Paris Est Amour: Our 3 Favorite Pastry Shops

Here at Dello Mano, we’re such advocates of handmade luxury food and products. While Dello Mano style is about refined rustic cakes and produce, Paris contines to provide us with inspiration in our commitment to handmade edible luxury. Paris is everything we dreamed about and more! The Parisian flair for creative artistry and distinct taste for opulence are such great influences, that we decided to share with you our love for the city of lights in a series we’ll be calling Paris est amour. Let’s get started with our favorite pastry shops:


Laduree Entrace

Entrance to Laduree in Paris

Brief background:

In 1862, Louis Ernest Ladurée, a miller founded a bakery. After a fire, the bakery was transformed into a pastry shop in 1871, with popular painter Jules Cherét in-charge of the interiors.  With a combination of Parisian-style cafés and French patisserie goodness, the company opened a tea room for women and became one of the pioneers in the area. Ladurée brand further rose to fame when Pierre Desfontaines (grandson of Louis Ernest Ladurée) thought of taking two macaron shells and joining them with ganache filling. The recipe for the ‘double-decker’ has not changed since then. Ladurée has been recognized as a French luxury sweets maker and the brand has also branched out to chocolates (Marquis Ladurée) and candles and home fragrances (Beauté Ladurée).

Fun Fact: The sweet treats Kirsten Dunst was eating in the film Marie Antoinette were from Ladurée, as chosen by director Sofia Coppola.

What we loved: The elegant interiors showed true Parisian flair. Together with the dainty packaging and fine china, it was a very luxurious experience. Of course, the  delectable sweets are amazing. The Strawberry cake in the picture below has to be one of the most precious edibles we have ever seen. We loved too the secrecy. With much fuss about no photography it has to be one of the most photographed food shops in the world.

Must-try products: strawberry tarts, pistachio pain au chocolat, St. Honoré, world-famous macarons (flavors like Fleur d’oranger, licorice, cassis and chocolate yuzu)

Locations: Ladurée Houses can be found in several countries across the globe and is increasing as I type this note. For a complete list of locations click here.

Laduree Interior

Laduree – the glamorous interior

Laduree strawberry

Laduree – most exciting cake.

laduree raspberries

Laduree Raspberry cake enjoyed by team Dello Mano

Read more…

Let’s Talk About Food…Good Food

Dello Mano Cake

Dello Mano Premium Hand Made Cakes

We all love to eat, that’s a fact. These days, we don’t just eat to survive—we enjoy the food, many of us have developed discriminating taste buds for distinct flavors and we seem to be more aware about the issues surrounding food. The terms real food, good food, natural, organic and so many more get thrown around too much that it can get pretty confusing.

At Dello Mano, we take pride in serving you good food. And when we say GOOD.. this is what we mean:

1. Good food presents the comfort of home.

Nothing can replace BBQs and tea time with family and friends but recent statistical data shows that Australians have grown to be big spenders eating out. It seems that the changing lifestyles of individuals and family brings about a demand for convenience so home-cooking isn’t a top priority for everyone.

But we daresay that eating out does not have to mean eating ourselves sick with processed food all the time. We believe that eating out can still present conviviality and that homemade goodness…which is why we take our time making handmade food at Dello Mano. We simply believe that food made with love will always be better—in quality, in taste and in the overall experience.

Read more…

7 Easter Gift Do’s and Dont’s


Easter Gifts

Easter is a great time for families and friends to gather and celebrate. As an event that’s not only a great family time it’s equally great, because it includes lots of chocolates, egg treats and bunnies. It is one of our most favourite holidays. My mind is drawn to think about the chocolate Easter bilbies, the little fun surprises in every egg hunt, the brownie gifts everyone looks forward to, and all sorts of chocolates that will surely make you crave big-time.  Easter gifts really make us smile!

Central to the celebration of Easter is gift-giving. And more so than Christmas gifts, the most common Easter gift most people prefer is chocolate. Yum!

You’ve probably already made up your list of gift recipients. Now you’re at the tough part – what to give to who? Before anything else, keep this in mind: everyone loves a delicious gift at Easter!

Holiday gift-giving can be a daunting task. But follow some simple Dos and Don’ts, and you’ll be fine avoiding all the  hassle. Here are the rules to make food gift giving a delightful experience for you and your gift recipient!

Let’s start with the DON’TS.

Don’t go it alone.

The thought of making your own gift is really fun. But if you consider the number of your gift recipients, plus the materials you need to gather and the time you need to make all your food Easter  gifts on time, you might end up feeling more stressed than happy. So the first rule is – try not to make gifts all on your own. Not only do you cut the work needed to prepare your food gifts, you also turn this could-be-stressful moment into a fun Holiday get-together with lots of chocolate dipping and tasting! You will be surprised how many hands are so willing to help.

Don’t start until everything you need is ready.

Baking chocolate goodies is both an art and a science. Chocolate can be difficult to handle so you want to have everything you need ready before you start making treats. It is important that you plan ahead. Make a list of the different treats you want to make – whether its brownies, chocolate tarts, chocolate-coated candies, cookies, truffles – make sure all the ingredients and baking supplies you need are right there on your kitchen counter and ready to go.

Don’t take it too seriously.

