With Christmas and the New Year fast approaching, quality chocolates are a favourite item to give as a gift. The absolute gem of the chocolate world, is Nina’s Chocolates in Gymea, in the heart of the Sutherland Shire.
This understated business of delicate hand-made chocolates is a regular award-winner at the Sydney Royal Easter Show and rightly so.
Nina's is oh so sweet.
I was first introduced to Nina’s not long after I moved to Sydney over a decade ago and while there are a few notable chocolate stores in Sydney, Nina’s is still at the top of my list. As you walk into this modest chocolate shop you are surrounded by tall shelves stacked with chocolate gift packs and special holiday creations, such as a chocolate gingerbread house or an enormous 50cm Easter bunny.
Nina is always outrageous fun.
At Nina's there is also a long glass display case brimming with over 120 original little chocolates, including colourful animals (like snails, koalas and frogs) and the 'bomb' range which are chocolates filled with molten liqueur centers. These little individual chocolates are great for creating little gift packs, perfect for any occasion.
There are 12 individual chocolates made for the festive season, and I was able to sample some of them. Perhaps the biggest tribute to this time of year is the Snowman. The Snowman ($16.80 for 6pcs) is made of white chocolate with a dark chocolate hat and a passionfruit ganache filling. I was very much looking forward to tasting this particular chocolate as I am a fan of Nina's Pure Passion chocolate ($16.80). However the combination of the white chocolate and the ganache was too sweet and I was unfortunately disappointed.
There once was a tree and a snowman…
The highlight of my Christmas chocolate tasting experience at Nina’s was a little Florentine Christmas tree ($23.50 for 12pcs) - which I'd initially picked only for its aesthetics. The tree was created by piping milk chocolate mousse with little almond chips, between two dark chocolate buttons. It is then topped with a white chocolate star. The Almond Florentine is a subtle, but completely delicious chocolate, that I would definitely recommend keeping to yourself rather than gifting.
Bring those traditional Christmas flavours back.
The dark chocolate Christmas Orange Log ($21.50 per 8pcs) and the Christmas Caramel Pudding ($22.40 per 16pcs) were also nice chocolates, though the orange flavour was pretty subtle. I often find caramel delicious, but too sweet. The cream filling of the caramel pudding was not nearly as sweet as I had anticipated and was deliciously smooth.
Are there enough cups to go around?
I also sampled the Large Vanilla Bean Cup ($22.40) and the Sweetheart Strawberry Mousse Cup ($16.80), though they are available at Nina’s year round. Both these chocolates contained extremely light and smooth marshmallow-like mousse centres. I particularly enjoyed the vanilla bean one which highlights the genius of using simple flavours and producing a great tasting chocolate.
You can’t top this pink flamingo.
The signature chocolate at Nina’s Chocolates is undoubtedly the ‘Pink Flamingo’ ($14.40). This exquisite chocolate is made of white chocolate and filled with a ganache. It is piped into a swirl, turning pink at the peak and dusted with sugar. Although it is a very rich chocolate, the white chocolate balances the ganache, thus creating a simultaneously sweet and tart taste in your mouth.
The staff at Nina’s are always fabulously helpful and pleasant, giving out samples of some of their 120 original chocolates. The superior taste and quality of Nina’s chocolate is clear and you'll be totally hooked after the first bite.
Where: 27 Gymea Bay Road, Gymea.
Cost: from $2.
When: Monday- Friday: 9.00am-5:30pm, Saturday: 9:00am- 4:00pm. Closed Sunday.
Good for kids: Yes.
Take away: Yes.