Easter is the busiest time in a chocolatier's calendar. Or at least it should be. The coronavirus pandemic has pulled the rug out from businesses large and small.
If you have a choice, and you have the means, consider buying from a local artisan chocolatier this year. Not only is the quality superior, you'll be helping a family keep their dream alive.
Chocolaterie Fenelon is open for business, but online only. Melanie Fenelon made the call early to close the doors to her Warners Bay store and is taking orders via the business Facebook page or by phone (0408 116 215). She is considered in the "at risk" group for COVID-19 and is preferring to play it safe in the interests of her own health and that of her customers.
"I'm doing contactless home deliveries within a 10-kilometre radius of the store," she told Food & Wine. "If people want anything for Easter this is the only a way I can do it. I'm hoping I will survive until all the shops go back to normal. Time will tell."
Cocoa Nib is open for business at The Junction Fair but has unfortunately had to close its Pokolbin store until further notice. Their store is jam-packed with Easter products: think hand-painted Easter eggs; dinosaur eggs with a chocolate dinosaur in each egg; unicorn eggs with chocolate unicorns inside; rocky road eggs; and caramelised coconut eggs. If government restrictions tighten further, home delivery might be available. Just ask by phoning 4998 7350 or visiting cocoanib.com.au. Owner, pastry chef Aymee Slaviero, ran a successful stall at The Olive Tree Markets before opening a shop at Keith Tulloch Wines in 2015.
Coco Monde Chocolateria and Cafe on Newcastle's Darby Street is also open and has a hand-crafted Easter collection, with vegan and gluten-free options available. Hours: 11am to 7pm Monday to Saturday, 11am to 4pm on Sunday.
Donarch Fine Chocolate's Easter range can only be described as stunning. Check it out on their Facebook page or online at donarchfinechocolate.com.au. Phone 4202 9721 to order.
And then there's Cupcake Espresso at Adamstown and Caked by Beck, who are delivering DIY Easter cupcake decorating kits to your home. Visit their respective websites to order.
Myrtle & Pepper Fine Chocolate are taking some well-deserved time out and are not open for Easter this year.