You don’t always make food gifts for your friends and family. So it is understandable that you want to give your best effort to make the perfect present for each one of them. But your homemade gifts need not be perfect like those you see in local food stores. So don’t take it too seriously. Just go with the flow. Let your imagination and resourcefulness guide you. Creativity is at its peak when you feel relaxed and not anxious.

Don’t spend too much, especially on gift wraps.

You should avoid spending too much especially on gift wraps. But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make every best effort for beautiful presentation of your food gift. You probably have some clean gift wraps you are able to reuse. If you’re wrapping cookies and brownies, you can put them in clear plastic and tie with an attractive low cost ribbon. This simple gift-wrapping approach is always a winner.

Don’t forget the label and your message.

Your homemade chocolate food gift can be made more special if you make a label and include your personal message. If you have good handwriting skills, much better. But if you are not confident, you can always have your message printed. Also, it’s a good idea to put a note about the shelf life of your gift. This way, your gift recipients know how long they can keep the gift. These days too, an important consideration is recipients with a  food allergy. Label your gluten free Easter gifts, with exactly that – Gluten Free Gift -so that your Easter gift is truly personalised for your recipient.

Now, let’s go to the Dos…

Do set a budget.

The last thing you want to experience is the stress of knowing that you have overspent. So before this happens, you want to think about your budget. How much are you willing to spend for each of your chocolate gifts? Do the math now before you think about what chocolate treats to prepare. This way, you will have one less worry.

Do experiment.

Easter chocolate gifts are so fun to make. Ideas are all over – on and off the web. From the recipes to the gift boxes and wrappers, you will surely find a great design to incorporate in your gift. But don’t be afraid to experiment. Who knows – you might end up making a luxury food gift that will set the trend. You just don’t want to delight your gift recipients with the taste of your food gift but also WOW them with your presentation!

If you’re into homemade food Easter gifts, you should try baking some really good Easter nests! Here’s a recipe you can try this Easter. This no-bake recipe takes minutes to do so you can save a lot of time prepping your food gift. Your kids can even do this on their own!

Chocolate Easter Nests

200 grams milk chocolate

200 grams dark chocolate

100 grams shredded coconut

40 coloured candy-coated Easter eggs

How to do:

  1. This recipe starts with melting the dark chocolate. Cut the chocolate into small pieces and place them in a heatproof bowl over simmering water. Stir from time to time until the chocolate has melted. Set aside to cool slightly.
  2. Add the shredded coconut and stir to combine.
  3. Create chocolate nests of about 7 centimetres in diameter. Using the back of a metal spoon, make a small dent in the centre of each nest. Cool completely and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until firm.
  4. Before packing, fill the dent with candy-coated eggs.

Recipe Source:

 Importantly take the time to really enjoy the lead up to Easter. Whether you buy gifts online, in store or make them yourself, the important part is always the joy in the act of gift giving. Here at Dello Mano, we revere food gifts and always feel that a food gift is such a beautiful way to celebrate any festive events. Of course a chocolate gift is even better!

No time to bake then checkout Dello Mano Luxury Easter Chocolate gifts and cookies. Our food gifts are all hand made using our own recipes, premium ingredients and in small batches to protect our food quality.


9 Brownie Recipes to Try at home!

9 Brownie Recipes to Try at home!

It was a hot, humid, Brisbane weekend so the best thing to do was enjoy a Cold Press Coffee, surf the web and flick through some magazines. Of course, with our now ten year love affair with brownies, researching brownies was high on our agenda! Here are a few of the brownie ideas we came across and thought worth sharing. Everything from a Frozen Brownie Sundae through to the  Blonde Butterscotch Brownie, there’s a brownie choice  for everyone.

We love brownies and blogs are great sources of recipes and ideas, so enjoy the Brownie works of these creative bloggers.Fudge Nut Brownies.

Fudge Nut Brownies

The recipe > Fudge Nut Brownies

It is a moist and melting in mouth recipe that you’ll love and enjoy!

Extra Nutty Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownies

Extra Nutty Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownies

Extra Nutty Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownies

The recipe > Extra Nutty Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownies

Glossy brownie batter that is topped with lots of nuts. Gooey and yummy!

Nutty Chocolate Chip Brownies

Nutty Chocolate Chip Brownies

Nutty Chocolate Chip Brownies

The recipe > Nutty Chocolate Chip Brownies

If you are looking for a scrumptious easy dessert, these nutty chocolate chip brownies stuffed with chocolate chips and walnuts will make you weak at the knees.


Cheesecake Brownie Squares

Cheesecake Brownie Squares

The recipe > Cheesecake Brownie Squares

The brownie that your family will love. This ooey-gooey brownies are a definite crowd-pleaser.

Caramel Brownies

Caramel Brownies

Caramel Brownies

The recipe > Caramel Brownies

These are rich, chewy brownies that are full of gooey caramel, chocolate chips and crunchy walnuts. Yummy!


Speedy Brownies

Speedy Brownies

Speedy Brownies

The recipe > Speedy Brownies

Since you just combine all the ingredients together for these brownies, they take very little time to prepare. There’s no mistaking the homemade goodness of a freshly baked batch—they are rich and fudgy!

