Walk into the world of Coco Chocolate to discover an astonishing range of carefully crafted treats. For chocoholics, it’s a fantasy wonderland of beautifully presented morsels and unusual flavours, but for owner Rebecca Kerswell, it’s a dream made real.
Rebecca started working in the food industry to support her design studies, but soon took off to France to pursue her other passion and train at Valrhona as a chocolatier. Rebecca opened the first Coco Chocolate in Edinburgh in 2004, but after 10 years of working and training in Europe, including crafting chocolates for the prestigious Harvey Nichols store, she decided it was time to come home, opening the doors to the Kirribilli store in 2010.
Coco Chocolate represents the marriage between Rebecca’s two passions: chocolate and design. The eclectic fit-out begins outside, where a genuine circus-light sign imported from the United States reads ‘Coco’, while inside, European elements are inspired by Rebecca’s time abroad. An imposing onemetre wide chandelier has been handmade with antique confectionery moulds, tea cups, pearls and hand-blown glass candy canes, while the walls display original artworks of the chocolate box designs, rendered in bright watercolours.
The store offers an engaging experience for chocolate lovers. Using single origin couvertures from the top cacao producers in the world, Rebecca creates 45 different types of chocolate bars.
The chocolate is traditionally hand-tempered on marble, then flavoured with the finest fruits, nuts, liqueurs and spices including peppers from Herbies.
A range of couverture cacao blends caters for every taste, whether you like it sweet and creamy, or dark and bitter. From classic caramel through to unique combinations like pine nut and sea salt, and lemon and geranium, you’ll want to sample each and every variety. For white chocolate fans, the store offers delicious variations such as organic white chocolate infused with lemongrass, lavender and vanilla bean.
Take a seat at the communal table in the colder months to sample Coco’s award-winning drinking chocolates. Twelve varieties are available: choose a rich cup of dark 70% cacao blend with Valrhona cacao powder, or perhaps while away an afternoon with a rose and black pepper hot chocolate.
Rebecca strongly believes in ethical sourcing when it comes to chocolate: Coco Chocolate is a proud member of Australian Certified Organic, following strict ethical practices across the business. All of the cacao couverture that she sources for tempering comes from members of SEDEX, ensuring that labour standards, health and safety, the environment and business ethics are present throughout the supply chain.
Rebecca’s dedication has also led to the establishment of Chocolate Schools in both Edinburgh and Sydney. Located on the Sydney Harbour foreshore, The Sydney Chocolate School is a cooking school committed to the art of chocolate making. From bean to bar, students learn all the essential chocolate-making techniques, as well as tasting their creations along the way. The school is open to the public – classes are designed to boost creativity and team building, bringing people together through the love of chocolate.