Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Foto Freo Fringe (Perth)
Nester Chocolates
Truffle Espresso Bar David Jones

What is Australian chocolate? I floated into David Jones department store in the city to see if I could find the answer to my question, past the espresso and truffle bar, to the confectionary department. There are shelves and shelves and rows and rows of chocolate, some familiar and some unfamiliar, some imported, some local and interstate. As I read the lables of unfamiliar chocolate wrappings and brands I find that many are Australian both the products of Australia and produced by Australian owned companies.

An Australian chocolate, taste, aroma, and texture would have contain a macadamia nut. According to Stephanie Alexander's book 'The Cooks Companion' macadamias have been enjoyed by Australian Aborigines for thousands of years. The nuts were discovered by European settlers in the subtropical rainforests of QLD in the mid 1890's. There are two species of macadamia trees grown commercially in Australia both which are now rare in the wild. The nut has a delicious creamy flavour and are creamy white in colour. They were later exported to Hawaii where they are now grown commercially.

Nester an Australian company produces a range of chocolates in Victoria using indigenous ingredients for example wattle seeds and lemon myrtle. On their website Nester describes their chocolates as 'as having a unique bush flavour'. The Nester gift box contained macadamia nuts covered in five flavours (2 chocolates wrapped in individual packages to lock in the freshness)'.

Wattleseeds were a staple food among many Aboriginal people and could be eaten raw or cooked. They were collected when dry and ripe, threshed and removed from their pods and roasted. They had been added to the chocolate, and had a crunchy nutty toasted texture without a unique taste. The coating of chocolate was very thin and the flavour of the macadamia overpowered the wattleseed.

The lemon myrtle gave the chocolate a unique lemon flavour that complemented the chocolate. It was quiet powerful and the taste remained long in my mouth after I had consumed the chocolate. The melting moments (layers of milk and white chocolate) and the dark and milk chocolate and macadamia offered nothing new.

Nester chocolates at $11.95 for 10 chocolates are expensive at over $1 each and really offer nothing new. A block of chocolate with wattleseed would however be absolutely fabulous.

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