Going to every fine chocolate provider in Maitland in one day would be potentially catastrophic on your waistline. But let’s just say you did try to visit them all. WARNING this story contains extreme levels of chocolate consumption.
Chocolate whether in powdered, block or liquid form is delightful. I started my cocoa pilgrimage at Myrtle and Pepper Fine Chocolate. Based in the leafy suburb of Lorn they have turned chocolate into an art form too beautiful to eat, almost. Their chocolates showcase native Australian flavours like wattle seed, lemon myrtle, eucalyptus flower and macadamia. Exquisite detail is also given to their packaging which is as inviting and ornate as their treats. These artisanal delights can be found at The Olive Tree Market at Maitland Regional Art Gallery in the cooler months or throughout the Hunter at select patisseries and boutiques. After consuming some salted macadamia butterscotch I move onto my next sweet treat.
Next stop Tenambit’s Donarch Fine Chocolate, a sensory pleasure. The smell of fine chocolate greeted me and I found the ambient interior as rich as the chocolate. Cabinets filled with towering hand painted delights of a huge variety glow from the dark shelves. I choose a raspberry heart which set my yummy senses tingling.
Another well known sweet experience that I stop into is The Cunning Culinarian. This café has a contemporary feel with flecks of nostalgia all set in a heritage building. Kept cool in a glass cabinet and glass domes, house made eclairs, melting moments, brownies, macarons and cakes provide something for every level of sweet tooth. I paired my brownie perfectly with one of their famous coffees and was delighted by the mini chocolate bonus presented on my spoon. An attention to detail that a chocoholic can appreciate.
Not far away at The Levee is the self proclaimed ‘desserterie’ Dragonfly Foods at The Hatch, which is lucky because at this stage I can hardly walk. With a host of awards under their belt you can be sure to satisfy your daily cravings for something sweet. The house baked cupcakes will rival any nana’s famous bakes and there are cookies and brownies galore. I sat back in the alfresco setting and watched the world go by over yet another coffee and sweet treat.
I head back to Lorn rounding the corner to Icky Sticky on Belmore Road and I’m back in a world of delights. On Saturday mornings lines run out the door with people picking up fuss free goodies for parties, get togethers or the essential weekend treat. I have a friend who brings a selection of these cakes in their unassuming brown box to every party. Once the lid is opened there is always the ‘wow’ factor. The only problem you’ll have at Icky Sticky is knowing which treat to choose. By the time I get there though the lines have subsided. I break my coffee and chocolate regime with one of the best vegetarian quiches I’ve ever had and then go back for a chocolate tart. My chocolate pilgrimage ends here but the coco experiences do not stop there in Maitland.
A highlight for every chocolate lover is Maitland’s Aroma Coffee and Chocolate Festival. During August this free event sees Central Maitland’s Riverside Car Park overflow with those seeking brilliant new flavours. Shrug off the winter chills with a cup of hot coffee and the many chocolate delights of Maitland as you look out over the Hunter River. With a number of food stalls, this is also the perfect lunch opportunity perhaps paired with a local wine or beer?
With modern day hectic schedules it’s nice to know chocolate can provide some relief from life’s stresses. Catch up with a friend over these sweet treats and take a tip from me. Take away a Cunning Culinarian brownie and split it with a loved one over a cold beer or a nice red. As a sweet full stop don’t forget to #mymaitland or #maitlandaroma to share your chocolate adventures.
Story by Genevieve Graham