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  • Liane Morris

Hop On In to Hunter Valley Chocolate Company


Easter is one of those rare times you can eat as much chocolate as possible without the fear of friends giving you that judgy, sideways glance! And with Easter just around the corner and the supermarkets filled with all the usual boring chocolates, we caught up with expert chocolatier Peter Carpenter from Hunter Valley Chocolate Company to talk all things chocolate and find out what unique and delicious delights can be found right here in the Hunter Valley.

 

HV Magazine: What is your top seller, and how do you make it?

Peter: Over the past twenty-plus years, our top seller has been Peppermint Thins, closely followed by Rocky Road. The secret to our exquisite chocolate is in the freshness and the quality. We make it in 5-kilogram batches, and everything is packed in-store – so nothing has to travel. Due to the small batches, the chocolate is turned over quickly, guaranteeing its freshness. We make chocolate almost every day, and the chocolate we make from Saturday to Tuesday is gone by Sunday. There is no one else in Pokolbin who makes their chocolate on-site. This is our main point of differentiation and why our chocolate tastes the best – it's FRESH.



What ingredients do you use the most, and approximately how much do you use each year?

We use 8 tonnes of chocolate every year – 5 tonnes of milk chocolate, 2 tonnes of dark and 1 tonne of white. Dark chocolate has gained popularity over the past 15 years due to people becoming more health-conscious. The vegan movement has also contributed to its popularity because excellent dark chocolate contains no dairy. Our base is from Belgium. We've tried to source it from Australia, but it doesn't grow in the quantities we need. It really only grows 10 to 20 degrees on either side of the equator. So obviously, our Belgian base originates in Africa. Columbus took the plants and seeds from South America, and once Europe had developed a taste for chocolate, the various European countries, with their colonies in Africa, started growing it there so that it was cheaper to transport.


Easter is coming up. What advice can you give to budding Easter bunnies who want to do better than a supermarket egg?

Don't buy anything from the supermarket. We have a full range of Easter chocolates, including bunnies, bilbies, eggs, unique blown painted eggs filled with chocolate, and candy-coated sugar eggs with chocolate inside. We also create hampers made to order.



If you had to recommend one item from your shop, what would it be?

I would recommend anything that I make, but Dark Chocolate Rocky Road is particularly difficult to find, and it's so much better with dark chocolate. My personal favourite, though, is the Fruit & Nut Bark. But, really, there's no better way to find a favourite than for people to come and see/taste for themselves and make their own decision. We've got two locations in Pokolbin, and it's a great time of year to visit the Hunter Valley.

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