The “chocolate store for grown ups” has finally arrived on our shores, with award-winning US chef Alison Nelson unveiling her first Aussie store in October. With celebrity customers like Gwyneth Paltrow, Sarah Jessica Parker and Julia Roberts giving their seal of approval, we’ll be first in line to try Nelson’s chocolate creations.
What was your earliest memory involving chocolate?
I remember eating a Hershey’s Kiss while riding my tricycle in my parents’ driveway. I would let it melt completely in my mouth so it lasted a long time.
Are you a dark, white or milk chocolate girl?
Dark most of the time, but I love milk chocolate and coffee together.
What gives you the biggest kick out of your job?
When customers react to something I’ve made with glee! I love that reaction because it completely validates what I’ve made.
What’s your favourite item from the Chocolate Bar range?
This is a tough one because I eat it all! But over the 12 years I have never tired of the spicy brownie or the spicy hot chocolate. They are both made with cinnamon and smoked chipotle, and both have warm and spicy little kick at the end (and completely satisfies a craving).
Why did you decide to launch your first Australian store?
Melbourne reminds me of New York – it’s diverse, eclectic, is full of art and culture. It seemed to be the right fit. It seems the perfect place for our fun, artistic aesthetic and our approach to food to thrive.
There are a number of quality chocolatiers in Australia. How will Chocolate Bar stand out from the crowd?
We are thrilled to be in the company of Australian chocolatiers. I believe Chocolate Bar stands out because we find ways to naturally link our products and our menu to our customers, the arts and culture. There is fun and whimsy and some irreverence. We are constantly looking to our customers and staff for ideas on staying current and fun.
Finally, any plans to open another Chocolate Bar in Australia?
We would love to! But at the moment I am focused 200% on introducing the shop and what we do to Australia. I couldn’t be more excited about this opportunity and am hoping to gain the loyalty and enthusiasm from customers there as we have here in NYC.
Interview by Libby Margo