Since 2005, Jodie Van Der Velden and her team at Josophan's Fine Chocolates have been perfecting and expanding their craft as talented chocolatiers in the little town of Leura in the Blue Mountains. It was only a matter of time before visiting Sydney-siders begged the team to move closer to home. It's easy to rush past this little store hidden on the corners of King and York Street.
Just like its signature ganache-filled gourmet chocolates, the tiny store is deceptively discreet but full of delicious surprises inside. Josophan's fine chocolates are made on base in Leura with sustainable fair trade certified Callebaut Belgian couverture chocolate, along with French boutique manufacturer Michel Cluizel's single plantation chocolate.
They have made a name for themselves as a pioneer in matching usual fresh ingredients with scrumptious results. Forget plain white, milk and dark chocolates. Customers can choose from a range of combinations such as strawberry and balsamic, honey and saffron, mango and chilli or caramel, pineapple and coconut ($1.90 each). They even have a dairy and gluten free chocolate on offer; a hazelnut praline with caramelised crunchy cacao nibs, dipped in dark chocolate. If you must choose only one handcrafted chocolate, make it the award-winning basil and lime encased in rich dark chocolate.
There is a wide range of chocolate goodies on offer to take home also. The staff always have a sample of one of their chocolate blocks or slabs on offer and don't even mind if you go in for seconds. Bags of chocolate covered homemade honeycomb (45g $4.75, 95g $7.95), almond and orange crunch (80g $7.95) as well as a range of drinking chocolates (250g $16.95) are displayed on silver cake stands or French cabinets under a glistening chandelier. The self-proclaimed best ice cream topping in the world, a chocolatery, crunchy mix of deliciousness to sprinkle over ice cream, in original, caramel, orange and strawberry flavours might just live up to its name (250g $19.95, 125g $9.95). At the very least, it will make the ideal dinner guest gift.
On Friday September 28 the Australia Pastry Team, fresh off a win at the Asian Pastry Cup competition in Singapore, will be remastering their winning chocolate showpiece live in store. If you've ever wondered how a section of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House sails with the obligatory fireworks can be made from chocolate, there's no better time to wander by and marvel at the chocolate on hand.