The word, ‘chocolate’, produces an array of emotions that are both personal and communal; to be shared as an act of fellowship or to be savoured as a private reward. Chocolate. White; dark; milk. The very concept evokes immediate preferences, almost a loyalty, based purely on pleasure. I think you know what I mean and if you do, your Norfolk Island holiday is in store for a ‘seriously’ new experience.
Seriously Chocolate is the brainchild of local chocolatier, Deb Simpson. She set out to create “the ultimate chocolate experience” for her clientele, from personally making each confection to letting her customers watch and of course sample. From eating their selections on the premises to taking them away, sometimes far away, to conducting chocolate-themed workshops. Indeed, when I asked Deb what she would like people entering her shop to see or feel, she said, “They should be able to taste, smell, touch and enjoy chocolate and never want to leave.” If you’re a devotee of all things chocolate, prepare yourself.
Deb’s history with producing confections for sale goes back to 2003 when she and her partner, Ian (‘Spider’) Webb, added chocolate-covered cherry guavas to their stall of handicrafts at the local Sunday market. The chocolate was prepared – tempered, I learned to call it – and each morsel dipped and wrapped by hand. Although initially as a sideline to the proverbial day-job, Deb held a full-time position, demand grew for these and other specialty chocolate items until she was able to make chocolate – and the delight it creates – her career. Not to diminish the extensive study and experimentation that’s gone into this achievement, if Seriously Chocolate is Deb’s ‘dream come true’, we’re in it and it has a happy ending.
“The pleasure you get from good chocolate is far more intense than anything you get from a [chocolate] bar”. These are Deb’s words and I’m starting to weaken. She gets her chocolate from as far away as Belgium and tempers it on site. All of her centers (with one exception; ask her which) she makes herself, you can see her do it, and each can be relished with the finest of hot chocolate drinks. And in addition to confections and a growing number of other creations, she makes a different style of chocolate cheesecake every day. Get the picture? Seriously Chocolate celebrates everything chocolate.
“Lots of calories, but only the good ones”. Deb smiles when she says this and adds that chocolate can lift the spirits and makes the perfect gift for any occasion. Her online sales overseas is a growing part of her business and as long as the packages remain sealed visitors have no problem bringing gift assortments into Australia and New Zealand.
I got to ask Deb what I thought was the essential question in our interview: in her world of making chocolates and creating pleasure for others, what is her favourite? She deftly started to tell me her most popular items and I politely interrupted and asked again: what was her favourite? Bailey’s liqueur fudge or chocolate hazelnut pralines. “Those are the ones I don’t make extras of because I can’t be trusted”. This could be the supreme failing – a chocolatier with a sweet tooth. But what a recommendation.
Seriously Chocolate awaits you in the Strand Arcade on Taylors Road (across from the RSL). Deb will be there to welcome you, perhaps with a spot of chocolate somewhere on her white chef’s apron or at least I’d like to think. Chocolate-making workshops are available for small groups of four to six, which would certainly be a unique addition to your holiday itinerary. You can contact Deb by email, email@example.com, or visit her website at: www.seriouslychocolatenorfolkisland.com. It is the ultimate chocolate experience.