Melbourne’s Attica Has Turned Its Finest Dishes Into A $450 Box Of Chocolate
— 1 September 2022

Melbourne’s Attica Has Turned Its Finest Dishes Into A $450 Box Of Chocolate

— 1 September 2022
Chris Singh
WORDS BY
Chris Singh

Regularly rated as one of the best restaurants in the world, Attica in Melbourne commands a sense of occasion each time someone walks off Glen Eira road and into the well-dressed dining room. As far as upscale restaurants in Australia go, few have managed to build acclaim as consistently as Ben Shewry’s modern-Australian fine diner. Strict adherence to provenance is a big part of this success, but so is a clear desire to be different. And really, there’s not much in Australia’s dining scene as different right now as Attica hooking up with Australian chocolatier Koko Black to turn the restaurant’s most famous dishes into rich, indulgent chocolates.

It’s an odd collaboration and a bit of a risk for both brands. Koko Black has teamed with Australian labels like Four Pillars and Black Star Pastry before. But, at least to my knowledge, nothing like this has been attempted to date. Both brands have fused their respective signatures to create a limited edition chocolate degustation gift box dubbed “Stories in Chocolate by Ben Shewry.” With 10 “courses” of chocolates, it’s worth no less than $450.

Some are appropriately lush and unique, some are just incredibly rich and some will be very divisive.

I know because I tasted them down in Melbourne earlier this week, getting a bit of insight into the collaboration and its context by pairing some of Shewry’s signature dishes with the chocolates they inspired.

If you’re the type to go around ticking off bucket list restaurants and have already run through Attica several times then you’d already be familiar with some of Shewry’s most inspired signatures like ‘A Simple Dish of Potato Cooked in the Earth it was Grown’ and the hefty, deliciously crispy lamb brick (saltbush encrusted lamb shoulder). Both of those have their own chocolate versions now but, ironically enough, despite them being the best savoury dishes on the menu they aren’t the best chocolates in the box.

Ever tasted lamb floss in chocolate? High concept, but divisive as hell.

Attica’s ‘Secret Basque Cheesecake’ has been turned into a sure-shot winner, as has the ‘Lily Pilly Ripe’ – a rainforest cherry and coconut rough. The finger lime clouds are some of the best chocolates I’ve tasted in Australia. As for the ‘Benmite and Crackers’ – based on Shewry’s own version of vegemite. which he created because he apparently can’t stand the yeasty spread – it’s going to be a love-it-or-hate-it situation (I loved it, you might hate it).

Attica x Koko Black Chocolate

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But the finest of them all is ‘Plight of the Bees,’ based on the dessert of the same name which in 2013 was named one of the most complex in the world. The actual dish comprises a honeycomb pattern on freeze-dried apple shavings with skins of poached pumpkin blended with fennel ice, mango and cracked meringue. The chocolate version is a masterpiece, oozing a muted locally sourced spotted gum honey cream blended with lemon curd, mandarin ganache and chocolate crisp that isn’t overly sweet and is slightly herby on the palate.

Shewry worked with Koko Black’ Remco Brigou to bring these ambitious concept chocolates to life. Although they will only be available in a very limited capacity. The collaboration has pumped out just 1,000 of these chocolate gift boxes, each designed for two people with 10 courses of chocolate. As above, you’re looking at $450 for the package, which comes with a designer plate and, as a nod to Attica’s high standards, a Marlux pepper mill.

The Attica x Koko Black chocolate box includes:

● Course one: Benmite and Crackers
● Course two: Terroir
● Course three: An Ode To A Simple Dish Of Potato, Cooked In The Earth Which It Was Grown
● Course four: Plight of the Bees
● Course five: The Lamb Brick AKA The Dish That Saved Attica
● Course six: Attica’s Secret Baked Cheesecake
● Course seven: Finder Lime Clouds
● Course eight: Croc Fat Caramel
● Course nine: Lilly Pilli Ripe
● Course 10: The Pukeko’s Egg

Pre-orders for the full degustation chocolate box open from September 5 online. But if you can’t justify parting with $450, three of the standout chocolates have been packaged up and are being sold for $20 each via Koko Black. That’s the Finger Lime Clouds, Ben’s Rocky Road and the exceptional Plight of the Bees. All three Attica x Koko Black Chocolate releases are also sold as a “gift cube” for $65.

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Chris Singh
WORDS by
Chris is a freelance Travel, Food, and Technology writer. He has had work published by The AU Review, Junkee Media and Australian Traveller Media and holds tertiary qualifications in Psychology and Sociology.

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