It’s International Chocolate Day on Sunday this weekend, and Melbourne is not short on supply of vegan chocolate options. I must admit, chocolate is one of my favourite foods and I’m always stumbling across delicious chocolatey vegan desserts, hot drinks, gelato and blocks or morsels in my vegan travels.
The basics of chocolate – cacao – originated in the Americas and there are reports of chocolate being introduced to Europe in the 1500’s. Chocolate was originally consumed as a hot beverage, often flavoured with a savoury taste, chilli in particular. Fast-forward to the present, chocolate has become one of the most popular sweet indulgences globally which means meeting demand may involve child labour and poor working conditions. The key to avoid supporting these practices is to choose ethically-sourced, fair trade brands.
Vegan versions of chocolate are generally not processed using animal-based ingredients including milks and butters, and there’s no shortage of vegan chocolate treats to be found in Melbourne. On this weekend’s International Chocolate Day, taste the many vegan chocolate options that Melbourne locations are serving up!
Warming Vegan Hot Chocolate
Get back to chocolate’s origins with a silky smooth and warming vegan hot chocolate. Some of my favourite hot chocolates have stemmed from those places that make their own hot chocolate sauce and chocolate dustings. House-made chocolate sauce means you’re sipping on an ultimate hot chocolate experience. Snuggle in the intimate surrounds of Soulpod Foods in Croydon South for their housemade organic raw cacao hot chocolate. Make the experience a little longer by ordering a large mug. Other noteworthy and intimate locales, to seek warmth with a hot chocolate are The laughing Owl in Belgrave or Conscious Cravings Co in Moorooduc.
Smooth and Rich Vegan Chocolate Gelato
Australia is one of the world’s biggest consumers of icecream and Melbourne is known for its many gelato spots. Finding vegan chocolate gelato is easy to find. Discover Gelato Messina in Richmond, Fitzroy and Windsor for its dark and rich chocolate sorbet. There’s the velvety smooth ‘mousse’ flavour at Miinot Gelato in Pascoe Vale, partnered perfectly with their avocado fig flavour. Black Waffle in Northcote scoops up a decadent vegan dark chocolate flavour on crispy waffle cones, best served with a scoop of their vegan hazelnut flavour. Suitably positioned near the beach in St Kilda, Piccolina Gelateria is another delicious spot to try their vegan chocolate gelato. Vegan waffle cones feature here, too.
Cute and Sweet Chocolate Cupcakes
Nothing is sweeter and cuter than a chocolate cupcake, anointed with drippings of syrup and layers of fluffy frosting. Head to what I think is Melbourne’s lushest vegan cake destination, Mister Nice Guy’s Bake Shop in Ascot Vale. Among the 14 cupcakes with chocolate bases, my go-to is the Snickers flavour topped in caramel and chocolate sauce and crushed peanuts. If a trip to Ascot Vale isn’t possible, a next go-to would be Cupcake Central where a small number of vegan cupcake options are ready for the taking. If you’re lucky enough, you might just find a vegan black forest flavour, complete with cherry topping and dusting. There are various locations around Melbourne.
Piping Hot Calzone ‘Nutella’
Melbourne is well-known for its Italian food and Shop 225 in Pascoe Vale South is a spot to grab vegan versions of their pizzas as well as a vegan Calzone Nutella. Owners of Shop 225 have created and sell their own brand of hazelnut spread, namely Local Craft. It’s an all-vegan spread that is used to prepare their signature chocolate dessert. Calzone Nutella arrives piping hot to the table with a side of homemade strawberry gelato. Cut into the crispy calzone ‘pastry’ to find a volcano of Local Craft just waiting to ooze out. Jars of Local Craft are available to purchase and take home.
Handmade Vegan Chocolates and Desserts
Only Mine in Olinda is one of Melbourne’s ultimate chocolate experiences. It involves taking a scenic drive in to The Dandenong Ranges to Only Mine’s chocolate factory where all chocolate products are handmade onsite. Plus, there are some delectable vegan chocolate dessert options to try while you’re there. An assortment of exquisite chocolates can be sampled and packaged up in gift boxes to take home to friends. Hand-painted domes filled with delicious fillings like lemon and peppermint or Himalayan salted lime are some of the vegan choices on hand. Fudge brownies or self-saucing chocolate puddings can be served with a side of vegan icecream and fresh strawberries. Just don’t miss out on their hot chocolate, complete with a vegan marshmallow.
Back to Basics with Blocks of Vegan Chocolate
If you’re someone who just wants to relish in the simple pleasure of biting into a block of chocolate, then head to The Cruelty Free Shop in Fitzroy. They have a stash of vegan blocks of chocolate ready to purchase, from Pico Chocolate in Sea Salt or Mint Crisp flavours, Chocolate Yogi Oscars filled with caramel, Bite Society chocolate balls, Wildcrafted mandalas, or the cult vegan bar Vego which have just released their almond white version. What I love about The Cruelty Free Shop’s online store is that they have a ‘chocolate’ category. It’s a chocolate paradise for any chocolate lover!
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