Meet the Maker: Noosa Chocolate Factory | Gourmand and Gourmet

Meet the Maker: Noosa Chocolate Factory

  • Food & Booze
Noosa Chocolate Factory have achieved the feat of creating a little slice of heaven right in the heart of the city. Filled with rows upon rows of chocolate slabs, chocolate covered delicacies and our favourite chocolate treat in all of Brisbane, their signature handmade rocky road, stepping into the Adelaide Street store is like stepping into a childhood dream of a chocolate coated world, complete with the intoxicating scent of cocoa. We’re green with envy of Chris Thomson, one of the founders and master crafters of this wonderland, who gets to spend all his time surrounded by chocolate. Or at least we were, until he told us what time his day starts in the morning in our chat with him about all things chocolate. Describe what it is you do so well in a sentence, you’re allowed to be modest. We make good chocolate from scratch. We then use it to coat dried fruits, nuts and berries from Australia’s best family farms.  Tell us who, of the amazing things that you produce, is your favourite child? Our fresh rocky road is our favourite. We make everything in it including our marshmallow, strawberry jelly and chocolate from scratch. We ship it to our Brisbane stores as soon as it has been made! Strangest thing you ever did to come up with a concept, menu item or product? Our Lake Macleod flaked sea salt and dark chocolate is probably the strangest item we have on the shelves but it works terrifically well. The sea salt sweetens the darkest of chocolate. We currently add sea salt to our 80% cacao dark chocolate but will soon do a 90% cacao version. How did it all begin? My family has always been in chocolate. My grandfather was a founder of Allens Confectionery. There he invented a number of very popular confectionery lines that are popular today- Including Red Skins, Minties, Jelly snakes and Fantales. My father ran Red Tulip before it was taken over by Cadbury. Four years ago I called on dad and his vast knowledge in chocolate making to start Noosa Chocolate Factory! What does a typical week at work involve for you, besides “Full on!” We produce chocolate seven days a week. Shift times are 3am-1pm. Between three chocolatiers, we make 100kg of rocky road every single day and two 200kg batches of ‘panned’ (chocolate coated) berries or nut products. I usually then do deliveries on the sunshine coast before reaching the Brisbane stores by 5pm. What is your proudest achievement to date? Our Fresh Kingaroy Peanut Brittle winning the Gold medal at the 2014 Royal Melbourne Food Fine Awards. Where can we get our mitts on our little piece of you? Drop in to one of our Adelaide Street stores in Brisbane’s CBD.  In three words, why should everyone get more chocolate into them? It’s chocolate, do you need a reason? Which Australian producers, suppliers or thinkers are inspiring you at the moment? Winter is hazelnut season and there is no better match for hazelnuts that our chocolate. We source all our hazelnuts from Mt Buffalo Hazelnuts in Victoria. Their 2014 season crop is insanely good.  Where is the best chocolate (other than Noosa’s Chocolate Factory) that you have ever tasted? Cocoa Prieto, they make great dark chocolate with Latin cacao and use the most beautiful chocolate machinery I have ever seen – their factory is in New York. Where/what was the last great meal you ate in Brisbane? Cheeseburgers and cold craft beers at Yard Bird ale house in Fortitude Valley. The food and staff there are great!  Chris Thomson (chocolatier) | Noosa Chocolate Factory