October 12, 2006

Chocolate by the Bald Man

I find it part of my duty as someone overseas to inform my brethren at home of the various cultural oddities and tidbits to be found in the metropolitan area. Also they might visit me if I can make it sound nice enough. Today's fun fact is probably my favorite place in the entire city, and I'm quite sure that it's Liz's as well: Max Brenner's Chocolate by the Bald Man. Yes, it's a long name, but that's only because it's worth the time to say. Chocolate by the Bald Man has two shops in the downtown area, with many more throughout the various suburbs, especially in the East. It is a chocolaterie: a cafe devoted entirely to chocolate in its various forms.

As you walk in the entrance of the shop in Melbourne Central, you are immediately confronted with two large covered vats of pure, liquid, chocolaty goodness. The larger of the two is milk chocolate, the smaller is white chocolate. Around these two cream-colored vats are wicker baskets of coffee ingredients, spices, and nuts. To the left, a shop of dark wooden shelves full of various chocolate-related products, from hug mugs to suckao cups to chocolate powder. In front of you is a waist-high counter, upon which sits a register and several clear pods containing examples of the desserts. The menu sits on the wall behind, its contents in a dark brown font that beckons you to order as much as you can eat.

You catch the eye of the waitress, a short teenage girl dressed in solid black, her apron smeared with chocolate sauce, hair pulled back, her brow glazed from the effort of serving the many customers around the cafe. She hands you a set of menus, then points you towards a table in the corner, a low-set dark wood number surrounded by four rectangular stools, their black cushions inviting. You sit down and peruse the menu.

Ah, but the choices! There are so many, how will you ever decide what to have? There are coffee drinks with chocolate, blended chocolate drinks, hot chocolate in many varieties. Then there are the desserts; chocolate cheesecake, cinnamon buns drizzled in chocolate, waffles with strawberries and chocolate, chocolate fondue ... you notice that they even sell a simple cup of liquid chocolate - called a suckao - for those who want no compromises.

As it is a slightly cooler night, and your dinner settled long ago, you eventually you decide on a hug mug of steaming hot milk chocolate (with a hint of caramel and vanilla) and a waffle with strawberries drizzled in milk chocolate. The hug mug is warm, a cream-colored tear-drop shaped cup perfect for clutching between two cold hands. The waffle is succulent, delectable and satisfying, the strawberries plump, the chocolate sweet, complimenting the dough of the waffle perfectly.

Are you drooling yet? I am ...


Sarah said...


Priscilla said...

yes I am, thank you. You have a gift for descriptive writing. I'm there!

Priscilla said...

I think this would be a great business idea for the Rochester area.

Chris said...

Ya know, it's funny ... I said the exact same thing. I'd LOVE to bring it to the Rochester area, people would eat it up (in a not-so-metaphorical way). Maybe expand a little too (with some bakery recipes of my own). Check out the links on my sidebar for the Max Brennar's website. Some cool stuff is there; I think there may be a MB in Jerusalem!