5 Ways To Spoil Mum on Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is that one special day of the year when the most important women in our lives are celebrated. It’s always nice to give our supermums a restful break. After all that our mums have done (and keep on doing) for us, isn’t it about it we give back?

We’ve rounded up 5 ideas you might want to try. Take a look:

1. Start the day right with a great meal.

As a child, my siblings and I would let mum sleep in and bring her breakfast in bed. Sure we left the kitchen in a big mess and we served her a burnt toast (or two) but she loved it nonetheless!

Check out some recipes at myrecipes.com

When was the last time you made mum a meal? Bring out that inner chef in you and whip up something extra special for the most important meal of the day. Not a kitchen wiz or don’t have the time? Don’t fret, treat mum to Dello Mano Cafe for breakfast or lunch instead. She’ll love the ambiance and the meals that are fit for a queen.

Crepes anyone?
Eggs Benny with spinach and prosciutto

2. Schedule a spa date

Nothing says pampering like a relaxing retreat to a spa. Let mum soak up the stress and worries away, let the massage and treatments take her mind off the daily hustle and bustle—make her feel beautiful and cared for. Continue reading “5 Ways To Spoil Mum on Mother’s Day”

Tempt Your Tastebuds—5 of the World’s Most Expensive Desserts

As an old saying goes, “Always save room for dessert“. But have you heard that there are desserts we might have to save money for just to enjoy? It’s true! Just take a look at 5 of the world’s most expensive desserts:

Golden Opulence Sundae ($1,000)

New York City’s Serendipity 3 is known for great treats but this product is their most opulent on their product list. Recognized by the Guinness World Records in 2007 as “World’s Most Expensive Sundae”, Golden Opulence Sundae is so exclusive, reservations must be made 48 hours in advance.

Here’s a quick look at what goes into the Golden Opulence Sundae:

  • Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream
  • 23-carat gold leaf
  • Medei Porceleana chocolate and Chuao chocolate
  • gold dragets
  • grande passon caviar with fresh passion fruit

Brownie Extraordinaire ($1,000)

Continue reading “Tempt Your Tastebuds—5 of the World’s Most Expensive Desserts”

Feast Your Eyes On 5 Of The Most Expensive Chocolates In The World

5. Knipschildt’s La Madeline au Truffle ($250)

Forbes Magazine recognized Knipschildt’s La Madeline au Truffle as one of the priciest chocolates in the world. This decadence is made from a rare French Perigord truffle (which is worth $1,000 a pound) and a rich chocolate ganace (of heavy cream, Italian truffle oil, sugar and 71% single-bean Valrhona dark chocolate) and very fine cocoa powder.

The packaging is equally extravagant as the chocolate comes in a silver box with sugar pearls. Each Knipschildt’s La Madeline au Truffle is made to order and has a shelf life of 7 days.

4. To’Ak Chocolates ($260)

Luxury is often equated with exclusivity. Exclusivity and the finest ingredients is why a 1.5 ounce bar of To’Ak Chocolate is considered to be the world’s most expensive pure chocolate bar. 574—this is the number of To’Ak bars produced in 2014. It is a small number for chocolate, mind you.

To’Ak is an 81-percent dark chocolate (ordinary chocolate contains just 5%) that is Fair-Trade and USDA organic. The name comes from the To’Ak cacao bean, which is found in the center of the chocolate. The beans are rare because the 1,000-acre forest where the beans come from is the only survivor of a 1916 “Witch’s Broom” disease.

Presentation and novelty is anything but your usual with To’Ak chocolate as it comes in a wooden gift box that has an Arriba Appelation map and wooden tongs (used to eat the chocolate bar).

3. DeLafée of Switzerland’s Gold Chocolate Box ($331.50)

The DeLafée Gold Chocalate box is part of the company’s line of edible gold creations. The set is a silk-draped wood box that contains 8 Swiss chocolates hand-decorated with 24 karat edible gold and an antique cold collectible (from the Swiss central bank from the years 1910 to 1920 valued at $133).

2. Golden Speckled Egg ($11,107)

In 2012, William Curley was awarded the Guinness World Records for his masterpiece—the Golden Speckled Egg—the World’s Most Expensive Chocolate Egg (non-jewelled).

