Specialising in organic, artisan chocolate hand crafted in small batches and sweetened only with raw Australian honey, Deva Cacao is the darling of the Mid-North Coast, based in the creative town of Bellingen. We chatted with Choc Boss, Maggie Quirk.
What was your favorite chocolate treat as a child?
Hmm, that’s a tough one… I’ve always been a huge chocolate lover and raw and organic
weren’t big back then. I remember scoffing quite a few of those milk chocolate frogs as a
kid and I also wrote to Nestle once and asked for a free Kitkat sample, haha! My favourite
was mint though, and it’s still a frontrunner for me although less ‘Mint Pattie’
and more ‘Dark Mint with Nibs’ nowadays.
How did you end up becoming a chocolatier?
Well, it was a collision of my love for quality chocolate with my entrepreneurial spirit. An opportunity came up and I knew it was for me, so I went for it. Now I make and wrap chocolate almost every day and I love it, especially the part where I get to invent new flavour combinations! I love that we use honey as a sweetener and that we are the first ‘tempered’ raw chocolate in Australia. They are two big and bold points of difference for us.
White, milk or dark?
Depends on the mood. I am a reformed milk chocolate lover
...it’s mostly dark for me now but the others will always have a place in my heart.
Describe your favourite chocolate in three words....
Smooth, balanced, quality.
Tell us about your most memorable chocolate experience?
I used to work in a fancy espresso bar in Newcastle that also sold gelato. We made this
thick, indulgent Spanish style hot chocolate that was basically milk, cream and chocolate
kept at temperature in an urn - so delicious, especially over vanilla bean gelato!
Where is your favourite place to indulge your choc-habit?
On my couch with a glass of red after the kids are in bed. So good.
Secretly solo or shared indulgence?
Solo! No sharing here, hee hee. Just kidding, we share a lot of
chocolate around but I love spending quality time alone with it.
What's the most unusual chocolate you've ever tasted?
Kakadu Plum. We made it as an experiment and it was great!
What is the mark of an exceptional chocolatier?
Attention to detail, patience, consistency, creativity and above all, quality ingredients.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
If you love it, go for it. The raw chocolate industry is competitive but if you can find a
point of difference and always go for quality, you’ll find a place - the world
needs more healthy chocolate!
Maggie Quirk is chief chocolatier at Deva Cacao.
Deva's delicous range is available from our Love Byron Bay Boutique,
or from our online store... love-byronbay.com/chocstore.