Born from a passion for really good chocolate Donna Archer, Donarch being a contraction of her own name, began her family business in 2016. Her early introduction to the art was a chocolate making course at Josephan’s, one of our personal favourites at Leura in the Blue Mountains.
Things really took off when her first creation, the raspberry heart, won gold in the Royal Sydney show in its first year. Inspired by the memory of real raspberry in chocolate as a child she was determined to perfect it, the handpainted masterpiece that resulted takes it to a whole new level.
Like the other chocolates in the front cabinet, the raspberry heart contains fresh ingredients and no hardeners or preservatives meaning they have a limited shelf life and should be consumed within 3-4 weeks after purchase.
While the store is unassuming from the outside, you’re stopped short when you open the door and are struck by the incredible fragrance that wafts out and the expanse of literal eye candy in front of you.
There are some adorable moulded and handpainted designs on the shelves together with packaged options to take home but I focused in on the wide array in the counter display. You can buy them individually, or they’ll box up your selection to take home with you. Just remember to keep them at an even temperature and not refrigerated. I managed to get the two boxes below home on the flight with me and they’re handling Brisbane’s warmer temperatures tucked at the back of my pantry. Not they’ll need to wait for long.
Other standouts for us were the salted caramel and be warned this is SALTED. Possibly an acquired taste but the initial hit of salt is gently balanced out when the rich chocolate melts in your mouth and coats the taste buds. It’s unique and quite special. These are so popular in the local community that they’ve now worked out the right balance to introduce them in bar form.
Paul is Donna’s son and equally passionate about the business. He introduced us to his personal favourite, the Sadlers Creek Muscat truffle. As with many great inventions, it was created from a series of happy accidents. From the initially incorrect measure of the liqueur to an unexpected Brulee like ‘crack’ created by the use of an unusual form of sugar, the recipe has stuck.
What made a real impression on me while talking to Paul was the level of experimentation and testing that goes into creating each new addition to the range. I would have expected that the fabulous raspberry heart, for example, could easily morph into a successful mango or lychee heart but that is just not the case. It’s not only getting the filling right but the balance of the chocolate to filling and even the shape is essential to the mouthfeel and flavour experience.