Thursday, December 09, 2004

Choc-a-block I: Fun n' Games - Max Brenner

Continuing our quest for the best hot chocolate in Melbourne, we arrive at what seems to be the hottest chocolate shop (no pun intended) in town – Max Brenner. Located on the semi-open podium level of the swanky new QV precinct, this is the newest place to see and to be seen. Colourful gift tins with cute cartoons line the walls of this dark chocolate brown chocolate boutique-cum-cafĂ©, where tourists, uni students and shoppers alike sit down for a bit of choco-tainment.

Undoubtedly the most popular and the most fun is the ‘Suckao’. Small pieces of chocolate are served in a small dish of what looks like the top of an oil burner, with a tealight burning underneath, offering heat to melt the chocolate. A small jug of warm milk is served on the side, which is added as the chocolate bits begin to liquefy. This is drunk through a stylish metal straw with a little paddle at the bottom that doubles as a stirrer. This is all so fun and exciting that it’s easy to forget about the actual taste of it all – which is perhaps the point, since by then, the delicate chocolate has probably been unfortunately scorched by the intense heat of the almighty tealight beneath, leaving a grainy pile of inedible mush. You’d be better off giving the job of melting chocolate to the professionals by having some of the snacks they offer, such as a cinnamon scroll with melted chocolate. The scroll is halfway between bread and pastry – the dough is soft but layered and porous. It is not too sweet, allowing the subtle cinnamon to shine through. Cut into bite-sized pieces, dip into the pot of molten chocolate and let the fun begin. The tongue is first met with the intense milky-rich smoothness of the chocolate. Then, as the teeth take their first bites into the scroll, the morsels of bread push the chocolate around the entirety of the mouth. Soon, this chocolate-carb paste is gluing your tongue to the roof of your mouth. It’s a bit like playing in a mud pool in kindy – clumsy, messy, but utterly enjoyable. Max Brenner’s, with its bright colours and low stools is like kindergarten – it’s all fun n’ games. So don’t run home complaining to Mummy that they didn’t give you the best hot chocolate.

Max Brenner
Level 2
25-27 QV Square
Melbourne 3000
Tel: +613 96636000

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