Blond Butterscotch Brownies

Blond Butterscotch Brownies

Blond Butterscotch Brownies

The recipe > Blond Butterscotch Brownies

Toffee and chocolate dot the golden brown batter of these fudge-like brownies.  Delicious!

Chewy Fudgy Homemade Brownies

Chewy Fudgy Homemade Brownies

Chewy Fudgy Homemade Brownies

The recipe > Chewy Fudgy Homemade Brownies

Thick, fudgy, chewy homemade brownies made completely from scratch. You’ll love this!

Frozen Brownie Sundae

Frozen Brownie Sundae

Frozen Brownie Sundae

The recipe > Frozen Brownie Sundae

A layer of fudgy brownies topped with vanilla ice cream, peanuts and hot fudge topping, served straight from the freezer.

If you try any of the brownie recipes then let us know ow they go.

Of course, if a Brownie emergency strikes and there’s no time to bake, call us on the Dello Mano Brownie Hot Line 1300 661 682  or buy Brownies on line.




Madeleines: Simple Food Gift

Planning your French Trip with Food in Mind

If you’re planning to visit France, you should prep your itinerary well in advance as there are so many things to see, do and of course eat! This wonderful place is known for its couture fashion houses, classical art museums, and of course – the world-renowned Eifel Tower. But France is also famous for its sophisticated cuisines and very creative pastries and desserts. So be sure to have plenty of time visiting the local patisseries in Paris or France and explore the authentic French pastry! It’s here that you’ll find the perfect food gift for yourself or your foodie friends and family.

Image Courtesy of Karen Booth on Flickr.

Image Courtesy of Karen Booth on Flickr.

Ah but reality strikes and no plan to travel to France just now? Then just Speaking of French pastry will need to be enough for both of us.

Madeleines Fit for a King

In Paris and all across France, there are plenty of cakes and confections that you must never forget to try. One of them is a Madeleine. Described as a cookie by non-French people, this small, spongy, lovely traditional goodie is actually a cake and uses what is known as a genoise batter.

Madeleine is a traditional cake from Commercy and Liverdun, in Northeastern France. This humble  little treat has a place etched in every foodies’ mind as it’s the appetising focus of attention in arguably one of the most beautiful and powerful pieces of food prose ever.

“..little shell of cake, so generously sensual beneath the piety of its stern pleating.” MARCEL PROUST

Read more…

Baking Pies & Tarts for the Home Baker

Desserts, pies and tarts are a popular choice for entertaining or just to enjoy after dinner. They are always a great idea for a food gift  or for a fast dessert when entertaining. I don’t know about you, but I simply can’t resist the crispy, flaky crust of a perfectly baked pie and its creamy, sweet and heavenly filling. Same thing with tarts. These two classic desserts are really timeless and always make such a great dessert when family or friends are visiting or you’re looking for that special food gift that just says enjoy!

The timeless beauty is evident our  Dello Mano Brownie Pies and Tarts. See how gorgeous it is? Wait until you taste it. And of course if you have no time to make one, then just pop in to the Dello Mano store or buy dessert cake online.

If you have the time though, handmade pies and tarts are simple pleasures. We make them here at Dello Mano with both a brownie base and the more traditional pastry base.

Baking Pies & Tarts

citrus pie

Dello Mano Handmade Citrus Pie

A good pie always starts with a good crust. So what makes a good crust? The answer is simple: butter. Even better, good butter. Sure, shortening or lard is a good fit for pie crusts and is likely to produce a tender and flaky crust, but the flavour is never the same as with butter. Quality butter offers a creamy, rich and yes – buttery – taste that you won’t get from shortening.

So how do you go about making your butter crust texture light and flaky? No, you don’t need pastry blender, mixer or food processor. An old-school technique, which really works, involves running cold chunks of butter between your fingertips, and incorporating them into the flour (you want your flour-butter mixture to turn into pea-sized crumbs). Such technique allows you to monitor the size of the butter pieces, so it would create flakes, not lumps as you roll it.

Why use cold butter? As your crust bakes in the oven, the cold butter melts, creating steam pockets that produce a beautiful flaky texture.

From there, the next step is simply a matter of choosing the filling for your pie. Well, maybe not so simple because they range from the most popular apple and pear, to dried fruit and cranberry, coffee-toffee, spiced pumpkin, pecans, and of course – the irresistible – chocolate filling. If in doubt we say, the best food gift is always chocolate!

Another good strategy is to chill the dough at least 30 minutes (up to two days) before you roll it and bake it. Once assembled in the pan, chill it again before you finally put it in the oven. This ensures that the butter pieces will not melt until they are heated. Most pastry chefs would blind-bake crust or pastry shell first before pouring in the filling and baking the entire pie. Doing so keeps the size and form of the crust. To prevent the dough from rising, line the crust with parchment paper and fill with dried beans, rice or pie beads (which you can buy from a kitchen supply store).

Brushing the top of the pasty with egg wash will give it that beautiful golden shine. Not only that. It will also make your pie cover crispier.

Fruits as Filling

Fresh fruit on tarts makes simply a work of art! And of course the fruit does provide healthy antioxidants.🙂


The natural sweetness and distinct flavour of fresh berries blend perfectly with the creaminess, flakiness and sweetness of the pastry shell.

