Sweet Surprises: Rebecca Kerswell on Her Passion For All Things Chocolate - and Rubbing Shoulders With Adele!
FORGET CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, MOSMAN HAS ITS OWN CHOCOLATE MAKER IN REBECCA KERSWELL, WHO OWNS AND OPERATES THE SYDNEY CHOCOLATE SCHOOL FROM A PICTURESQUE LOCATION AT MIDDLE HEAD.
By PETA GARRETT
BEYOND the hills of Georges Heights - and down the road from HMAS Penguin, lives a world of sweetness at The Sydney Chocolate School.
Venture inside and the heady aroma of chocolate immediately hits you. It is here where you will also find Mosman’s very own chocolatier and creator of the Coco Chocolate brand, Rebecca Kerswell.
Originally studying Building, Architecture and Design, and a Post Graduate Degree in Product Design; it was a drive and want to produce a product of her own that led Rebecca to a career in chocolate.
“It was a toss-up between chocolate and olive oil but you can do so many things with chocolate,” Rebecca says, as to why she chose the sweeter option.
During the 1990s, Rebecca trained at the prestigious Valrhona chocolate school in France and Slattery in Manchester, before opening her first store in Edinburgh in 2004.
After 12 years in Europe, she moved her family back to Sydney and set up her Coco Studio shop in Kirribilli, and The Sydney Chocolate School in Mosman in 2013.
“We had someone come into the shop and they said they wanted to move onto their Level 2 class training, and that’s when I thought I need to set up the school.”
Not long after, Rebecca stumbled on a sign calling for tenders for the Mosman site.
“I was doing a Mum’s and baby exercise class at Balmoral and we ran past the site and I saw a sign asking for tenders,” Rebecca says.
The Mosman business now designs and produces handmade, organic chocolate for such companies such as Campos Coffee, May Gibbs’ Nutcote and David Jones.
“A lot of what I do is self-taught and things have naturally evolved,” Rebecca tells Mosman Collective.
When working with clients, she often asks whether they have a signature flavour and draws on what’s seasonal.
“My designs are inspired by places I’ve been and things I’ve done,” she says.
From the Mosman site, Rebecca and her team produce such products as Coco Artisan Flaked Drinking Chocolate, Coco Lollypops, Cocoa Dusted Almonds and Coco Signature Rocky Road.
All products are made with ethically sourced chocolate with a high cacao content, cacao butter and real vanilla. Coco Chocolate is gluten free and the dark chocolate is vegan.
Among her current projects, Rebecca is working with Neil Perry on the redesign of the chocolate counter at David Jones Bondi.
The Sydney Chocolate School also offers chocolate classes and courses for children and adults.
Among her most famous students is Adele, who attended a chocolate making class with her son Angelo during her stay in Mosman recently.
"It was just me, Adele and her son. She loved it," Rebecca says.
"We have many famous people who attend our classes with their families. The school is very private and no one ever knows that they are here."