WHILE Melbourne’s coffee culture is undeniable, you would be entirely forgiven for believing that our city has also succumbed to an ongoing affair with chocolate.
High-end chocolatiers such as Koko Black, Max Brenner, Cacao and San Churro offer dusted truffles, smooth ganaches, pralines and impossibly thick chocolate drinks in boutique cafés.
Swiss chocolatier Lindt is the latest to join the fray, with a new flagship store at 271 Collins St. It’s a near perfect location – patrons walk past Tiffany & Co, and through the grand, classical style columns of Collins Street’s heritage building.
Ice-cream, chocolate and decorations galore
Having been to the Lindt cafes in Sydney, I was ready to be swept off my feet in a cocoa-induced love in the comfort of my own ‘hood.
But – despite the swish interior accented in gold and brown, the displays of artisan chocs behind the glass, mini-tubs of Lindt ice-cream and rows of royal blue and gold boxes – the Lindt Chocolat Café didn’t quite win my affections.
The café was a little like a glamourous paramour who turned out to be slightly underwhelming in person.
I’m not quite sure what to put the lack of chemistry down to.
Perhaps it was the frightfully long queue and harried table service, as my companion and I were there on a Saturday shortly after the July opening.
Or the fact that the opera cake – layers of coffee butter cream and almond sponge soaked in coffee syrup, topped with dark chocolate ganache – seemed slightly dry. For a touch of decadence, though, the slice did come adorned with a 23 carat gold leaf.
Recipe for success?
We also sampled the lava cake, which fared better – generous spoonfuls of rich chocolate sauce complimented a cake with a good cocoa balance, with a warm molten centre – all accompanied by vanilla ice cream and raspberry and chocolate sticks.
The Hot Chocolate is served in a ceramic pot of melted Lindt goodness, with a small jug of warmed milk, so you can mix the thickness of your beverage to your liking.
Thanks for coming
Perhaps our picks weren’t the menu’s best – I’ve heard the orange chocolate cake, with dark chocolate pieces embedded in an almond and orange body, and macerated with Grand Marnier is simply swoon-worthy.
The café also serves non-chocolate breakfast and lunch items including paninis, croissants with preserves and pain au raisin ($5.50 – $12), and retails the full range of Lindt products, boxed and beribboned.
Hopefully the cocoa dust settles, and we’ll try the Lindt Chocolat Café again… all for the love of chocolate.
Lindt Chocolat Café
271 Collins St
Melbourne VIC 3000