A newly-established artisan chocolatier crafts some truly fabulous traditional and socially conscious chocolate bites.
As Dessert Correspondents, MoMo & Coco pride ourselves on knowing all the best desserts in Melbourne. So it was quite to our shock and horror when we stumbled upon an artisan chocolatier without ever having heard of him before. We sought not, and yet we found. Cioccolato Lombardo is an artisanal chocolatier operating a weekend market stall at Prahran Market, but also distributes some of his sweets in the CBD’s Clementines store.
Our first experience of Cioccolato Lombardo’s chocolates was during a lunchtime walkabout to Clementines in the CBD. For $3.80, we nibbled on the delight of the Salted Caramel Frog. Think artisan Freddo Frog — it is really more caramel with soft honey tones, rather than salted per se. Nonetheless, lip-smackingly, finger-lickingly good.
Miniature chocolate-bites are Cioccolato Lombardo’s line of expertise. They are made from Swiss-imported Felchlin couverture, and have an appealing gloss/shine that is somewhat non-existent in the “drier” chocolate bites bought from larger-scale chocolate boutiques. Below is our little hoard purchased in late November 2011 from the Prahran Market stall.
As the sampling was undertaken a few months ago, the following are comments are extracted from our notes. The Strawberry Gelee was perhaps our favourite of Cioccolato Lombardo’s range. A speckled white chocolate heart encased a broad layer of exquisitely flavoured strawberry gelee and a sweet bottom paste layer which we failed to record on our notes when sampling. The knob of the Salted Caramel milk chocolate was a good chocolate bite, but was not as revelatory as Paul A Young‘s salted caramel. Its syrupy flow was only very lightly imbued with a saline character. The Coconut Giandjuga trapezoid prism was voluptous in flavour but slightly dry in texture. This can be contrasted to the full-bodied tones and creamy feel of the Peanut Butter Praline. The Cappucino was an excellent wake-up punch and likewise, the dark chocolate-enrobed Afterdinner Mint was one of the best that we have ever had. The Praline Straccialatte and Passionfruit Vanilla were a little more subtle but still rather pleasurable.
In mid December, we heard again some buzzing about a “Bee Box,” that is, a collaboration between Melbourne Rooftop Honey and Cioccolato Lombardo. For $29.95, we purchased a set for us and a set for relatives — six chocolate bites and a tube of golden viscous honey. A pair of Hazelnut & Orange (mendiants of hazelnut-toned chocolate embedded with crystallised orange peel); Honey Chocolate (embossed squares of dark chocolate filled with a thick molass-y paste with honey accents developing strongly from mid-way and finishing chocolate-y); and Salted Caramel. The Honey Chocolate especially deserves to be a permanent fixture in Cioccolato Lombardo’s repertoire. All superb though.
So how is Cioccolato Lombardo distinguishable from all the rest? By comparison with other larger-scale chocolate enterprises, Cioccolato Lombardo’s chocolates focus on developing the nuances of a particular flavour in each bite rather than playing with or combining many strange flavours. In doing so, the flavour strengths are several degrees more powerful (and memorable), and certainly the taste of the chocolate itself more refined and soft, rather than harsh or otherwise in disharmony. That said, its website indicates that it does do creative flavours — but we haven’t yet come across such flavours so reserve our thoughts till then. In any case, welcome this new-ish, rather fabulous chocolatier to Melbourne’s burgeoning artisanal chocolate landscape.
Dessert adventure checklist
- ☑ Dessert destination: Cioccolato Lombardo, Stall 117, Prahran Market, 163 Commercial Road, South Yarra, Vic 3141. Also, at Clementines, 7 Degraves Street, Melbourne CBD, Vic 3000.
- ☑ Budget: $
- ☑ Sweet irresistibles: Chocolates
- ☑ Must-eat: The “After dinner mint,” “Strawberry Gelee,” and “Salted Caramel Frogs.”
- ☑ The short and sweet story: A newly-established artisan chocolatier crafts some truly fabulous traditional and socially conscious chocolate bites.