If you’re using fruits as filling, it is important that you are aware of their baking/cooking properties. For instance, apples are normally used as pie filling not just because they are so common, but mostly because apples have natural pectin content (which acts as a binder), so your filling won’t be runny. Meanwhile, blackberries have high levels of acid on the skin, which does not go well with starch, so you want to add the starch and sugar from the start. Cherries need to be pitted if using fresh, and peaches must be peeled first.

Baking delicious pies and tarts may take some effort and practice, but as you get used to it, and as you discover more techniques (which you will as you slowly become addicted to baking), you’ll find it a very rewarding task. And after a day of baking, when you finally present your food gift, you’ll be showered with compliments!.

And of course you can be experimental. Our love of brownies and our clients wanting to buy brownies in all different forms, led us to invent the Luxury Brownie pie. Our Dello Mano Brownie Pies were recently noted in the SBS Food Trends for 2016 as something yummy and new for this year.  We handmake our delicious brownie pies in a number of different flavours from Dulce de Leche through to Crunchy Walnut and  a beautiful Belgian Chocolate Ganache.  There are so many alternatives that suit a chocolate brownie base.

Cheers to the pie and tart lovers around the world! These wonderful pastry creations are too good to resist and make a huge splash as a food gift or just as simply a great share treat for family and friends.


It automatically rings a bell and makes us all happy when we hear the word “brownies”. We start imagining and craving for its oh-so-yummy and chocolaty taste. A brownie as we all know, is a sweet flattened square chocolate baked treat that is a favourite with so many people. But who knows what a Broonie is?  There is indeed also a baked goody called a “broonie”. Yes it sounds like brownie but it’s different in many ways, including its color, texture and also taste. Let’s find out more and see what you think about a Broonie or a Brownie as you choice of food gift or treat.

A Broonie is ginger bread made with oatmeal. Commonly called a “Broonie Orkney”, this treat originated in Orkney Islands, an archipelago in the Northern Isles of Scotland, United Kingdom where the staples for bread are corn, barley and oats.

According to, a Broonie is derived from the Old Norse word which refers to a thick bannock. Broonie is a lovely light gingerbread, gorgeous with a cup of hot milky tea on a dark Scottish winter’s night. Its’ home style, great taste and rustic appeal makes for a wonderful food gift. Whether it be personal or a handmade food for a business gift, the Broonie is a very much appreciated sentiment.


Rolled Oats

Unlike Brownies, the Broonies’ primary ingredient is Oatmeal. Of course, Brownie recipes, well, at least shall we say we know for sure, Dello Mano brownies, call for chocolate as one of the key ingredients.  The Broonie recipe however relies strongly on the use of oatmeal.

Brownies and Broonies are further separated by another factor. The Broonie is usually baked in a form of a loaf bread whereas the Brownie in a tray or flat pan.

The Broonie has as a distinct flavour with the addition of ginger. While Ginger Brownies are definitely available ( we do one here at Dello Mano), the Broonie with its’ absence of chocolate, allows for a very distinct ginger flavour profile.

The  wholesome whole grains used to craft the Broonie makes it a fantastic health food gift or treat. Of course if it is a chocolate gift you’re looking for, then we say you can’t go past  a Brownie :)- but having said that, all handmade food gifts are such a treat even we can live without the chocolate… at least once or twice.

To better understand the Broonie, here’s the recipe we found on the internet that you might like to try at home. Let us know what you think.


Photo  and recipe courtesy of


Yields: 1 loaf


  1. Preheat oven 170°C.
  2. Combine oatmeal,salt and flour.
  3. Rub in butter,stir in sugar and ginger.
  4. In a small saucepan heat treacle gently,stir in egg. Pour into dry ingredients add buttermilk and stir thoroughly until all are well combined.
  5. Pour batter into a buttered 900g/2lb loaf tin.
  6. Bake 60-70 minutes until knife inserted in centre comes out clean.
  7. Cool on a wire rack and cool COMPLETELY before turning out.

Something that both Brownie and Broonie have in common is that both are best left to “mature” for a few days. Allowing both baked treats time to settle and for the flavours to develop, really does result in a better final product. Not sure about Broonies, but I know for sure, it’s awfully hard to protect a new batch of brownies as they  “mature”-  since generally they’re eaten up in the first few minutes they come out of the oven!

So what do you say? – Broonie or Brownie as your choice of food gift or would that choice be different if it’s just a treat at home to enjoy with the family? Our vote here, is of course a Brownie as our Chocolate gift – but then again we’re fairly biased.

Broonie or Brownie, handmade food is the best treat every time!

Brownie Advice from Katharine Hepburn

She was a legend, Hollywood wouldn’t be the same without the actor who touched many people’s lives with her wit, charm, exceptional talent and can you believe her brownie recipe – Katharine Hepburn.

 “Life is to be lived. If you have to support yourself, you bloody well find some way that is going to be interesting. And you don’t do that by sitting around wondering about yourself.” Katharine Hepburn

Read more…

Celebrities with Love for Brownies

Dello Mano Luxury Brownies

Dello Mano Luxury Brownies

Brownies. They’re always a crowd’s favourite. And it’s not just children, teens, adults, mums, dads and grannies who go crazy about those brownies!  Even celebrities do! And don’t be fooled with their off screen perception, even the brightest stars in Hollywood do indulge. And when they do, they often choose brownies!

