Max Brenner has been a worldwide phenomenon that has managed to escape my attention until recently, as I mistakenly assumed it was too posh to enter. His website seems to either reveal very little or freeze up, so I can only go by wikipedia and my own taste buds for this first review.
Max Brenner as a man doesn’t exist as such, but is rumoured to be an amalgamation of the Israeli chocolate company founders, Max Fichtman and Oded Brenner. With stores established in Israel, Australia, New York, The Philippines and Singapore, this thirteen year old company is winning fans with their hot chocolate, souffle and delicious truffle creations.
The store we visited in Melbourne Central is very dark and inviting and the chocolates on display are like tiny works of art. Vats of melted chocolate are mixed in readiness for drizzling into drinks, desserts and cakes with the smell making it impossible to say, “Oh no thanks I’m not hungry,” and walk out.
We were served by Siwei who showed a real enthusiasm for her job, telling us that she’s also a qualified accountant. “I work here too because I love what we make here. I’ve gained five kilos in as many months so I have to keep jogging,” she laughs.
What is Max Brenner most famous for?
Our hot chocolate in the hug mug. It is what people come in for and they taste divine. People also can’t resist our chocolate souffle or the brownies.
What Max Brenner product are you into right now?
The caramelised pecans dipped in dark chocolate are what I’ve been nibbling. They find really large-sized pecans which go so well with the sweetness of the caramel and dark chocolate. Try some! (We did, and utterly agree with her).
What are your biggest sellers in individual chocolate?
Definitely our dark chocolate and milk chocolate truffles. People are also starting to go for the praline mixed with coconut as well.
When you’re at home on the sofa in your tracksuit pants, what chocolate do you reach for?
I love Koko Black’s truffles, they are like being loved by someone! My flatmate wishes I’d bring home our white chocolate mousse for her. If I’m at the supermarket wanting chocolate, I sometimes go for the Ferrero Rochers. It is surprising that I have a boyfriend who doesn’t have a sweet tooth. He’s happy with the rather dry walnut roll that you can get from Darrell Lea.
What should we try on our next visit?
Definitely our waffles. People make special trips just to get a serve of them.
Well, it was time for us to let Siwei get back to work and have a drink and a souffle. My husband chose their classic hot chocolate with mocha and I went for the kangaroo – a cappucino with an extra lip inside the cup for squares of chocolate to slowly melt into the shape of a roo’s tail:
Unfortunately, I couldn’t wait long enough for the tail to appear because the chocolate drizzled on the froth was so nice that I had to go for the squares as well. Love Chunks wrapped his hands around the hug mug, murmuring, “Ooooh, this is soooo nice, I can see why they’re famous for these.”
Then, our souffle arrived for us to share:
Somehow they managed to create something that was lighter than feather yet as densely rich as a mud cake with the added bonus of a molten, mousse-like centre that was simply unlike anything we’d ever tasted inside a ‘cake’ before. The generous drizzles melted milk chocolate weren’t neglected either – it was fun having a mini-fork fight to ensure that no drop or crumb was left behind. I could finally see why everyone had been saying ‘Oh you MUST go to Max Brenner’ since we’d moved to Melbourne – their hot drinks and desserts any in a class of their own.
And yes of course we left with a selection of their individual chocolate. But those are to try and taste another day…