Being a chocolatier doesn’t sound like a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it! Alicia Chapman is the local we all need to be friends with who “works” with chocolate everyday, at least since she founded her handcrafted and bespoke artisian chocolate business, Little Cocoa in 2018.
Based in Southport, Alicia supplies weddings, business events, dinner parties and to the public for Mother’s Day, gender reveals, Valentine’s Day or whatever your occasion. However you get your fix, the beautifully presented morsels of goodness are colourful and high-gloss, making an impressive gift… but of course, no judgement for treating yourself. We caught up with Alicia to chat all things chocolate.
How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I’ve lived on the Gold Coast since primary school. After high-school I moved to Melbourne, then Germany and then back to the Gold Coast in 2018 to start my business, Little Cocoa.
What do you love most about living here?
The lifestyle and the scenery. It’s very laid back, you can have coffee’s by the beach which I love. It’s always great weather and the GC is just so beautiful.
Tell us about Little Cocoa.
Little Cocoa is an artisan chocolate business. We handcraft fine chocolate pralines, dragees, bars and more as unique, personalised gifts and indulgences.
Have you always wanted to be a chocolatier?
I was working as a pastry chef for a Melbourne chocolate company which first peaked my interest in chocolate. I then discovered an amazing bean-to-bar chocolate business in Germany. Once I saw and tasted the incredible chocolates they were making, I realised I needed to be a part of it.
What has been the biggest opportunity and/or challenge for Little Cocoa to date?
The hardest part would definitely be the business side of things. I’m a creative and in my past jobs I have always worked behind the scenes, so the marketing and sales are certainly new to me but I enjoy the challenge.
What’s the most popular chocolate in your range?
Everybody loves our gift boxes of chocolate pralines. It’s our signature product and they’re really beautiful to look at. The 12 piece has 5 delicious flavours – salted caramel, raspberry & white chocolate, blackcurrant gelee, milk hazelnut & a dark LiChu ganache.
Tell us about your newly released vegan chocolate range.
We quickly realised that we need to offer chocolates that everyone can enjoy, whether it’s by lifestyle choice or dietary restrictions or allergies. We often get asked about vegan chocolates and we have been making them on the side at customers requests. We decided to launch them to coincide with World Chocolate Day!
What is the process of creating your chocolate for Little Cocoa?
I take a high-quality Belgian couveture chocolate, melt and then temper it. Then it gets poured into our moulds, the fillings are piped in by hand and then covered with a chocolate base. Once set, I can tap them out of the moulds! It’s a lengthy process but certainly worth the effort.
Where can we find your Little Cocoa’s chocolates?
You can find all of our products on our website at www.littlecocoa.com.au or come in and visit us at our commercial kitchen in Southport.
Let us in on a secret, what future plans can you reveal are in place for Little Cocoa?
Our long term goal is to be making our own bean-to-bar chocolate where we buy the dried cocoa beans, then roast, winnow and grind it into our own signature chocolate.
Tell us your favourites on the Coast…
Restaurant for dinner: Iku Yakitori Bar
Bar or pub for a drink: The Cambus Wallace
Café for breakfast: Paddock Bakery
Coffee spot: Caffeine Kings
How does your weekend usually look: In the kitchen!
There is one word that sends 99.9% of us to our happy place and for once, we’re not talking about wine or cocktails. We’re referring to that other guilty pleasure that unites us all….chocolate! It may be enemy #1 to our waistline but whatevs, it’s so good that most of us are happy to have a little more junk in our trunk if it means we can indulge, like, daily.
Because we want it for brekky, lunch and dinner, we’ve put together a list of the most drool-worthy choco dishes on the GC. There are 15 so that means you have 2 weeks and 1 days’ worth of your choccy hit sorted. If you cap yourself to one indulgence per day – but honestly that’s conservative. No judgement here!
A few sandy footsteps from Tally Creek, Custard Canteen – little sis of Bam Bam Bakehouse and Cubby Bakehouse – whips up pastry goodies like a boss. Their cookie cakes are legend-ary and let’s talk about the Quad Choc Cookie because mind=blown. When you pull apart this bad boy you’ll have heavenly choccy goodness oozing here there and everywhere – just the way it should be.
