After spending two-and-a-half years building a steady following for his fine, hand-crafted chocolates at Prahran Market from his temporary wooden cart, chocolatier Tad Lombardo of Cioccolato Lombardo has finally graduated to a permanent bricks-and-mortar store.
The gleaming, laboratory-like shop is fairly small, although the manual production is hefty with up to 500 chocolates hand-crafted solo by Lombardo daily. As you walk by the glass-walled space, chances are you’ll be able to see Lombardo creating his ganache in view of shoppers.
With a 21-year mechanical engineering career behind him, Lombardo was longing to pursue his food calling. He enrolled in a master patisserie course at the Sofitel to test the waters. “There was a small amount of chocolate in the pastry-making class, it was enough to instantly ignite the concept of creating high-end chocolate,” says Lombardo.
Instilled from his former career, a perfectionist’s discipline and attention to detail is prevalent in his pieces. Glossy rows of handcrafted pralines, edible sculptures and soft Swiss couverture chocolate bars represent Lombardo’s creative dedication to this quiet but certain culinary art.
Alongside your salted caramels and other safe favourites, flavours such as parsnip or coffee and white chocolate mousseline initially intrigue and confuse – with the proof in the pudding, or ganache. “If I can get unlikely ingredients to taste beautiful together, then anything goes.”
Shop 97, Prahran Market
163 Commercial Road, South Yarra
(03) 9826 2092