If you are looking for decadence, the range from Mrs Peacock is for you. The handmade chocolates are full of opulent options in gold and black packaging with hand-illustrated swirling peacock feathers.
“Making chocolate is romantic and all consuming; what you put into the process shows in the final product,” says Lisa Morley, creative director and chocolatier.
There are two bars currently available in her Trilogy Collection: Desire and Passion. Flavours are classic combinations such as salted caramel or peanut butter ganache, but they are all thrown in together to make a layered bar. She also does 90 gram bars with simpler ingredients, one with a 24-hour coffee infusion.
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There is a range of truffles, caramels, honeycomb, and almond rochers (chocolate-covered nuts) all decorated with gold. There’s also a pseudo-Snickers truffle.
She uses chocolate imported from the French company the Cacaofevier, vanilla from Madagascar, and honey sourced a little closer to home in Christchurch. Morley tells us they are in the midst of fitting out the first Ms Peacock store in Bowral.
“There's a lot of diversity in this industry, from traditional to the current trend using coloured cocoa butters. I don't really follow trends, I prefer to let the flavours and textures shine bright. [My favourite] was and still is my Desire Bar in my Trilogy Collection. Layers of caramel, orange and vanilla-bean ganache and almond crunch brushed with French marmalade in a dark chocolate shell.”
Founded by Jason Stockton and Anya Tran in 2016, its chocolates are handmade in Melbourne and shipped all over Australia.
The designs are clean and crisp; gold, black and white with colour codes for milk, white and dark chocolate. There is a range of five bars, all of which are gluten free.
The truffles come in boxes from five to 60 chocolates. They look like marbles and have a thin, glassy sheen. The amount of flavours available is overwhelming, but the best sellers are labelled if you want a safe bet.
“We had a four-month development process where we tried literally hundreds of different flavour combinations,” says Stockton.
Favourites are cookies and cream and French vanilla, or more adventurous options are Himalayan salted lime. There are also options for vegan customers.
“My fiancé (Anya) and I always wanted to have a business together. Our goal has always been to blow people away with great flavours that are mostly unique to us.”
The Bakedown Cakery is run by former graphic designer and colourist Jen Lo. Since opening in 2015, it’s been thriving with nearly 100,000 followers on Instagram. After cakes and desserts, her next project is chocolate.
“Everyone was saying [tempering chocolate] is one of the hardest things to do. I thought, I’m going to give myself a challenge and learn how to do this. I found it therapeutic, I loved working with the medium, and it opened up a whole new world of flavours,” says Lo.
Her ingredient choices are influenced by her Asian heritage, including Hojicha tea (a roasted Japanese tea with a toasty, slightly caramel-like flavour), and Genmaicha berries (also known as popcorn tea).
This influence can also be seen in the logo designs; her black and white palette echoes Chinese calligraphy. “[The chocolate] is influenced by my design eye. It’s all based on the colour theories that I learnt.” The range is eye-catching and the packaging pops with eclectic colour and names such as Toasty.
The current collection includes blocks, bark, a thinly tempered chocolate, rochers soaked in Mr Black coffee or orange liqueur, and boxed truffles.
Lo’s favourites are the single origin blocks, which use chocolate sourced from plantations in one country (most chocolate is made from cacao beans sourced in multiple countries). It currently features 12 varieties – she recommends Sao Thome or Uganda because of their smoky flavours.
She is working on a new range of eight bars which each have a unique Asian twist using flavours such as banana malt and gula melaka (a dark caramel sugar).