Labour of love: former journalist Jessica Brookes is dedicated to the chocolate cause. Photo: Harrison Saragossi
Locals who have been pressing their noses hungrily against the window for the past few weeks will be very happy to hear that Brisbane's newest chocolate shop, Couverture, is finally opening its doors.
The Red Hill store is owned by former journalist Jessica Brookes, who trained with Melissa Atkinson of the former Bittersweet Chocolate Boutique at the Barracks. She, in turn learned her chocolate-craft from her mother-in-law, Ann Atkinson. Sadly, Ann Atkinson passed away in 2010, but her legacy lives on in a new generation of chocolatiers.
Chocolate-making in Brisbane is, Brookes points out, a labour of love. While the city is experiencing an unseasonably early spring, inside Couverture the temperature is a steady 18 degrees and she's in long sleeves.
“The biggest problem with making chocolate in Brisbane is the humidity, " Brookes says. “If it's not lower than 50 per cent the chocolates can start sweating or won't set properly.”
Brookes says she has been working around the clock, tweaking recipes and making stock for the opening.
She's starting off with a range of 12 flavours, all based on Callebaut chocolate, including an orange and poppyseed variety filled with a white chocolate ganache dipped in dark chocolate, and a white-chocolate infused variety flavoured with tonka beans, as well as a subtle, banoffee-pie inspired chocolate.
There's also two medjool date chocolate varieties, one filled with coffee cream then double-dipped in dark chocolate, the other filled with a candied-orange cream. Both are an homage to the time Brookes spent working in Oman.
Then, there's a posh version of Milo, designed for kids but likely to appeal to a few grown-ups too.
Brookes says she intends to rotate the range and to experiment with some slightly more "out-there" combinations in the future.
Couverture will open this Saturday August 17.
Couverture, 19a Enoggera Terrace, Red Hill.