A very special five-course dinner matched with Robert Oatley Finisterre series wine. We are rather lucky…
Have you spotted the Little Monsters lurking in local grocers and coffee shops? They congregate in rather stylish little packs, and don’t mind at all if you bite them. They’re Canberra’s latest organic, fair trade and handmade chocolates…and they’re delicious.
Little Monster Chocolate is the creation of Clayton Smith, a self-proclaimed chocoholic (and former Art Director and trained Primary School Teacher) who balances chocolate-making with Stay-At-Home-Dad duties. So what transformed him from chocolate-lover to chocolatier?
“I have eaten copious amount of chocolate for most of my life! I love everything about it… I went down to Melbourne and did some courses, and learnt the tricks of the trade. I do everything by hand, so the chocolate is tempered by hand on a big granite slab, I wrap everything by hand, box by hand…”
It’s clearly a labour of love for Clayton, who cares for his toddler daughter during the day and makes chocolate at night from their home in Greenway.
Launched about a month ago, Little Monster’s four varieties (Milk, Dark, Coconut and Hazelnut) have already won loyal fans.
“The response I’ve had has been great! We started with Deli Alimente in Manuka, and they sold out three days later! From there we’ve been slowly branching out into other cafes and grocers,” says Clayton.
“The support from local retailers has been fantastic. It’s funny to see the expression on people’s faces change when I say I’m a chocolate maker who makes the chocolate from home in Canberra. They’re always happy to give it a crack.”
While the chocolate itself is pretty amazing, Little Monster’s packaging is also hugely appealing. Designed by Clayton, the packs are very different from your usual shiny chocolate wrappers. Made from matte cardboard in a mostly monochrome palette with a big splash of colour, they’re certainly eye-catching.
If you have an eye for detail, you’ll notice a little trivia question about animal collective nouns on the flap of each pack, the answer stamped on the chocolate itself (who knew that a group of wombats is called a ‘wisdom’?) The blocks themselves are very non-traditional in size…they’re small-ish and square, and the slabs are molar-gnawingly thick.
“All I’ve really done is make chocolate how I wanted to make it. For some people the bars are too thick but everyone is going to be different…but I could work my way quite easily through the dark bar.”
Personally, the Hazelnut is my favourite variety…but that may change very soon, with new flavours in the works.
“We have a Mint and an Orange planned and maybe a Dark Hazelnut and Dark Cherries and Cashews,” says Clayton.
“But we’ll wait for feedback first and move forward from there.”
Clearly, the only responsible thing for YOU to do is to get out there, taste some Little Monster Chocolate and let Clayton know you want more!
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