Cara Waters April 01, 2012
Hanna Frederick, 'The Beethoven of chocolate', holds court. Photo: Meredith O'Shea
BITE into a chocolate from Mamor Chocolates & High Tea Szalon this Easter and you could be in for a surprise.
Hanna Frederick, chocolatier and owner of the Collingwood business, loves to experiment and has developed a range that includes chocolate flavoured with garlic, absinthe, wasabi and even kangaroo salami.
''I call myself the Beethoven of chocolate,'' Dr Frederick said.
''I put everything together in my head, the whole recipe, and it comes out right away perfectly.''
So far, her only flavour failure has been attempting to create a beer-flavoured chocolate.
She perfected the recipe two years ago while living in New Zealand but has been unable to replicate it with Australian beers, possibly because the beer in NZ is not pasteurised.
Undeterred, Dr Frederick is drawing on her background as a food chemist to undertake ''serious research'' with Richmond brewery Mountain Goat.
Since Mamor opened 18 months ago, customers have responded well to some of the more unusual flavourings, Dr Frederick said.
''Melburnians are absolutely cosmopolitan and very open, they are as interested in new things as Americans,'' she said. ''They are much braver at trying new flavours.''
It's a view echoed by Darren Purchese, chef and owner of Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio in South Yarra.
''They are enthusiastic and adventurous customers we have here, we are very lucky,'' he said.
The range includes caramelised white chocolate with puffed quinoa, and banana marshmallow ''rubble'' laced with chocolate popping candy.
When confounded by some ingredients, Purchese, an experienced pastry chef, consults the Belgian company Foodpairings to break down ingredients into their compounds and pair them with similar substances.
''I don't just pick up blue cheese and liquorice and start whacking them together in the hope I might come up with something,'' he said. ''I use my experience and my palate; the most important thing is that it is delicious.''
Sian MacKenzie and Arno Backes, co-owners of Ganache Chocolates in South Yarra, test all their new flavours on staff before selling them to the public.
''If they sit there for a couple of weeks, then we don't make any more of them, but if they fly off the shelf we incorporate them into our range.''
MacKenzie said the big chocolate companies such as Lindt had started being more adventurous by adding flavours such as salted chocolate, but ''they are certainly the followers rather than the leaders''.
''The advantage of being a small company is that you can experiment and if something is not great your customers will tell you and you can stop doing it, whereas if something is great your customers will tell you and you will keep doing it.''