And if work on that day is at Darkside Chocolates then…well… you can see from their faces what my girls thought of that!
I had spent the day with John Wade, of darksidechocolates.com.au., interviewing him and documenting the process that he goes through to create his superbly handcrafted and always intriguing chocolates.
The tune to ‘I’ve got a golden ticket’ was with me the whole time, as I devoured with digital camera, smart phone recorder, notebook and pen, the whole delicious process.
John’s passion and expertise is a marvel to revel in. The sumptuous minutia of the gastronomic details. The conjured imaginings of the Bolivian jungle. The swashbuckling skill of a true artisan at work. It was the most fabulous recipe for a day.
The best bit though was that I got to taste the chocolate. Lots of high quality chocolate. I sampled the cacao solids, from the fabulously big, ‘trade-only’ bags. And then I tasted, as John tasted, as he tweaked, at all the various stages. The solids were melted down, infused with a tapestry of different aromas and textures, and fashioned into delectable works of art.
There would be an ‘ok now try this’ from John, after the slightest adjustment to the mixture, a nob of butter or a pinch of sea salt, and a ‘wow’ from me as a new depth or characteristic of flavor would burst forth like…literally like magic!
Time flew and when school pick up time came, John’s lastest range of ‘fig and vanilla’ ganache were just not quite ready. The dark chocolate shells with perfect shine and snap, were set. The layers of first dark and then white chocolate cream, infused with fig paste, sugar, vanilla and bound in mascapone cream, were set.
But the final base coating of 68% Bolivian native cacao, melted and tempered to perfection, was the show stopper yet to come.
The bell rang as a customer came into the shop. I would have to come back with my daughters, aged 3 and 7, to finish the documenting of the new chocolate. John was amenable to this, saying he always loves to prove wrong the commonly held assumption that dark chocolate is only appreciated by grown ups.
I dashed off to pick up P1 and P2. Affectionate nicknames for my two little possums, and a modest Banana’s in Pyjamas homage. The girls watched, enchanted, as John deftly welded a trowel of melted chocolate. Smoothing over each of the trays of molded chocolates, tapping and scraping with rhythmic and hypnotic speed.
I like to think it was educational for them. A bit like the ‘through the round window’ section on Playschool. The best bit for them, of course, was the ‘here’s some I prepared earlier’ finale. As the set molds were taken from the fridge and popped out onto the black granite workbench, the girls gave out gleeful cries. Rats! Very cute rats with red eyes and lavishly curly tails. John does aim to excite all of the senses.
P2 also loved the new fig and vanilla ganache Rats, but her firm favourite is still the Tropical Echidna: Green finger lime syrup and 70% South American dark cacao, with a mango ganache. We’re good customers and P2 is often on the other side of the shop counter.
As I’m taking this photo, she slowly reaches her hand out and snaps it back again with a jolt as she realises there’s no glass barrier on this side! I don’t test her self-restraint for too long. Home time.
Best day of work ever. And all the more so because I got to share some of the magic with my precious possums.
Darkside Chocolates are located in Denmark, WA. They do deliver to anywhere within Australia. Just place your order at darksidechocolates.com.au. The Beetroot and Shiraz Truffle is my favourite.