Where: Tallebudgera Recreation Centre, Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach
Ahh Churros, a little slice of heaven…or Spain, but kinda the same thing. Sun Churro offer nine dip-cup sauces to keep you coming back again and again (which we do), but we’re going all-out and ordering a Choc Strawberry Churro Sundae with chocolate ice cream, chocolate fudge and strawberries drizzled in chocolate, topped with churros, choc whipped cream and choc curls.
Where: Biggera Waters or Surfers Paradise
Cowch is conveniently located in Broadbeach’s The Oracle Boulevard so that we swing in and eat our feelings. Get stuck into a Fudge Nut Sundae Bowl with chocolate, caramelised condensed milk (ohmygawd), and cookies & cream gelato, served on fudge sauce-soaked brownie pieces, topped with peanuts, whipped cream and dark chocolate sauce. We’re speechless.
Where: 1 Oracle Boulevard, Broadbeach
Poppy’s Chocolate Robina
When you’re wandering around The Kitchens at Robina, don’t tell us you haven’t picked up a little somethin-somethin from Poppy’s coz we know better. With chocolates and truffles galore, chocolate bark, rocky road (our pick – it’s all-time) and even humble chocolate buttons (we’re getting all nostalgic), the lovely Lynda has you covered. Fun fact: Lynda was even nominated for a Mumpreneur Award last year. Another local done good!
Where: The Kitchens, Ground Level, Shop 4252, Robina Town Centre Dr, Robina
Chocolatier extraordinaire Alicia knows her chocolate, and GC chocco superfans can’t get enough. If you’re after a gift or some seriously crowd-pleasing wedding favours, there are options galore guaranteed to please even the finest connoisseur. Her signature product is the Chocolate Pralines, fine shells of chocolate encasing soft and textured fillings like caramels and ganaches. It’s death by chocolate for us.
Where: 7/10 Bailey Cres, Southport
So imagine if Twix Tacos existed with 2 deep fried Twix bars in a red velvet pancake taco with icecream, brownie salsa and shaved milky bar. Umm they do, and you can wrap your laughing gear around them at Ze Pickle. Famous for its bangin burgers, founding trio Nathan, Aaron and JD do the sweet end of the scale just as masterfully – and originally – as the savoury stuff.
Where: 1/37 Connor St, Burleigh Heads
I mean, who doesn’t heart this place right? With seating in their cottage, garden, rooftop, loft and barn, Paddock is a GC institution. From the milkbar, order a frozen hot chocolate, made with five different types of choc, blended with ice and topped with Nutella, vanilla bean cream and Paddock brownie pieces. Why not pair it with a Raw Snickers Slice and guarantee a chocolate hangover (worth it).
Where: 20 Hibiscus Haven, Burleigh Heads
Kylie’s amazing themed cakes (girlfriend got some skills) and cupcakes are seriously all-time! Her signature black chocolate cupcakes will knock your socks off and with the option to request any theme within reason, you know where to go next when you’re catering for a party. Her pull-apart cakes are something special and your kiddos will go bonkers for anything from this place. Just yes!
Where: 56 Nerang St, Nerang
This place is as delicious to look at as its sweet goodies are to devour. From the beautifully self-branded bottled Nuttellattes to their to-die-for baked treats, coffee and locally made artisan goods, we give it a big thumbs up. With gram-worthy charm from pillar to post, choose from a mouth-watering array of 24 gelato flavours and we’re going with the choc hazelnut. Mmmm.
Where: Sanctuary Cove Marine Village, Shop/39A Masthead Way, Hope Island
D Point Ten
Doughnuts….oh how we love thee! These circles of fried yumminess never fail to a put a smile on our dials and D Point Ten has upped the game. There’s something here for everyone (good luck choosing….) but for the chocoholics among us (hi), let’s go a Reese’s Donut. Or wait, maybe a Gaytime Donut (what a pairing!). Or perhaps a Caramilk?! Oh bugger it, we’re ordering them all.
Where: Southport, Broadbeach, Varsity Lakes, Hope Island
Waffle & Bean Dessert Bar and Patisserie
It’s a new local fave and we can see (and taste) precisely why! Chocolate lovers, you can get your fix and then some, starting with their new Donut Cakes stuffed with Nutella. For those who prefer a gluten free, flour free treat, you’re in luck coz their Chocolate Mud Cake with Caramilk Frosting and Cadbury Flake is so spesh, it makes us gluten-embracing-folk consider jumping the fence.
