Design your own chocolate with Chocolab


Who doesn’t love chocolate?

Well imagine being able to create the chocolate bar of your dreams. It’s true, you can do it with Chocolab! You really can be just like Willy Wonka.

To start with you select the type of Belguim chocolate base you want to use – milk, white or dark. Then you can select from hundreds of ingredients to create your own unique personalised bar. You can create your decadent chocolate bar with up to five ingredients like spices, fruit, biscuits, nuts and all your favourite sweets from childhood.

I went with a dark chocolate base, and added cinnamon, passionfruit powder, Ovalteenies, raspberries, and candied orange peel.


My customised chocolate bar arrived in the post and I couldn’t wait to try it.

It was super delicious. The chocolate was first class and smooth. I was happy with my selection – the flavours married together well.

You could create a chocolate bar for Mother’s day, give them out as Wedding favours, or simply buy one for yourself.

Design your own chocolate and have it delivered direct to your door by express post. Head over to and create the bar of your dreams.

Nickel Kitchen and Bar opens


When you walk into the Nickel Kitchen and Bar you’ll be drawn to the amazing chandelier which is made from wine glasses. A nod to the owners’ famous Craggy Range winery in New Zealand.

The décor is opulent industrial meets art deco monochrome. The black and white photography on the walls are taken from their family owned and operated winery. There is a huge bookcase with wine bottles and off to the side is a massive bar.

The menu is inspired by New York and the owner TJ Peabody is aiming to bring the concept of the brunch trend to Brisbane. In America brunch isn’t just a meal between breakfast and lunch but an all-day affair.

The ingredients are sourced from among the best of Australian produce, including chickens are from the Barossa Valley and line caught fish of the day. The menu is designed to be egalitarian with a snack menu available all day.  There are classic dishes with a little bit of a modern twist. The classic Caesar salad is made at the table.

Nickel aims to bring back memories of dining out from your childhood, when you dressed up and went out with your parents for special occasions.

Nickel Kitchen and Bar is located at 757 Ann Street in the Fortitude Valley.


Product Review: Naturally Nood bars

Naturally Nood bars

I am currently on the hunt for a good convenient healthy snack bar.

Naturally Nood bars are produced by the well-known Australian company Sanitarium.

I packed them in my lunchbox to have for a morning and afternoon snack. The reality is I ate them both at the same time because I was so hungry and they were too delicious!

The first one I tried was called Cocoa Lamington and it contained all natural ingredients like dates, cashews, coconut, raisins, and cocoa. It was all chocolate to me.

The second one was just as yummy and called  Cocoa-Orange-Tango. It was packed with ingredients such as cashews, dates, orange juice, cocoa, apple juice, apple fibre, and vegetable oil.

The good points about these bars are that they contain zero added sugar, they aren’t baked and there are no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.

I bought mine from the local supermarket so they are easy to find. They contain a little under 20 carbs.

Just be a little careful of the hard nuts and eat mindfully. If you read the fine print you’ll discover they are made in Thailand.

Enjoy in moderation, as they like to say.


Product Review: Paleo Crunch bar

Paleo Crunch Raw Cacao bar

My local greengrocer stocks these new Paleo Crunch bars on their counter. They are made in the Czech Republic for a Swedish company. I bought one to try for under a fiver.

They contain 100 per cent raw organic dates, cacao, almonds, cashew, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, vanilla and Himalayan salt. The good thing is they are gluten-free and a healthier alternative to chocolate bars.



Restaurant Review: Chester Street Bakery and Bar

Chester Street sign

Chester Street Bakery and Bar has reopened to the public today. It will be a sourdough bakery by day and a neighbourhood bar by night.

Chester Street outside

I was fortunate enough to be invited to Chester Street for a sneak peak at a test kitchen. The restaurant was only open to friends and family and media to allow staff to perfect the dishes and gain valuable feedback.

Chester Street oven

The bakery is fitted out with a combination of new and rustic furniture. But the main attraction is an impressive cobalt-blue wood-fired oven which bakes the bread.

In the last couple of weeks, while the bakers have been learning to perfect the bread, they held an honesty box system, where locals could exchange their loose change for a loaf. What a novel idea.

Chester Street pork main

For my main plate I couldn’t resist trying the wood roasted pork belly. It was two generous slices of soft pork with cubes of apple and quince, on a bed of radicchio leaves. It had a lovely sauce with hints of anise and citrus.

Chester Street chocolate cake

The chocolate and almond cake was moist and soft and came with a delicious light and airy expresso creme fraiche.

