cocoa beans to smell,” says Charlie. “We want to educate the consumer about the product and where chocolate comes from. People often forget chocolate starts with the seeds of a fruit, so we’ve got the beans and chocolate in different stages of the process for visitors to have the whole sensory experience.”
The menu is naturally chocolate-based – think iced malted milk chocolate and a freshly roasted cocoa nib cold brew – with Harry baking treats on site daily.
“Some beans are more fruity, nutty or floral than others, so we’ve worked out which cocoa beans work better with the different products,” he says. “So, the Ecuadorian beans go into the canelé and we use the Dominican Republic beans for one of our hot chocolates.”
“The Peruvian beans are pretty unique in that they’re not bitter at all, even though it’s a 70 per cent cocoa bar,” Charlie adds. “It tastes like berries and the flavour continually changes when it ages and settles, which is pretty special.”
Hunted + Gathered
68 Gwynne Street, Cremorne
(03) 9421 6800
Mon to Fri 8am–3pm
For Melbourne’s latest, subscribe to the Broadsheet newsletter.