The egg was about 3×2 feet tall and weighed 50 kilograms. It was made with Amedei chocolate, edible gold leaf, 12 smaller couture chocolate eggs, 20 mini chocolate bars, and 5 white flowers. The outside looks delicious enough but the inside is equally luxurious with chocolates of different flavors (like muscovado carame, juniper berry and rosemary).

The record-setting chocolate creation took 3 days to make and was sold at the Royal Courts of Justice, London, UK, on March 20, 2012.

1. Frrrozen Haute Chocolate ($25,000)

Serendipity 3 is known for delicious desserts and comfort food. But perhaps with a price tag of $25,000, this hot chocolate would be the most comforting of all. This combination of haute couture and chocolate is made from 27 cocoas from different locations around the globe, Le Madeline au Truffle shavings, and 5 grams of 23 carat gold to name a few.

The Frrrozen Haute Chocolate is served in a goblet lined with edible 18 carat gold crown and diamonds, and it comes with a golden spoon too.

These chocolates sure delight the senses, don’t they? But if you like luxury you can enjoy without the massive cost (and cost of travel too), why not try something from Dello Mano? We’ve got truffles, cakes, luxury brownies and so much more.

Here’s a little sneak peek just for you. 😉

Risk and Reward

Breakfast yesterday was at a TAFE presentation called Risk & Reward. The speaker was John Wagner, a senior family members of the Wagner Concrete Business.  Not usually up for a breakfast with Christmas in full flight at Dello Mano however, I couldn’t resist learning more about this concrete company’s latest project.

As widely covered in the press, John and the Wagner family undertook the most amazing project and built the new Toowoomba airport. Not only did they take it on, they funded it themselves and they were finished in 18 months. An incredible feat by anyone’s standard! If you have a chance to ever listen to one of the Wagners talk about the project then do yourself a real treat and stop and listen. Your heart will be rewarded with a most compelling story of courage, hope, sheer hard work and determination.

Pearls don’t lie on the seashore. If you want one, you must dive for it.

Chinese proverb

The Wagners have a large multinational Concrete business based in Toowoomba, Queensland. Apparently the second largest inland town in Australia and previously famous in my mind because it is the home of the passionate family food business –Weis Ice Cream (which by the way is real quality Ice Cream all made in Australia!)….oh and also the home of some amazing people and Dello Mano friends!

As the Wagner story goes, the owners figured a little while back that without connectivity to the rest of the world their international business would be stifled. With no interest from any other parties including government, they solved the connectivity problem by building and airport – themselves! No case study meant no bank fundingso they paid for the entire project themselves! Just some of the Toowoomba Airport project:

  • the only new airport built in Australia since Tullamarine
  • the most environmentally friendly airport built in the world
  • the fastest airport project ever built
  • thousands of jobs will be generated for the Toowoomba region
  • the only airport ever built in Australia without any government funding
  • the project was documented in late 2012 and the first flight took off in late Dec 2014 – a build time of 18 months!

You can’t outwit fate by standing on the sidelines placing little sidebets about the outcome of life. Either you wade in and risk everything you have to play the game or you don’t play at all. And if you don’t play you can’t win”.

Judith McNaught

At an estimated $200 Million spend, the sheer tenacity and courage of the Wagner family is to be commended.  And we know from our own humble little experience when we set out to Pioneer (sorry about the Pioneer concrete pun!) the Brownie market in Australia, the real work only begins after the huge (….yes i know but it is all relative) risk and decision to actually start is taken. The Wagners now have the big task ahead of creating a business that will make the project a financial success.

Speaking of success, the concept of risk and reward is interesting. In terms of the enormous Wagner risk, the reward is surely there for all involved in their demonstration of amazing courage and passion. The reward is there too, for the many of us who have made the leap or want to make the leap to follow our own dreams and passion as we take example and inspiration from the Wagner story.

