My good mate Justine suddenly pulled the car off the main drag and said, “Get out. I mean it – Get out! You have to come inside here with me.”
We were accompanied by Justine’s three year old daughter Annabelle who immediately pointed to the chocolate hippopotamus’ on sale and said, ‘That’s what I’d like.’ She then sniffed the air and said, ‘Mmmm, smell it, Mummy.” She’s a smart kid, that one, because the air was filled with the heavenly scent of dark chocolate and cocoa.
Tim, co-owner with his wife Ingrid, came out for a chat when he noticed me whip the camera out and start snapping wildly. “We’ve just won four silver medals at the Royal Sydney Show,” he said proudly. Interestingly, three-out-of-four of those silvers were for categories where the judges did not award a gold medal for any of the chocolates in contention, so they were obviously a very picky bunch. Lizzy’s Chocolate Creations has been operating for over twenty five years using Belgian chocolate in all of their hand-made creations that are lovingly made at the back of the shop.
So what is Tim’s favourite?
The rose ganache. We’ve been using rosewater in ours for years, but have noticed that other manufacturers are starting to copy us now.
What about when you’re home, on the sofa in your tracksuit pants?
Our milk hazelnut slab, but not at home! Instead I eat some when I open the kitchen every morning, check the machines and the air-conditioning. It’s the first thing I eat every Sunday morning.
How come you’re so slim for a bloke who breakfasts on chocolate?
(Laughs), Oh trust me, the weight’s hidden under my apron!
We took some back to Justine and Annabelle’s for tasting. Annabelle was sent off for an afternoon sleep with the promise of being allowed to try her milk chocolate hippo upon awakening. With the room a tiny bit quieter Justine and I geared up to taste these little beauties:
The Lemon Tart Truffle was first, my only tasting rule being to start with the lightest and end with the darkest. “This tastes like lemon meringue cheesecake,” said Justine and I agreed. Very fine white chocolate with an almost liquid cream centre flavoured with lemon zest. Superb.
The milk chocolate truffle Earl Grey Tea was next. The tea flavour came through strongly enough to be appreciated, but subtlely enough to pair up perfectly with the milk chocolate. “These are definitely My Cup of Tea,” Justine said. “It makes you suck the gaps between your teeth to get more. I’ll be going back to buy some of these.” Me too.
There wasn’t a noticeable rose smell when the Rose Ganache truffle was bitten into, but a distinctive Turkish Delight taste was evident in the soft centre. This was much better than a jelly filling, especially when coated in dark chocolate. Definitely the best Turkish Delight re-invention I’ve tried.
As with the rose, the Lavender Infusion also was relatively odourless and took a bit longer to make its presence felt on the palate. Justine was relieved. “This is like the lovely old-fashioned lavender that’s growing in my garden; not the fake chemical stuff they use in loo spray.” I didn’t notice the floral at first, just the smooth dark chocolate until the lavender started to emerge as the truffle filling melted on my tongue. Delicately delightful.
Tim slipped in a couple of dark truffle Chilli Bombs as a bonus and a clever way to pack a punch at the end. Justine didn’t agree: “This is pain chilli, not nice chilli! Chocolate’s supposed to be fun, not a horrible surprise that kicks you in the guts.” I liked it. It got progressively hotter until it took over the dark chocolate and left a pleasant tingling. Remind me not to use too much chilli if I ever cook Justine a curry.
The flat-leaf shaped nougatines are the shop’s biggest sellers and come in white, milk and dark. Justine thought that the white “Tastes like a flat Crunchie, only better,” the milk reminded us of Toblerone but with tiny toffee shards and we both loved the dark. Bittersweet chocolate and sugary crunchy bits are always a winning combination.
These are all gold medal contenders in my opinion.