It’s no secret that I am addicted to chocolate. I keep it everywhere. Even as I sit here writing, I have some by my side. So when cheesemaker Peter from Comboyne Culture pointed me in the direction of Tash from Babalila Chocolates (located by the picturesque maze at Bago Vineyards’ tasting room, just over an hour north… just in case you’re looking for something kid and adult friendly during these summer holidays), I didn’t hesitate.
Like her chocolate, Tash’s background is rich and colourful (Baba is ‘grandmother’ in Russian. Lila was Tash’s mother, a Shanghai Russian prior to migrating to Australia. And her father? He was a Russian opera singer, singing to the masses. As I said… a colourful background!). So tapping into both her Russian and Australian heritage, the flavours and textures in her fondants are complex and… well, wonderful. Is it possible that history and the use of simple ancestral family utensils can add that extra sense of something special?
But how does history account for the delectable flavours of local Australian native spices (sourced from nearby Barbushco, coincidentally another Artisan Farmer story – I love how the trail leads from one to another to another to another. Reveals a strong local business community, supporting one another in an immense world).
I’m not too proud to confess I buckled under the pressure of proximity and slipped a bit in here and there on the side. Unfortunately, once I’d started it was hard to stop. But it’s important, ahhhh, isn’t it, to get to know the products intimately? So, you know, one must do what one must do…
So thanks Tash for your generosity in sharing both your story, technique, and your delicious product! I left your corner of paradise heavier, wiser, and undoubtedly happier!