Chester Street bread

Bread is baked daily and starts from $6 a loaf. There is currently a choice of Classic Sourdough, Olive and Rosemary, Walnut Sourdough, Rustic Fruit, Seven Grain Loaf and Roman Style Pizza’s.

Breakfast is also available and you can choose from doughnuts, granola, rhubarb and pear compote, frittata, sweet and savory muffins, baguettes, fish cakes, fruit salad, savory galette, and pecan scrolls.

We took home a loaf of sourdough. It has a mild sour taste and robust texture – it’s so nice I wish we  lived in the neighbourhood, because I would eat this bread every day if I could.

Chester Street Bakery and Bar
32a Chester Street
Newstead, Brisbane

Chester Street on Urbanspoon

Thank you to Chester Street Bakery and Bar for inviting us to their test kitchen. 

Taste test: AntiOx chocolate

AntiOx Chocolate

I recently had the good fortune of taste testing AntiOx Chocolate. I really enjoyed the Acai blend which claims to be very high in antioxidants. Any true chocoholic will sing the virtues of their vice, including myself. The chocolate bar was 70% cocoa and sweetened with Stevia. I am usually not a big fan of stevia products because sometimes they are overpowering, but they have got the balance right this time. I happily scoffed the whole bar in a couple of days.

The blocks come in Goji berries and Acai flavours, which are both powerful superfoods. AntiOx Chocolate have a RRP $4.65 for an 80g block. They also come in 40g snack bars based on wholegrains and superfoods. All products are available in the health section of Woolworths, Coles, IGA stores and health food stores.

Getting started in Honey Bees

We were interested in keeping bees, so I decided to do a little research. We attended an “Introduction to Natural Beekeeping” course by Tim Auld from All You Can Eat Gardens. It was great to see a top bar bee hive in action.

Natural beekeeping is based on the principles:

  1. Interference in the natural lives of the bees is kept to a minimum
  2. Nothing is put into the hive that is known to be, or likely to be harmful either to the bees, to us or to the wider environment and nothing is taken out that the bees cannot afford to lose.
  3. The bees know what they are doing: our job  is to listen to them and provide the optimum conditions for their well-being.

He recommends the following books:

You will need the following equipment:

  • Hive
  • Smoker
  • Hive tool
  • Protective clothing
  • Extractors – expensive, but can be hired when you need the honey

Tim Auld sells top bar bee hives.

You can buy these altogether as a package to save some money. Suggested suppliers include:

In Queensland, you need to register your hive with the Department of Primary Industries. You are  only allowed 2 hives per 1000m2.

Books and resources

Restaurant review: Montrachet


The day of our special occasion, we received a text asking to confirm our reservation. We both appreciated the small touches of good old fashioned customer service.

We were looking forward to dining at Montrachet in Paddington and dressed up for the event.

Of course, it has a very French decor with red leather chairs and benches. The tables are crowded up against each other to make the most of the available floor space. It wasn’t full on a Monday night, but there were only a handful of empty tables.

The waiters and waitresses were attentive and wore cute stripped waistcoats.

The menu is very French and we started with entrees of:

Escargots en Cocotte – Snails baked in little pots with garlic butter, tomato, spinach and topped with puff pastry lids
A very generous serve with 3 snails in each pot (so in total 9 snails).

Bouillon RichelieuxFoie gras with a trio of ravioli: chicken and black truffle; Prawn; beetroot and goat cheese cooked in a beetroot broth
Melt in your mouth pasta pockets.


Followed by mains of:

Bouillabaisse – Reef fish, scallops, fresh green prawns and scored cuttlefish served in a rich seafood broth with aioli and garlic French toast
Large pieces of fresh seafood in a divine tomato based soup.

Canard aux Deux Façons – Confit roasted duck leg and roasted duck breast served with a pea and vegetable ragoût
Crispy skin with moist meat in a sauce of summer vegetables.

And perfect homemade Pommes Frites (potato chips). I normally like them cut thin, but I guess most Australian like them thick as they were served.

Sadly we were too full to be tempted by the chocolate truffles, Grand Marnier souffle, crème brûlée, or the french cheeses.

You can also eat at the marbled comptoir (counter).

The opening hours are not what you’d expect, but civilized for the staff. Lunches are Monday – Friday from 12.00pm and Dinners are Monday – Thursday from 6.00pm.

Please leave your jeans at home!

Highly recommended.

224 Given Terrace
Paddington Q 4064
Phone: 07 3367 0030

Montrachet on Urbanspoon