I’ve never thought of myself as particularly patriotic. This is not to say that I don’t like being Australian, because I do. It’s just that I’m not comfortable with gallivanting around proclaiming that Australian-ness is superior to all other kinds of Nationality-ness simply because, well, I’m Australian and therefore “Australia Is The World”.
However, there have been a few moments recently when I’ve felt an upsurging of I-like-Australia-for-its-uniqueness pride:
- Watching The Dish shortly after returning from overseas. (The same applies to watching SeaChange.)
- Driving through the countryside and seeing all the gradations of brown and green, and all the myriad Eucalyptus and scraggly trees, that define our landscape.
- Teaching The Pilot enough Australianisms for him to be able to tell his mother that he stayed up until 2am because he “was calling my sheila, who isn’t a bogan, and if you don’t understand that, you’re a drongo”.
- Delighting in The Curious Chocolatier’s creations.
Number Four makes me not only proud to be Australian, but proud to be Canberran. Yep, The Curious Chocolatier is not only a friendly, creative, dedicated, and generous lady, she’s a Canberran lady, and I intend to make everyone (okay, maybe just you readers, for the minute) aware of and keen to support her delicious chocolate endeavours.
Where better to start than with my (current) favourite of the line-up which Heidi, The Curious Chocolatier herself, kindly gave me after I spent an hour chatting with her at the Old Bus Depot Markets?
The Curious Chocolatier Dark Chocolate with Apricot and Rosemary
I know I’ve given the game away by already stating that this is my favourite Curious Chocolatier flavour, but sometimes Openness and Honesty are Key. Plus, this is Heidi’s favourite too, so clearly the bar is doing something right.
Or, you know, many things right. The chocolate is well moulded and glossy with no scratches or blooming, and its aroma is predominantly chocolatey with a slight hint of dusky fruit. Interestingly, the rosemary doesn’t come through in the aroma – at least, not until you break into the bar.
The chocolate is well-tempered, as it has a firm snap and a rich, but slow, melt. My first bite offered up honey notes and a faint, pine-like, herbal taste, which didn’t immediately scream rosemary. Rosemary is, in my opinion, one of the strongest herbs out there, so it’s a testament to Heidi’s skill that the rosemary doesn’t take over the tasting experience.
As a result, I can comfortably tell you that the dark chocolate itself has honey, marshmallow, and occasionally cedar notes, with no red fruit or tannic elements jarring with the apricot and rosemary. I also love that the apricots aren’t your bog-standard trail-mix chewy-dried overly-tangy variety, but are aerated, fluffy, freeze-dried pillows of flavour more akin to the taste of fresh apricots drizzled with lime juice.
The first time I came across an apricot in the chocolate, I also hit upon a stronger rosemary flavour. Sure enough, when I looked down, I saw a green fleck of dried rosemary embedded in the chocolate.
I loved, loved, loved such moments. Alone, the chocolate might be a bit sweet for my tastes. But, somehow, the strong herbal wapow of the rosemary, the way its almost-savoury edge danced with the zing of apricot and the honey element of the chocolate… pure wonderment. It’s definitely a unique taste, and might be a bit confronting to people unaccustomed to interesting and quality chocolate, but I implore you to persevere. It’s so worth it.
I just wish I hadn’t eaten the entire block in one night*.
*No I don’t. That was worth it, too.