Mornington Peninsula Chocolates
45 Cook Street, Flinders, VIC
03 5989 0040
Looking for a chocolate fix on the Mornington Peninsula? That's what Milton Laycock and Isilda Caldwell were thinking when they opened Mornington Peninsula Chocolates in 2003. Milton and Isilda drew inspiration from the movie, Chocolat, starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp, and, today, Mornington Peninsula Chocolates is one of the only fine chocolate producers in the area.
Milton and Isilda didn’t just walk out of the theatre and open Mornington Peninsula Chocolates after watching Chocolat, of course. First, they embarked on an around-the-world journey to meet the greatest master chocolatiers and patisserie chefs. They researched chocolate making in France, Switzerland, and Belgium, tested equipment, took courses, and perfected their techniques.
Soon, Milton and Isilda began to identify their strengths in the kitchen. With a background in mechanical engineering, Milton was drawn to the technical aspects of the business, and he brought an impressive eye for detail to chocolate making.
Isilda, on the other hand, with a Brazilian heritage and a background in pottery, used her passion for combining food and design to develop the chocolates’ flavour profiles and the artistic presentations. For example, the Cherry Bomb, which uses morello cherries soaked in kirsch liquor and sealed with kirsh fondant is doubled dipped in dark couverture, letting you in on its explosive flavours. Before even taking a bite: it looks like it lives up to its name!
In addition, Mornington Peninsula Chocolates makes designer chocolate high-heel shoes, life-size tropical fish, cute little frogs and more. From the start, Isilda wanted to create chocolates that resemble art, and many of the chocolates in the company’s line look like tiny, delicious sculptures. The company primarily uses couverture chocolate from around the world. Couverture chocolate has more cocoa butter in it than any other type of chocolate – up to 40%. That means couverture chocolate melts and pours more readily than other types of chocolate. It also means it spreads more easily and coats more evenly (and thinly), and provided it’s tempered properly, it firms up and has a more brittle snap and a glossier sheen.
Whether making the Blood Orange Tonka or the dark couverture caramel, Fleur De Sel, Milton and Isilda aim to use as many local ingredients as possible; this way, they can give their customers a unique chocolate experience: a taste of the Mornington Peninsula. “We are the luckiest to live and work on the Mornington Peninsula because we have the best of all the Victorian regions,” says Isilda. “We have scenic coastal views, spas, wine, a rural ambience, and gourmet produce available at our door.” The company uses local honey, citrus fruits, berries, herbs, spices, and fresh cream to make its delicious line of chocolates.
As a result of this creativity and focus on excellent ingredients, Mornington Peninsula Chocolates has received several major awards from important competitions. For example, it received the Chocolate Champion trophy at both the 2008 Royal Melbourne Fine Food Awards and 2011 Royal Sydney Fine Food Awards.
At the company’s flagship atelier in the village of Flinders, you can see the chocolate-making process in action before choosing from a vast selection of chocolates. Mornington Peninsula Chocolates has a large praline range to choose from including origin chocolate bars, nuts and fruit chocolate slabs. They boast a full range of glace fruits including lemon, orange and pineapple coated in delicious couverture, and an extensive range of decorated figurines, not to mention the delicious aromas upon entering the atelier. The Flinders atelier is open Thursday through Monday, and the company recently opened a second location at 5 George Street in Sorrento.