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Winnow Chocolates

“It’s a pretty fun job.”

Sydney-based chocolatier and rainbow-maker Amanda McKeith isn’t one for hyperbole.

An art history and business graduate, Impressionist-lover and ex-NGO professional, this is someone who’s had her finger in a lot of wonderfully different flavoured pies. These days though, she spends her days mixing, tempering, dying and tasting chocolate every colour imaginable, marketing, packaging, brainstorming new ideas and generally living a (slightly more subdued) Willy Wonka kind of life.

Amanda’s company started as all good things do: when she decided to leave the rat race back in 2013. 

It’s the stuff French novels are made of. After a career working in events and management in the NGO sector, Amanda decided that 9-5-ing wasn’t for her, quit her job and started working part time in a chocolate shop while she planned her next move. 

“I was planning on returning to art school to study sculpture when the opportunity arose to train as a chocolatier,” Amanda explains matter-of-factly. 

Keen, she learnt on the job and soon became a master of the French stone-tempering technique.  This complicated little process involves heat, movement, concentration and practise.  And practise she does.

“If I’m not focused it’s easy to accidentally heat the chocolate too high, causing it to bloom - where the cocoa butter rises to the surface and looks a blotchy white colour,” says Amanada.  “Luckily this is easily fixed as chocolate can be re-tempered at a later stage.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, a distinctive colour palette, unusual forms and a penchant for ombre (inspired by Monet’s garden in Giverny) quickly became her signature.  Favouring traditional flavours like salted almond, coconut, honeycomb and berry, Amanda’s chocolate quickly found an enthusiastic audience.  And like a true French heroine, she eventually decided to go it alone. 

Winnow Chocolates launched in 2013, named after a chocolate-making process where the husk of a cocoa bean is cracked and blown away to leave only the cocoa nib.

Initially it was a part time project which saw Amanda tempering after dark and delivering the chocolate herself.  But the business grew quickly thanks to corporate clients and brides and grooms all wanting to indulge their chocolate fantasies.

“One of the benefits of using the traditional French technique of hand-tempering on marble is the opportunity to offer custom-made chocolate,” Amanda explains. 

Which is what she’s done for us.  To celebrate Easter, Amanda has immortalised the flavours of the season in a fine, dark couverture chocolate brittle.  Decorated with edible 23 carat gold leaf, studded with lemon rind, candied orange and moist sultanas, and carefully spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, our hot cross bun brittle is the result of hours of research, testing and tasting.  (We helped with the last part.)

While we were fairly over-excited about the results, Amanda, typically, was a little more measured.

“Ultimately for me it is about offering a really high quality, delicious and visually pleasing product, so if I can continue to offer that, I will be happy.” 


Our dark hot cross bun brittle is available here.

Second image credit: Nikki To for Broadsheet Sydney.