Increasingly, studies are finding that chocolate is good for you – so Chocolate @ No. 5 in Hahndorf is a must for Adelaide Hills visitors.
Nothing warms up my greedy little heart on a cold Adelaide Hills morning quite like the prospect of a visit to a chocolatier and having good quality so close to my home is such an added bonus. Tucked up at the quieter (read – slightly easier parking) end of the main street of Hahndorf is Chocolate @ No. 5, our go-to local boutique chocolate source and dessert lounge. Home of sublime brownies and wickedly great waffles, this little boutique also pumps out a huge range of quality chocolates and bars, supplying cacao and sugar hits to locals and the hordes of tourists which tramp up and down Hahndorf every day.
The health benefits of eating high-cacao content chocolate are well known now, with more being discovered every day (including news of a remarkable study which suggests it may be of assistance in reversing age-related memory loss), so really the business which owner Alison Peck and chocolatier Sarina Waterman preside over is more of a health food store than anything else, right?
Alison and Sarina have been behind the wheel at Chocolate @ No. 5 for five years now. Alison was keen to reinvent the business after her divorce and got to know Sarina when she was supplying homemade cheesecakes to the store. With the help of a grant from the wonderful Food and Beverage Development Fund SA, Sarina headed off to Savour Chocolate & Patisserie School in Melbourne where she discovered a love for chocolate making, bringing her new skills back to the Adelaide Hills and cementing Chocolate @ No. 5 firmly in place as a premier chocolate producer.
These ladies have a very fixed focus on producing a quality product which lets the ingredients shine. Sarina relishes the freedom she enjoys to explore her craft and uses it to create, not only the popular favourites which customers expect, but interesting twists on established flavours. Using Callebaut and Cocoa Barry couverture, premium Adelaide Hills produced dairy products and the best of local fruits and nuts she comes up with a remarkable range of products from a surprisingly small space at the back of the shop.
From modest beginnings with just one chocolate (a vanilla caramel, remembers Alison) their range has expanded enormously. Sarina no longer tempers by hand, now using two tempering machines, and processes an average of 80 kilograms per week of chocolate to produce up to 70 different bars, chocolates and treats. These include epicurean delights such as ginger and chilli chocolates, sage and thyme caramel, a sublime blood orange and balsamic caramel, a fig, apple and fennel chocolate bar and the delicate crystalised violet and cacao nib bar.
Such gourmet treats delight, but there is also still plenty of love around for the traditional choices. I had no idea there were so many versions of coconut rough (dark, milk, passionfruit and raspberry) and they take rocky road to whole new level with their very grown-up Groggy Road (rum-soaked apricots and sultanas, pistachios and slow-roasted almonds, toasted flaked coconut and vanilla marshmallows enveloped in dark Belgian couverture chocolate). The range available will vary from day to day, depending upon production, but there are some evergreens that they never dare run out of – the constant demand for chocolate frogs is something which bemuses both Alison and Sarina.
Chocolate @ No. 5 won’t be remaining a local secret for too much longer with Alison and Sarina about to launch some of their range on to the wider Adelaide market through selected retailers. You may also start to notice their brand at major events and functions, too.
Still, nothing beats actually coming up here and enjoying the beautiful Adelaide Hills. After a leisurely drive taking in our glorious vistas and perhaps a local wine or two, I can’t think of a better way to cap off an indulgent day than by dropping by Chocolate @ No. 5 for a fortifying cacao and caffeine hit – and as chocolate is now a health food, don’t you owe it to yourself?