Chocolate is full of powerful antioxidants and helps the release of serotonin. Basically, it's good for you (or so we wish to believe). If you're going to eat it, you may as well treat yourself to the best – these are our favourites.
Melbourne's best chocolate shops
Bibelot is an ambitious proposition: espresso bar, gelateria, pâtisserie, café, and chocolate shop. You can spy on the chocolatier tempering away in the chocolate room, sit on the stylish-but-stark seats at the front and spy on Coventry Street, or occupy the emerald-green sofa in the café space at the back. There’s a glass-and-gold chest of drawers in the centre, stocked with Bibelot’s bags of grown-up lollies at grown-up prices: cocoa pop and orange-infused white chocolate; caramelised puff corn with milk chocolate and pink salt; chocolate nougat and so on. If you're going to give yourself a toothache, why not do it with style?
This artisan chocolatier is located in the historic Royal Arcade, and it's not out of the ordinary to find a line snaking out into Bourke Street to get inside. Having mastered the fine art of European chocolate making, this luxury chocolate retailer sells everything from chocolate blocks and chocolate-coated roasted almonds to praline gift boxes and delicious hot chocolates.
Any Melburnian chocaholic worth their smoked salt already knows about Mörk’s artisan hot chocolate powders, served in Seven Seeds, St Ali and other café stalwarts. Mörk means ‘dark’ in Swedish; these chocolate powders come with a hefty cacao count. Husband-and-wife team Josefin and Kiril source cacao liquor from Venezuela, cocoa powder from Ghana and unrefined coconut blossom sugar from West Java, blending all three in their ‘brews’. Tarts, cookies, pralines and marshmallows are Mörk-made.
Darren Purchese is a sweet-fanged candy bandit and the man responsible for a salted caramel spread so good it has its own fan page. The Chapel Street magic store is full of desserts and products for making DIY home creations (fruit salad white chocolate, and toppings that crackle and fizz). Get your mittens on beautiful chocolate creations including cake pops, edible figurines, layer cakes and tarts.
Thibault Fregoni, owner of Brunswick’s chocolate factory-cum-café, is the only chocolatier in Melbourne who is roasting, winnowing, grinding and refining his very own chocolate from raw cacao. He’s a man obsessed with creating perfect chocolate from ethically sourced beans, and educating the public about origins and the production process through chocolate appreciation classes. Buy blocks of the finished product, distinguished by country of origin, or hit ’em up for a hot chocolate you could stand a spoon in.
These guys are out in North Balwyn and have been doing the chocolate-factory-cum-café gig for years before it was A Thing (as they somewhat tersely mention on their website). Expect traditional truffles and a bowl of hot chocolate the size of your head to drink while browsing.
It's all about the bean at this Cremorne-based chocolate maker. The team source cacao beans from co-ops in Central and South America and treat them with the utmost care. Their philosophy is that simple is best – none of the bars here have more than five ingredients, and most have only three: organic cacao beans, organic coconut sugar and organic cacao butter. You can get the original dark chocolate, or try flavours like sesame seed, fennel seed, coffee, and salt and pepper. There's a chocolate bar made in collaboration with Four Pillars Gin, and if you'd rather drink your chocolate than eat it, you can also buy a 250g tin of drinking chocolate. Stop in for a browse and a coffee. The Cremorne store also offers housemade pastries.
The Chocolate Bar in the ARIA Bar and Lounge is open for afternoon tea on Saturday and Sunday. It serves a chocolate-centric high tea, where you'll find chocolate chip scones (as well as plain ones for the traditionalists), pastries and cakes. Don't go past the chocolate fountain. If you need a break from all the sweetness, there are plenty of classic high tea sandwiches on offer.
From humble beginnings at the Farmers Markets, The Ministry of Chocolate opened its own retail store supplying Melbourne with the finest of chocolate in 2012. They make everything in house, from their boxes of chocolates to seasonal treats like chocolate eggs, Christmas goodies and Valentine's Day treats for your loved ones. The Ministry of Chocolate's Malvern store also serves a range of cakes, slices and coffee.
Ratio Cocoa Roasters is a bean-to-bar chocolate store that uses single-origin cacao beans to create handcrafted chocolate bars. Ratio’s tart – but delicious – dark chocolate is made up of only two ingredients: cocoa nibs and organic raw cane sugar that’s sourced from Brazil. Head to the Sydney Road store and try it for yourself or take part in one of Ratio’s behind-the-scenes chocolate tours, which give insight into the very Willy Wonka-like chocolate making process.