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Sweet Stone

Sweet Stone

It’s a curious beast, the brigadeiro. Resembling a tiny, spherical chocolate porcupine, this Brazilian confectionery is dime–a-dozen on the streets of Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro.  But until recently, Australia had yet to experience the fudgy, close-your-eyes-and-groan splendour of this unassuming morsel.

Like so many gastronomic feats, the brigadeiro is the sum of very humble ingredients. Traditionally, the recipe involves a mix of condensed milk, sugar, a Nesquik-style chocolate powder, and butter. After mixing it all together and then cooling for a few hours in the fridge, the mixture can be rolled into tiny balls, covered with sprinkles and eaten immediately.

In Brazil, brigadeiros grace children’s party tables in the way that fairy bread does in Australia, and they’re also a baby shower staple.  But the heritage of this delicious morsel is vague.  One theory is that it was invented after World War II when supplies of fresh milk and sugar were short – the Brazilian ANZAC biscuit, if you will. As Wikipedia so earnestly puts it, “It is a democratic dessert that many people can enjoy.  It can be made in the north or the south, eaten by rich or by poor, men or women, children or adults.”

While Brazilians in Australia have no doubt been eating brigadeiro mixture straight from the bowl ever since they can remember, brigadeiros only hit the public consciousness very recently – and all thanks to Sweet Stone, a two-man company based in Sydney’s Northern Beaches that launched in 2014.

After tasting a brigadeiro on a trip to his girlfriend Barbara Cardoso’s hometown in Brazil, Ross Capsanis, a Sydney boy, was hooked.  “I asked Barbara if she could make this for me back home and she said, ‘Of course darling, I’ve known how to make brigadeiro since I was little,’” Ross says. 

After extremely enthusiastic feedback from Ross (“It was delicious, smooth and like no other chocolate I’d ever had,” says Ross), and their friends and family, Barbara was encouraged to take up a stall at their local markets in Manly.  She sold out in three hours.

While traditional brigadeiro are heavy on sugar and pack a very sweet punch, Barbara’s are a little more sophisticated. Barbara uses 100% cocoa powder, and instead of a quick five minute whip up, Barbara stirs her mixture for up to 50 minutes until it’s smooth and velvety, adding additional couverture chocolate as she goes.  She adorns her brigadeiros with exotic gourmet embellishments, like bitter cacao nibs and raw coconut shavings, to achieve the perfect marriage of soft and crunch.  The exact combinations and ratios took months to perfect.

After a recent trip to Ecuador, Barbara and Ross have committed to forming partnerships with small-scale producers who don’t necessarily have the capital or technology to export their high quality cacao beans to the rest of the world.  They are sticklers for quality and sustainable production, and it all comes through in their product.

“Whenever a Brazilian tries our chocolate they’re blown away by the taste and flavour, and we continually get told ‘No, this is not brigadiero!’” says Barbara. “It’s the high quality ingredients and loads of care that enables us to have created our own signature ‘Stones’ .  The reactions are something that have always surprised us.”

Gourmet Traveller Magazine haven’t held back on their praise, either. “Velvety smooth with a ganache-like texture, slight chew and gloss, Cardoso's product is exceptional,” the magazine wrote back in October. 

We have to agree. You can try them for yourself at our in store tasting later this month, or order online here. Best to heed Gourmet Traveller’s advice: “We recommend going large, really large, to save yourself from instantly ordering more.” 

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Sweet Stones are available now.