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. While you're on a roll, explore the best of Melbourne's hot chocolates. If something sweet but more civilised is in order, check out our guide to Melbourne's best high teas.
Melbourne's best chocolate shops
After becoming a landmark stop-over for families traipsing through the Yarra Valley, passionate chocolatiers have opened a new location along another popular holiday route. The Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery indulges kids and adults alike with more than 250 creamy European delights for sample and purchase. Along with chocolates and truffles, there can be nothing more refreshing during a hot summer road trip than a homemade ice cream. The café is also worth stopping by, which uses garden produce to provide meal options with a fondue, hot chocolate or ice cream to finish.
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?
Darren Purchese is a sweet-fanged candy bandit and the man responsible for a salted caramel spread so good it has it’s own fan page. The Chapel street magic store 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-come-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.
Chocolate that's dairy free, soy free, gluten free and vegan shouldn't be delicious. In fact, we'd suspect that the folks behind Pana Chocolate's rich, smooth delights were wizards from the future if they didn't clearly outline their chocolate recipe on their website (spoiler: it involves cacao powder, agave nectar and coconut nectar). Find rows of colourful paleo-friendly cakes and individual chocolates – plus the full selection of their famous bars to unwrap later at their Richmond shop.
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.
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.
This is a sort of boudoir with chocolate, run by Hungarian saucepot Dr Hannah Frederick. Frederick’s velvet-draped shop purveys chocolates made with Belgian Callebaut Coverture, and she always has a range of gift-ready chocolates and teas. Sit in on a high tea session to be treated to some old-world European elegance. We love this temple to decadence, and we think you will too.
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.