Check out these popular stars who love brownies and see if your favourite celebrity is here!

jessica alba

Image courtesy of Alena Rain on Flickr


Jessica Alba

Jessica Alba is one of the actresses who you wouldn’t think would have a big love for sweets. But she isn’t the type of woman who starves herself just to conform to the Hollywood’s ideal. ‘My happiness isn’t dictated by what other people want or how they see me’, she said on an interview with Now Magazine UK. Aside from being a brownie fanatic, she’s also a coffee-holic.

jessica simpson

Image courtesy of Andy_budgell on Flickr

Jessica Simpson

When Jessica was pregnant, she admitted to have craved for “new, heavenly” thing called ‘slutty brownies’. These sweet, gooey brownies are made by covering the bottom of a lined pan with cookie dough, then putting a layer of Oreo cookies, and pouring brownie batter over the whole thing. Sounds a little too much for us at Dello Mano but having been pregnant twice, I know not to get in the way or  argue with a pregnant woman!  Besides, recent research may even go as far as to support Jessica and her drive for chocolate.

Image courtesy of Erik Bishoff on Flicker

Image courtesy of Erik Bishoff on Flicker

Woody Harrelson

His being vegan did not prevent the The Hunger Games star from enjoying brownies. Two years ago, he shared his all-time favourite Vegan brownie recipe with VegNews. Yes. You read it right – vegan brownies! His recipe calls for quinoa flour instead of all-purpose flour, Goji berries, chia seeds and cacao powder. All these seemed out of the park for a brownie, but according to many people who tried them, Woody Harrelson’s vegan brownies are phenomenal.

Image Courtesy of Kurt Fairhurst on Flicker

Image Courtesy of Kurt Fairhurst on Flicker

Lucy Mecklenburgh

Envied by many, but no one would think that she indulges in sweets sometimes. To show her support for the Big Cake Bake – a charity event for deaf children and their families, this gorgeous fitness fanatic shared her gluten-free brownie recipe. Aside from helping out the charity, Lucy also wanted to spread the message that healthy eating can be fun, and sweet. Go Lucy!

Image Courtesy of PBS PressRoom on Flicker

Image Courtesy of PBS PressRoom on Flicker

Phyllis Logan

In 2013, this award-winning Scottish actress shared a very easy brownie recipe which she has used for years, and is a favourite of her mum who has dementia. Her brownies, with chopped walnuts in, were served during the Dementia UK celebrity tea party in the same year.

Image Courtesy of Dave Pullig on Flicker

Image Courtesy of Dave Pullig on Flicker

Gordon Ramsay

When it comes to cooking, we all agree that Gordon Ramsay is one of the most well known. His restaurants have been awarded a total of 15 Michelin stars and currently hold 14. Ramsay is a big fan of blondies – the no-chocolate counterpart of brownies. ‘I find them a bit more subtle in flavour and they make a great end to a meal, especially with a few chewy cranberries thrown in for texture.’ he said on his interview with Daily Mail UK. Like Lucy, he also shared his treasured blondie recipe in support of the Big Cake Bake.

Image Courtesy of on Flicker

Image Courtesy of on Flicker

Snoop Dogg

Snoop Dogg isn’t your average rapper. Since his career started in 1992, he has successfully made a name not just in the world of funk, but also in the film industry. In 2009, Snoop Dogg made a very surprising appearance at Martha Stewart’s variety talk show, and baked a batch of holiday-themed brownies. You know what he calls his brownies? Green brownies. In the show, it was clear that the recipe doesn’t contain weed. But as he tells Martha, the most important ingredient in the Green brownie should have “No sticks, no seeds, no stems.” Hmmm…

Brownies are really a wonderful treat that most people enjoy for snack, dessert or just about any time of the day. And it’s not just ordinary people who love these delicious heavenly chunks of chocolate, even stars do!

Why We Love Brownies (And You Should Too!)

As you enter this beautiful red door, you know you are about to enjoy the best brownies.

Front of the Dello Mano Brownie Store

Dello Mano Brownie Store


Dello Mano is known for making the best luxury brownies. We’ve spent many years now perfecting our brownie recipe and creating a distinctive chocolate goodness that is uniquely our own.  Our luxury brownies have now been enjoyed by celebrities, dignitaries, world presidents, movie stars, rock stars and thousands of brownie lovers across the world.

You may ask – when all other pastry stores were specialising in cakes and pastries, why did Dello Mano focus on brownies?


 We just love brownies. Simple.

Dello Mano Luxury Brownies

Brownies by Dello Mano

Way back in 2006, Brownies were the forgotten dessert. They were most definitely the under dog. We travelled Australia in search of the best brownie and came away empty handed.  We thought that with our chocolate backgrounds and my Food Science experience we could catapult the humble brownie to new heights.

Now, we recall back then, how people were shocked to think we’d open a brownie business. We were on our own back then and whats more, we insisted on pure quality ingredients including real chocolate that resulted in a small brownie. We had seen the cake type brownie and set out to craft something quite distinct.

We still recall the first Jan Powers Farmers Market we attended at New Farm. Whilst many did not see the brownie light, Natascha Mirosch’s keen journalist eye saw the innovation, producing an article about our Brownie dreams.  Jan Powers was so excited with our innovation and wrote to us personally to ask us to attend the Farmers Market.  We set up our stand with much anticipation buoyed by the support of those two wonderful women who helped get our business off the ground.