Where: Shop 11/118 Griffith St, Coolangatta
My French Pastries
An award-winning French bakery that even delivers? Hells yeah! With sweet delicacies for days, Pasty Chef Antonio Marchesi keeps pastries real, authentic and made according to French tradition. That means only the finest French flour, quality butter and it’s all made from scratch. Do yourself a favour and try the Nutella-filled beignets, or their chocolate eclairs but be sure to order a couple because one is never enough.
Where: Shop 5, 4226/361 Robina Pkwy, Robina
Tarte Bakery & Café
In addition to a stellar all day brekky menu (note to self: order the Babka French Toast, a brioche filled with Nutella and chocolate chips, balsamic strawberries and whipped cream), the Tarte crew give good tarte. It’s hard to go past their brownie and sea salt cookies with a gooey, soft centre and cookie-like outside. A staple since the start which has stood the test of time.
Where: 1748 Gold Coast Hwy, Burleigh Heads
Oh My, Waffle
Get your waffle on at this shut-up-good dessert bar. A must try is the Wafflenator and with a name like that, you know you’re in a for a bad ass sweet sensation. A golden waffle topped with crushed Tim Tams, Whittaker’s Creamy Milk Chocolate, ice cream and drizzled with salted caramel sauce…and need we really say anymore? For the next level addicts, add brownie pieces. Oooooooh yeahhhhh!
Where: Shop 6, 1837 Gold Coast Hwy, Burleigh Heads
Aux Fines Bouches
You might have guessed this place is French and LBH, the French do desserts like no-one else. Their cakes are absolute works of art (seriously, we can’t stop marvelling at their beauty), and taste equally next level. We’re giving special shout-outs to their ah-mazing croquembouches and chocolate macaroons which we could eat all day long. And maybe we did….
Where: Unit 2/43 Taree St, Burleigh Heads
Words by Bianca Trathen
Does your mum do that thing where when you ask her what she wants for Mother’s Day (slash birthday, Christmas etc.) she says “nothing darling, I’m just happy to spend the day with you”? Cool ma, but no. Just allow us to shower you in gifts that will never be equal to the fact that you birthed us out of your body.
This Mother’s Day (on Sunday May 10th) is particularly special because many of us won’t be able to spend the day with our Mama’s like we usually would. Which means we need to get an even better present.
So, friends. Here’s a list of local businesses we encourage you to peruse for the perfect gift and maybe buy one of everything because she’s worth it.
Fun fact: over the last few weeks we’ve invested in many a linen loungewear item and it has been the greatest iso choice of all. The best part is, they’re good all the time and you should invest in some for Mum. Local brand Moss Living has everything from luxurious linen robes to stunning dresses, playsuits and of course bedding if you want to splash out. It’s all absolutely beautiful so good luck choosing just one thing. Take a look here.
Little Fisher Co.
HANDBAGS. How good are handbags, so versatile, so pretty, so practical. You know who else is keen on handbags? Mums. You know who makes the loveliest of handbags? Little Fisher Co. Specifically of the Moroccan variety. They are the woven kind with leather straps and they come in both backpacks (convenient) and a larger tote style. Perfect for carrying all the things Mother’s do plus as a little carry on bag for when we can fly again. Love these. Here they are.
Flowers are a thing all Mamas love and they’re an absolutely beautiful gift for yours this Mother’s Day. Huckleberry Flowers are a beloved Gold Coast business who create absolutely magical floral bouquets using both fresh and dried flowers. Choose from SO many types including natives, bold and garden or have the girls put together a dried bunch so she can keep them forever. Find Huckleberry online here (they’re also doing delivery) or grab some from Miami store Heartfill.
It’s Coco & Peach
Since there’s still plenty of sunshine on the Coast (and we’re allowed to have picnics again), why not gift Mum the perfect outdoor umbrella. Coco & Peach have a stunning range including yes, Peaches and Cream that we absolutely adore. There are some with sweet little tassels and some without but all of them are so delightful and definitely the kind of thing you can “borrow” for the day when Mum’s not using it. Find your favourite here.