It’s Official: Dello Mano attends the G20

Today we announced the very exciting news that Dello Mano has been selected as an official Welcome Treat to all 5000 plus international visitors to the Queensland Stand at the #G20 media centre this week. Queensland is a place of #EndlessOpportunities and this is a real honour for us! That’s Queensland supporting Queensland…. showing the world that we have Endless Opportunities in our beautiful state. We hope to help Queensland earn Brownie Points with our guests and leave a sweet lasting memory of Queensland with our Dello Mano Luxury Brownies#G20QLD #TIQ #dellomano

Follow your dream: shocking truth is that there are hurdles

There’s a famous quote that goes “What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals” {Henry David Thoreau}.

Not that I had this quote in mind back in those early days when we were launching Dello Mano. With product development just finished we received  a call from the city’s major newspaper, the Courier Mail, informing us that they were intending to run a story about our fledgling Brownie business – Dello Mano. Our joy was overwhelming, we celebrated hardly believing that we could engender such support for what was a totally new brownie and gift concept. All the while not thinking for a moment they’d act so quickly and call back almost immediately to advise that a photographer would be dispatched the very next day!

Dello Mano Brownies – 16 piece Signature Gift Box

To be honest at that time we had no official Dello Mano sales or business and we’d only just started making our brownies in slightly bigger than home size batches at a local commercial kitchen. I’ll go as far as to admit that we were in fact still buying the ingredients from the local supermarket.

So you can imagine when we got the reporter’s call, we went into a complete fluster. To meet the schedule, Bien and I found ourselves with the need to simultaneously pick up our two primary school aged children and buy ingredients for our much coveted “brownie photo shoot”. We split our tasks. He went to the school and I went to buy the ingredients. We agreed there was so little time, no time to park and that instead he’d pass by the front of the shopping centre and I’d leap into the car with the groceries.

I came out of the shopping centre and waited in the scorching January heat, for my “drive by” pick up. Looking back to the centre door as I stood there patiently, I saw an elderly lady probably mid 70’s pushing a huge trolley of groceries and looking worried. Something was wron . I looked back toward the hot asphalt of the road and told myself to remain focussed, this was a big moment and I really needed to bake brownies. This after all was our big start.

I tried to ignore the energy but could feel her immobilised body behind me. Turning I could see her face still carrying a worried look. I tried hard to just focus on our big moment but could no longer resist and had to ask what was wrong. She explained that she’d lost her car! She had parked and in the heat of the hot afternoon sun had been so quick to get into the supermarket that she now found herself with a lost car. We’ve all done it at some point  but maybe not at the womans age , with full trolley of groceries and a hot blistering Brisbane sun to contend with. I fought off my selfish desire to continue on my way with our dream  – instead stopping to ask her where she’d parked – front side or back of the shopping centre. Worse still, I was to learn that she had no idea.

I looked at the full car park, glanced remorsefully at my trolley of brownie making goodies, pushed it to the side and offered to go look for her car. The problem compounded when she couldnt remember her registration plate and could provide only information that it was  a white station wagon with a number plate of which she could only remember one letter.

I ran down many aisles of the car park that afternoon. Aching to find the car but all the while kept thinking about our brownies that still needed to go in the oven. It was our big break after all. I found the car and ran back to share the news. While trying to explain the car’s position, the woman went quiet with confusion. I took a deep breath, pushed aside any thoughts of our brownie dream and offered to take her to her car. Pushing her trolley to the car spot, it soon occurred to me that since I had come that far,  that I may as well unpack the groceries into her car.

She walked to the side of car and looked back to thank me. Stopping, she searched for the perfect words, “I want to thank you so much, you deserve, now how does that saying go?” She paused, deep in thought and determination, then spoke once more with a vigour enthusiasm, “I know: you deserve brownie points”.

I stopped in my tracks. Incredible, just incredible words. Walking back to my parked trolley, I was astounded. Not really a common phrase for a woman of her age, I thought and yet she, in some mysterious way, affirmed the dream. A sign to carry on with the brownie dream whilst remembering the dream is the journey as well as the destination. There will be hurdles but a willingness to learn and continued belief despite the obstacles will, in the end, ensure the dream prevails.


Unique Colour Chart for Brownies New Home

barry's foot
our unique paint colour chart

We love  doing things a little differently at Dello Mano and really are intrigued by people or things that are not your norm.