About an hour into that first market, a woman approached our stand and chortled (!) “You must be kidding – you can’t make a business out of a brownie”.  Funny how those thoughts never enter your mind as you charge on with your dream. Ours was to pioneer brownies and despite the scepticism and much more of it, we ploughed on anyway.

Here we are, ten years on. Brownies warmed our hearts way back then, so much so, that we pushed on to eventually create a brownie revolution.

Here are just some of the reasons brownies fill our hearts with love:

First, brownies are plain addictive. They’re so delicious. The rich chocolate taste, along with the dense and creamy texture will keep you unwrapping one Dello Mano Classic Luxury Brownie after another. It isn’t too soft and fluffy like a chocolate cake, and it’s never tough and dry. We load our brownies with chocolate and butter and great eggs so they remain deliciously seductive for many months.

They’re versatile.   It doesn’t call for any special occasion to enjoy a brownie (or two). Whether it’s your child’s birthday, a one fine weekend at home, Mother’s Day, Easter or a busy day in the office, you can enjoy this divine treat and call it a happy day.

It is bursting in chocolate flavour. Most people love chocolates. Why wouldn’t they? Chocolate in its own is absolutely delicious. Add in the eggs, butter, some sugar and other wonderful ingredients and you’d have something that is more divine.

brownies with heart on blue

Dello Mano Luxury Brownies dressed for the occasion!

 It relives those happy moments. Who hasn’t enjoyed a brownie at a party or memorable occasion or simply a coffee with a friend. Brownies just bring back the happy moments. The good times. The fun, sweet things.


Dello Mano Luxury Brownie and a cup of espresso

Brownies are heart warming. For us here in Dello Mano, brownies are love. Brownies make our hearts sing! We put our love into each batch of luxury brownies so you’d have something that really warms your heart, not just pleases your palate. All of our brownies and brownie gifts are handmade, so part of our heart goes out to you or your gift recipient with every brownie we create.

Brownies makes us happy. Taking the time to savour a moment with a brownie is happiness. Sweets have a special way of pampering us, improving our mood, and turning a bad day into a beautiful one. It’s a great energiser and a wonderful, divine treat to end a hard day at work. Of course, everything in moderation.

Brownies can make someone else happy. If brownies can make you happy, they can make others happy too. Brownies are perfect chocolate gifts, whether it’s your friend’s birthday, your mum and dad’s anniversary, or your wedding – our luxury brownies are a great gifting option. Brownies are sure to please everyone, young or old – just the way they please you.

047 - Wedding Favour Box 003

Dello Mano Luxury Brownies are perfect wedding favours

Brownies are a timeless classic. Brownies are an all-time favourite treat and claim a wonderful spot in the world of sweets and desserts. You can’t just say ‘no’ to a great-tasting brownie.

Brownies taste divine, and are plain addictive and bursting in chocolate flavour. They’re an enjoyable treat that you can indulge in anytime of the day, something sweet to reward yourself with, a wonderful mood booster, and a great gift to send to a loved one, friend or work associate.

It’s now ten years on since we first started Dello Mano. So many brownies under the bridge and yet there are so many reasons why we love brownies and why we think you should, too!🙂

Chocolate Basics


Taking the time to understand some chocolate basics is a great idea when you decide to start cooking with chocolate in your kitchen.  Each of the chocolate types will behave quite differently and so understanding the basic nuances will short circuit a few of the common errors.

Because the chocolate types vary in their composition and their behaviour it’s usually not a straight substitution for one over the other in a recipe. Often the brownie recipe or chocolate cake recipe for example, will need to be adjusted to accommodate the different chocolate type. Sometimes it’s simply not possible to substitute one chocolate for another in a brownie or chocolate cake recipe..

So lets take a look at some chocolate basics:

Unsweetened Chocolate

Unsweetened chocolate is 99% chocolate. It contains nothing else and as a result has a very strong, rugged and intense flavour. It’s very bitter and I think most people would say it is very unpleasant to eat in this form. Unsweetened chocolate is  rarely used in baking although can be used to bake brownies when you are looking for something that has a very intense and interesting flavour.

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is a lovely eating chocolate. It performs equally as well as a baking chocolate as it does a chocolate bon bon. Dark Chocolates may contain varying degrees of sugar. The % chocolate means the percentage of chocolate liquor the chocolate contains.

Usually the % chocolate liqor indicates the amount of sugar in the block. For example a 60% chocolate will contain a little under 40% sugar and usually some emulsifier and a vanilla.

The greater the amount of sugar the more the actual chocolate liquor flavour is masked. It’s important to remember when choosing a  chocolate that the higher the solids level the more the fuller flavour profile of the chocolate will appear.

Take note though, that the higher the chocolate solids (higher chocolate liquor) does make the chocolate a little more difficult to use. This issue arises often when making emulsions such as a dark chocolate ganache where separation may occur . If you decide to use a higher solids chocolate then you may need to add a little extra sugar to your brownie recipe just to round and soften out the flavour.