If locally made ceramics haven’t changed your life yet, allow us to drain your wallet quick smart. One such brand of absolute ceramic gold is Grit Ceramics who create the prettiest of plates, keep cups, bowls etc. in all your favourite Autumn hues (think navy, grey and turquoise). The brand draws its name from the properties of the word grit which means particles of stone or sand, courage and passion for long-term goals. That floats our boat and probably your Mum’s too. Fill up your cart here.
Comfort and Calm
Oh the classic candle. What woman in the world doesn’t already have 57 in her house and a need for many, many more? Comfort and Calm boast a beautiful range of handcrafted candles in scents like Island Living (yes please) and Zest for Life (double yes please). Best. Gift. Ever. They also make the ceramics too, so add a few for Mum why don’t you. Sniff them out here.
Cedar and Stone Botanicals
This is one Gold Coast brand who have become a household name and for good reason. Their earth conscious, organic skincare are divine and the perfect gift for the one you love most. With everything from moisturiser to body oil, essential oils, exfoliant and even handwash, they’ve got Mum covered this Mother’s Day. There are lots of delicious flavours to choose from and we’re pretty sure every single one is worth owning. Wait, buying for Mum. Both. Get every single thing here.
The Beige Studio
Locally created art is our favourite kind of art and we particularly love that of The Beige Studio. Purchase a colour-filled print to adorn Mum’s wall and we guarantee you’ll get plenty of brownie points for these ones guys. Choose to have a commissioned piece done or a print from the online store and either way, you’ll be bringing a smile to the face of everyone involved. Choose your favourite here.
Chocolate. Obviously. But not just any old chocolate, the very best kind. Little Cocoa are the creators of artisan chocolate pralines and let us tell you, they are the goods. Now for Mum you can get a special Mother’s Day box featuring a touch (hand painted) of leopard print plus a little rose gold bling to keep things fancy. There are three tasty types in the box including Espresso Martini, Macadamia Ganache and Passionfruit and White Chocolate and you should probably grab a box for yourself while you’re at it. Get them here.
Happy shopping favourite children, you are welcome.
Words by Kirra Smith
I think we can all agree Japanese food is a gift from the Gods. Particularly when it’s consumed in a floating, recycled railway sleeper booth and with the sweet smell of charcoal wafting through the air.
There probably aren’t enough words to describe the sensory experience that is Burleigh’s new back alley Japanese Yakitori Bar, but in the name of delivering the news, we’ll give it a crack.
Iku Yakitori Bar is the latest baby of local restaurant dream team Mitch and Nerissa McCluskey (of Etsu Izakaya and Commune fame) who will soon be welcoming an actual baby into the world (because sleep is overrated yo).
The vibe is dark and moody with the aforementioned booths floating a foot off the floor opposite the Binchotan (grill) and decked out with leather cushions and cosy, up-close-and-personal feels. At the alley end of the venue, a low-lit bar and velvet corner lounge await and you may dine in any area that tickles your fancy. With an authentic, somewhat massaging cobblestone floor, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d just stepped off the streets of Tokyo. Alas, work tomorrow.
In case you’ve never heard of a yakitori bar, the gist is this – yakitori quite literally translates to grilled chicken and no part of the chook will escape the Binchotan uncooked. That’s right foodies, your boundaries are about to be tested and you should not be sad about it. Thighs, liver, skin, cartilage and hearts will all be skewered for your tasting pleasure.
Tenderloin, seafood and veggies will also be stuck on sticks and there are other delightful things such as edamame dip and raw fish to consume too.
Bar manager extraordinaire Adam Bastow was brought down from Etsu to work his magic in the Japanese whiskey-focused space. He and the team will also be creating a new, fresh produce focused cocktail menu each week to keep you on your toes. Ambitious lot aren’t they.
Charcoal for the Binchotan is imported from Japan and everything from the plates to the leather menus and napkins have been handmade by the team (read: Nerissa). It’s tiring just reading that.
So many words, so many reasons to go. Thanks for reading.
LOCATION: 1730 Gold Coast Hwy (front entrance) or head in through the back on Justin Lane (next to Lockwood Bar).
HOURS: 5pm until late daily.
Words and photos by Kirra Smith.