Meet the Gold Coast chocolatier of Poppy's Chocolate
Meet the Gold Coast chocolatier of Poppy's Chocolate
Who doesn’t love chocolate? And ahead of our (and many other) absolute favourite worldly-celebrated days, (ahem World Chocolate Day), we speak to a local chocolatier who has not only taken the Gold Coast by storm, but plans to tackle the world chocolate market soon! You may know Lynda Pedder of Poppy’s Chocolate, as she has a chocolate factory at Beenleigh and shopfront at Robina Kitchens. Read on to find out a bit more about her and how you should spend World Chocolate Day… hint… it involves eating!
Tell us about your career to date.
We started the chocolate business in 2005 and had a factory at Beenleigh and also opened a chocolate café at Pacific Fair called Choclicious at the same time. It was the first chocolate café in South East Queensland. I sold that in 2011 after the GFC put an end to our franchising plans but I kept going with the chocolates. I opened a shop, and then café at Robina Town Centre in 2016 but the best part of this journey has been the development and growth of our online store after we finally figured out how to ship chocolates successfully!
What has been your greatest achievement?
I like to think keeping my dare devil son alive until at least 18 years old. I think it is being able to independently provide for my three children through building a successful business. That really has only come to fruition after 15 years of very hard work and turning things around from almost closing down forever at the start of COVID to multiplying our original business and now selling chocolates all over Australia and soon internationally!
If you had to recommend a quick baking recipe including chocolate, what would it be?
I like to cook Anzac cookies with chocolate in them. Something else I have made which was really delicious and easy was a chocolate block wrapped in filo pastry and baked – OMG delicious!
What do you love the most about chocolate?
The taste just takes you away from reality for a few moments. Chocolate just makes everything better! It is seriously the best food in the world.
What is your favourite chocolate flavour and why?
Gosh – that is so hard for me. We make a caramel chocolate rocky road with freeze dried strawberries, almonds, coconut and marshmallows and I think it is the best thing I have ever tasted.
How do you recommend people celebrate World Chocolate Day?
Eat lots of chocolate and visit Poppy’s Chocolate of course!
What are your Gold Coast favourites…
Café: I actually only go to Poppy’s Chocolate café!
Coffee spot: My fave spot would be Burleigh Heads Surf Club
Restaurant: Mad Asian at Robina
Bar or pub for a drink: The Sporting Globe Bar and Grill
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!
Prepare yourselves Gold Coast, flavour explosion incoming. Mad Asian Kitchen and Bar, which gets a solid A plus for naming efforts, swung open its’ doors in Robina this week and it’s everything you love about Asian food in the one stylin’, low lit venue.
The space can be found in The Kitchens, Robina Town Centres’ ever-expanding foodie destination of choice but it’s quite unlike any other shopping centre eats you’ve ever experienced.
The vibe of the venue is distinctly Asian inspired with lanterns hanging from the ceiling, dark wooden seating and a backlit bar with all your favourite tipples atop the shelves (and then some). The kitchen is open so you can watch the masters at work and there are two private dining sections, one sunken into the floor and one in a private room complete with it’s own neon sign shining from above. We’re in love.
There’s an outdoor eating area with fairy lights strung above, plenty of greenery throughout and GUESS WHAT – there’s a ping pong table and you can play while you eat (or maybe after, whatever suits).
The menu is of the contemporary Asian persuasion bringing a mix of all the best things from China, Japan, Malaysia and Vietnam, offering up an array of exceptional dishes, from gyoza and kushiage to rice and noodle favourites, stir fries, curries, and sizzling specialties.
Definitely taste test the Spicy Tuna and Fried Lotus Root with cucumber, avocado, red onion and chilli mayo and the Vegetable San Choy Bau. So very good.
Keen to risk your dignity for a crack at the Hot Asian Food Challenge? You’ll be presented with a feast of fiery dishes chosen by the chef and your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to finish them in 20 minutes. Let us know how that goes hey.
Of course, the drinks menu is nothing short of sensational with a sweet selection of both hot and cold sakes to get you in the spirit. The signature cocktails are fun too and we think you should sample the Mad Asian – it’s Frangelico and Cointreau with cranberry and yuzu juice served with frozen sake crush. Yes please.
Soon there’ll be themed sake nights and that sounds right up everyone’s alley.
Robina hey, coming up with the goods. Get on it.
LOCATION: Upstairs at The Kitchens, Robina Town Centre, Robina
HOURS: 11am until 9pm Sunday to Thursday and 11am until 9.30pm Friday and Saturday
Words and photos by Kirra Smith