If you are tempering Dark Chocolate then follow this guide:

Melting Temperature 45-50C

Cooling Temperature 28-29C

Tempering Temperature 31-32 C

Milk Chocolate

Milk chocolate contains milk solids that generally replace some of the cocoa solids. The result is a chocolate that is creamier and smoother in taste and texture. It generally contains more sugar.

Because milk chocolate contains milk solids, it’s very sensitive to heat. This also makes it very difficult to use in cooking and it definitely cannot be substituted for dark chocolate in a brownie recipe.

Milk chocolate is best used in no bake recipes for items like chocolate sauce or of course bon bons.

Milk chocolate has a great purpose – to eat it as a chocolate rather than use it as a baking chocolate!

If you are tempering Milk Chocolate then follow this guide:

Melting Temperature 45-50C

Cooling Temperature 28-29C

Tempering Temperature 31-32 C

White Chocolate

White chocolate continues to confound the chocolate purist. Strictly speaking, white chocolate is not a chocolate – but try telling that to a white chocolate lover!

White chocolate contains no cocoa liquor only cocoa butter. It contains sugar, milk solids, emulsifier and vanilla. It is, as a result the sweetest of chocolates.

The combination of milk solids and high cocoa butter make it very heat sensitive and the most temperamental chocolate to temper and to use in baking.

The flavour of white chocolate varies significantly amongst different types. Flavour profiles range depending on the milk and sugar types and combinations.

Brownies made with white chocolate are generally called blondies.

If you are tempering white chocolate then follow this guide:

Melting Temperature 45C

Cooling Termperature 26-27C

Tempering Temperature 29-30 C

Courveture Chocolate

Courveture is French and means to literally cover. Chocolate makers use courveture as the higher cocoa butter content makes it easier to use when tempering and chocolate making. Because of its high cocoa butter content, courveture chocolate is predictably very well behaved for the chocolate maker.

Courveture is the chocolate to use if you are coating chocolates and want a very shiny appearance, smooth texture and great snap in your bonbon chocolates.

Cocoa Powder

Cocoa powder is manufactured by pressing the cocoa butter out of the cocoa mass. Naturally this cocoa powder is red or brown in colour and is very acidic.

Alkalised or Dutch Cocoa has been treated with an alkali such as Potassium Carbonate to reduce the acidity of the natural cocoa powder. This process results in a more subtle flavour.

Neither Natural nor Dutch cocoa is better than the other. Importantly though, if you are baking a brownie or a chocolate cake and using a leavening agent, it’s important to consider the cocoa powder type. If your recipe calls for baking soda then for best results use Natural cocoa powder as the combination of acid in the cocoa powder and soda will create a leavening agent, assisting in cake rising. In recipes that call for baking powder use alkalised cocoa to assist in leavening.

Cocoa nibs

Cocoa nibs are produced once the cocoa bean has been roasted. They are little parts of the bean that have been roasted but not ground.  Their flavour is an intense, astringent, chocolate flavour. Their texture is nut like crunchy and they exhibit a range of flavours including  fruity, spicy and acid notes.

Cocoa nibs can easily be used as a replacement for nuts. We use them here at Dello Mano to crust around cakes and as cake toppings. They add a delicious texture and flavour to brownies and cakes.

Interestingly the cocoa nib can be used in both sweet and savoury foods.

Compound Chocolate

Commonly referred  to as “Compound Chocolate” this product is not chocolate at all. Compound ( let’s drop the chocolate) contains vegetable oil and no cocoa butter. It does not requre tempering and so is favoured by many home cooks due to its ease of use in the kitchen. It’s also used by manufacturers looking to cut costs. It

Just understanding the basics of chocolate will really assist you as you begin to use the various different chocolates in your brownies, chocolate cakes or chocolate gifts. It’s a little more effort for sure  to use real chocolate in your brownies or other baked goods. One thing is certain though and that’s that there’s nothing better than a brownie or chocolate cake or cookie or anything for that matter – that’s made using real chocolate.

Deborah Peralta  is co-founder of Dello Mano Luxury Belgian Chocolate Brownies. Known with her partner Mr. Brownie (Bien Peralta) as the Brownie Pioneers. Deborah is a Food Scientist with broad food research, development and brand marketing experience. She was Product Development Manager for a leading international chocolatier.

Dello Mano brownies pioneered the Australian brownie market and are handmade by artisan brownie makers using real Belgian Chocolate in small batches – Brownie Pioneers since 2006.



How to Taste Chocolate

Choosing a Chocolate

Chocolate ingredients

Chocolate in its’ many forms –

So you’re looking to bake chocolate brownies or at least use real chocolate in some cooking. Great idea!  Using real chocolate is worth the expense and the time as you’ll finish with a superior treat or chocolate gift in every way.

Let’s take one step back then. Learning how to taste chocolate is essential in your quest to use chocolate in your brownie baking or other cooking endeavours.

We experimented with brownie recipes for 2 years before pioneering our Luxury Brownies in Australia. And believe me, we tried every ingredient possible!  With two small children at the time, I would test bake brownies and then take each new batch for tasting to everything from P&F meetings to ballet rehearsal.

