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Wendy Hargreaves: The best places in Victoria to cure your chocolate cravings

By WENDY HARGREAVES

Want an excuse to eat chocolate? Tomorrow (September 13) is International Chocolate Day (marking the birth date of chocolate tycoon Milton S. Hershey in 1857). Of course, this day shouldn’t be confused with World Chocolate Day on July 7, Milk Chocolate Day on July 28, or White Chocolate Day on September 22.

But then, who needs an excuse to enjoy our world-class chocolate shops? Here are five of the best ways to cure your chocolate craving.

HAIGH’S PEPPERMINT CHOCOLATE FROGS

Shop 7-8 Block Arcade, 282 Collins St, Melbourne

If you can walk through the Block Arcade without grabbing a bag of dark chocolate peppermint frogs from Haigh’s ($12.95 for 140g), you’ve clearly not eaten these legendary treats before. Available in milk and dark chocolate and giant 375g sizes ($26.95).

ROCKY ROAD AT RATIO COCOA ROASTERS

186 Sydney Rd, Brunswick

This is no ordinary rocky road. Ratio studs its made-from-scratch dark chocolate with pistachios, Turkish delight and house-made vanilla marshmallow, with rose petals sprinkled on top ($6.50). Watch chocolatier Debb Makin at work in this store/factory, or book a tour to get a close-up view of the action.

CRUNCHY NUT CLUSTERS AT YARRA VALLEY CHOCOLATERIE

35 Old Healesville Rd, Yarra Glen

Weekends at this chocolate mega-store can be a tad overwhelming, but it’s worth any crowd stress to get your hands on a box of crunchy nut clusters – golf ball-sized spheres of freshly-roasted Australian cashews, macadamias and slithered almonds smothered in smooth milk chocolate (3 for $9.95). Grab a free scoop of chocolate buds on your way out.

SMOKED SALT CHOCOLATE AT INDULGE, BENDIGO

Shop 26, Bendigo Bank Central, Bendigo

Hayley Tibbett has a cult following for her beautifully-crafted chocolates, all hand made at her shop in central Bendigo. Work your way through the pretty cabinet, but don’t miss trying a block of Hayley’s smoked salt chocolate ($5), a perfect balance of savoury and sweet using locally-harvested Pyramid Salt. You’ll never stop at one square.

HOT CHOCOLATE AT MORK BREW HOUSE

150 Errol St, North Melbourne

A cult fixture at Mork since the brew house opened in 2015, campfire hot chocolate is the brainchild of founder Josefin Zernell and her childhood memories of drinking chocolate by a fire in Sweden. Her dark 70 per cent cacao drinking chocolate is poured over a glass filled with maplewood smoke, and served with a freshly-toasted house-made vanilla bean marshmallow and a dash of charcoal salt. It’s a sensory explosion, and worth every bit of $10. PS… Mork means dark in Swedish.

Wendy writes online at fiveofthebest.com

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