THE Margaret River chocolate company and its 36 year-old production manager Matt Zimmermann are enjoying the sweet smell and taste of success after they dominated the 2017 Perth Royal Show’s chocolate competition.
Show competition judges awarded 17 gold and 10 silver medals to the company’s creations with every one of their entries gaining an award.
Innovative chocolate conceptions such as chilli cashew with sichuan pepper, a Canadian “smores” style chocolate bar, gingerbread spice and dark chocolate truffles, gin and tonic, dark ale and espresso martini brought home gold.
Favourites such as peanut butter caramel, cookies and cream, Cointreau and a unique smoked maple with bacon bits were among many other of the company’s entries that also received a prized gold medal.
For Mr Zimmermann and his staff the process of creating the chocolate is a labour of love.
A pastry chef by trade, Mr Zimmermann has been the production manager at the company for 11 years.
According to Mr Zimmermann a traditional cooking background is essential to being a creator of quality chocolates.
“You have to have the passion and patience necessary for the creative process,” Mr Zimmerman said.
“The process can be frustrating, it’s very hit or miss and a lot of it is just trial and error.
“Sometimes it can take a month or so to get a particular chocolate the way we want it and other times it can all come together very quickly within a day or two.
“We often look at the latest trends for inspiration particularly what’s popular in Europe but sometimes we just try interesting combinations.
“What you’re aiming for is the chocolate to be tempered and set correctly in the right conditions and to also achieve a good clean snap.
“When the sugar compound of the chocolate and the crystals are superior you will get a good snap which is one of the criteria the judges looks for.”
The production manager said chocolate fillings are judged on their smoothness, flavor profile and aftertaste.
“For a good result it’s critical that that your chocolate tempers and sets correctly and we use polycarbonate plastic moulds and the chocolate is placed in our coolroom which is kept at a constant 19-20 degrees celcius.
“A clean air flow in and around the chocolate’s moulds is also an essential prerequisite.”
By Andrew Carter