Of course, there were always lots of willing (and hungry!) volunteers to try each of the recipes, as I slowly honed in to my final brownie recipe launch in 2006. At that time, and after much deliberation and lots of happy mums, dads and kids, we decided on a brownie recipe that would contain generous amounts of real chocolate. We thought our luxury brownies would be the perfect option for people looking to buy online premium chocolate gifts, so it was essential to include a quality premium Belgian Chocolate in our brownies.

There are about 300 chemical compounds in chocolate. Many of these are very subtle. Different growing conditions, regions and blends will result in so many, many flavour profiles. Try buying chocolate from different regions and producers so that you can taste the various flavours. Then, let the fun begin and treat yourself to a chocolate tasting session.

Tips on Chocolate Tasting

The art and science of Chocolate tasting does take time and practice. It uses all of your senses, so sit back, enjoy and use these chocolate tasting tips to get you started:

Chocolate Temperature

Allow the chocolate to sit and come to room temperature. Make sure all of the chocolates are out on the bench at the same temperature when you begin your chocolate tasting session.

Cleanse your Palate

Before any chocolate. Drink some water and eat a small piece of dry cracker or soft bread. Some people will use an apple. The idea is to remove all lingering flavours from you palate and allow the really soft nuances of the chocolate flavour profile to exhibit and dance on your palate.


A great quality, well tempered chocolate makes a very clean snap sound when it is broken. It should not be “plastic like” when it breaks and nor should it crumble.

A quiet tasting environment will help you savour the moments and for that matter enjoy more fully all of the aspects of the tasting session


Always smell your chocolate – just like a good wine! A good quality chocolate will generally have odours that are very pleasant like fruity, nutty and vanilla aromas.

If the chocolate smells like chemicals, petroleum or other unpleasant odours, then it has either been contaminated or it is a very poor quality chocolate. Equally, any burnt odour is not a good sign. Watch out too, for harsh artificial vanillas which are typically used by inferior chocolate manufacturers.  In the later cases, I suggest discarding the chocolate and not wasting any of your precious time attempting to work with inferior chocolate in the kitchen.

Note that chocolate should have an odour – no odour present, is a sign of a poor chocolate.


Chocolate should be a beautiful rich brown to dark brown colour. The colour should be even across the piece. If it’s in “temper” then there will be no white streaks caused from either chocolate bloom or sugar bloom. These “blooms” are generally the result of significant changes in chocolate temperature resulting in destabilisation of the chocolate temper.

A great quality chocolate will be shiny and fresh looking.


For those of you that have managed to hold off, now you can finally taste the chocolate! Place the chocolate on your tongue and just let it sit there. Don’t chew the chocolate. Let it slowly begin to melt on your tongue.

The quality of the melt on your tongue is a sign of the purity of the chocolate. If the chocolate is really slow to melt or is chalky on the tongue then it is generally a sign of a poor quality chocolate. Such undesirable chocolate textures may be as a result of cheaper fats added at some point in the chocolate making process.

As the chocolate melts, note the volatile aromas of the chocolate rise up into your nasal area. At this point the many more different flavours can be detected including both the natural elements of the cocoa itself as well as the flavour complexities that are developed in the chocolate making process.

The roasting, conching and blending of beans can all contribute to flavour development and will give chocolate different flavours.


A great chocolate should feel wonderful on your tongue. Soft, smooth and free of any graininess or chalkiness is the sign of great quality chocolate.

Grainy and chalky chocolate is the sign of shortcuts in conching. Similarily  a chalky texture is the usual result of a more simple process known as stone ground conching .

A grainy texture may also be the  result of  a poor temper.

A glutinous or sticky texture suggests that less desirable fats have been substituted in the chocolate making process for the more expensive cocoa butter.

Savour the moment

Continue with the chocolate slowly. The lingering taste should be full and strong. Take note that some of the chocolate flavours do appear late and often at the very end of the chocolate. The final flavour should be clean and not bitter or in anyway unpleasant.

Consider the Tasting Order

Tasting samples in the correct order will really help with the chocolate tasting process. Keep these rules in ensure you palate is protected and refreshed as it receives each new chocolate sensation:

  • always taste the chocolate with the lowest percentage cocoa first as this is generally the simplest flavour chocolate and will reduce the chance of overwhelming your taste buds!
  • rinse with water (at room temperature)  between chocolate samples
  • clean your palate with a small piece of bread or cracker between chocolates
  • work through the chocolates slowly as the chocolate tasting process cannot be rushed

Chocolate is an expensive cooking ingredient. But just like cooking with a good wine, the quality is important.  Remember, the quality you put in, will be the quality you get out. Invest in great quality chocolate and you’ll reap amazing results.

And whatever you decide to bake whether it be brownies or cake or cookies or fudge, the result will be so much more pleasing with a chocolate you have voted best in your chocolate tasting session.

Learning to taste chocolate will take some time and commitment but hey, tasting chocolate  is a heck of a great way to spend some hours – all in the quest of learning!

Deborah Peralta  is co-founder of Dello Mano Luxury Belgian Chocolate Brownies. Known with her partner Mr. Brownie (Bien Peralta) as the Brownie Pioneers. Deborah is a Food Scientist with broad food research, development and brand marketing experience. She was Product Development Manager for a leading international chocolatier.

Dello Mano brownies pioneered the Australian brownie market and are handmade by artisan brownie makers using real Belgian Chocolate in small batches – Brownie Pioneers since 2006.