We were seriously amused when we met with our lovely floor guy at 29 Doggett St., the new Dello Mano home. We were there to discuss options of vinyl or epoxy on the kitchen floor. Having decided on our floor type, our very friendly and most accommodating floor man asked me what colour I’d like the floor to be. I said  very practically “something easy to keep clean” and he said “well, how about this colour I put down up north last week”. With that he casually kicked up his leg and pointed to a spot on his boot -this was our unique paint colour chart!

We just loved his attitude so much that the blue grey spot on his boot just had to be the colour of our new Dello Mano Brownie kitchen  floor! And so it was…

(and if you are wondering we are still thinking about drawing some inspiration from his socks 🙂 )

PS : Not only a great man but did the most amazing job of our floor – importantly with such a positive and caring attitude. Lucky us!

All it’s Cracked Up to Be

cracker craft
cracker craft hits the top of Paris

When  you are in the infancy of a business,there ‘s generally one rule…. it’s “one in….all in”.  It’s  an all consuming affair for the founders , their immediate family and in a lot of cases their extended family. Lots of our extended family are not  “blood relations”  but they may as well be.

It is well documented  in many cases  that the ability for a business to “Kick  on” in the early stages  is as a result of the support of  some True  Believers .  In our case….its to those that understand the Dello Mano dream. Those believers include our family, close friends and our beautiful small  team in the kitchen.

This leads me onto our special friends Nic and Michael.  N & M were some of our first friends when we  moved cross town 5 or so years ago.  We’re sure that they lovingly think Bien & I are nuts. They’ve seen the nutty  things that we’ve done to get things rolling . Crazy we may be and giggle they might at some of our extreme exploits but they have always amazingly supported us and so very often joined in the exploits and madness.

Some years ago, we started the tradition of our families having News Year Lunch/Day/Evening together.   After lunch, few Sauv Blancs and Moscatos to welcome 2011, our attention turned to popping some x’mas crackers , enjoyable conversation and the consumption of  naturally Dello Mano Chocolate Brownies.

Amidst all of the frivolity , we noticed that Nicole had transformed the Cracker  waste into curious and intriguing works of art which we officially named  “Cracker Craft”.  It may yet be an untapped discovery.

Fast Forward to May 2011. We decided to go on our French Sojourn to seek inspiration and stimulation. This was a big step for us as we’d never left the business in 5 years.   Our impromptu ( there’s no time like the present ) trip.

So in steps Nic! She understood the importance of our trip and bingo….she’s onto it.

She organises to juggle  her three Kids (all very mature 🙂 ), run a household and another job, be in the Brownie kitchen and help Dello Mano everyday, organise a house sitter for our stay, find Beautiful Julia to help keep the sales motor running and so much more. Without her, our trip would not have been possible.

As Nic couldn’t come with us, we decided that we needed the essence of Nic with us during our travels. So we decided to invite Crack Craft with us.

We’ decided that Cracker Craft had a real place amidst the glamour and chic of Paris so here you’ll see Cracker craft in situ in Paris.  For those reading, please indulge our frivolity for a moment as it is Friend like Nic, a real believer that help build dreams and makes the dream so much better as we share it.  Somehow or other lugging cracker craft across the world felt like we had brought Nic (and her family) with us as we joked taking photos of cracker craft in Paris with many on lookers staring wondering what we were doing!

Cracker Craft takes on Paris and climbs the Eiffel Tower

Cracker Craft and the Eiffel Tower
Cracker Craft climbs the Eiffel Tower

Cracker Craft Seeing the Sights  La Tour Eiffel by Night

eiffel tower Paris
Cracker Craft at the top of Paris

Cracker Craft Braves the Metro (and comes out slightly better off than Dello Mano !)

the Metro Paris
cracker craft braves the Metro

Cracker Craft rubs shoulders with Prada and Gucci

cracker craft
cracker craft rubs shoulders with Prada

Cracker Craft adorns a stylish bistro table in Paris adding just that little bit extra to table presentation.

cracker craft
cracker craft lends style and sophistication of Paris Bistro table

And of course we have always felt Cracker Craft had a place in the top department stores of Paris so here is Cracker Craft riding high above Galleries Lafayette.

cracker craft in Paris
Cracker Craft atop all the Paris brands

Thanks Nic! – Dello Mano and all of us so, so grateful!