Dello Mano is a name synonymous with decadent chocolate treats. Their brownies have fans internationally, and over the years they have moved from a commercial kitchen in Breakfast Creek, to a cafe and kitchen in Teneriffe, and have now opened a second store in Tattersall’s Acrade in the Brisbane CBD.
A coffee and brownie event at the new Brisbane CBD store was an invite not to be passed up.
Opened just at the start of June, the store isn’t quite visible from the entrance of the arcade. You might just manage to catch a glimpse of the signage in brown and gold. If you wander down the walkway, you’ll come to it, just before the steps up.
Through the glass, you’ll see ripples of lightbulbs lighting up the store, and a warm glow from the ornate ochre and gold wallpaper. It has patterend wooden floors, and wooden shelves lined with non-brownie foods you can purchase, such as granola and cookies, also made by them.
The star though, and centrepiece in the store, is their brownie range. In a glass case, wrapped in jewel-toned foil, are little mountains of an assortment of brownies. Their Luxury Classic brownie, the original, takes pride of place in the middle, a slightly larger heap than the rest. On either side are more flavour options.
As part of the event, we got to sample some of their wares. Being a tie-in event with Di Bella coffee, who were one of their early supporters and are still their source of coffee, many of the items were coffee-centric.
First up was the Espresso and Walnut brownie. It is, of course, made with Di Bella coffee. The brownie was rich, dense, and very smooth. It had a soft, fudgy texture, and melted in the mouth. It had a subtle bitterness, replaced by a light sweetness as it dissolved on the palate, without being too sweet. It had walnut pieces in it as well, for a bit of texture.
There was a special of coffee-infused hand-rolled chocolate truffles for the event. The ganache was made with bits of espresso beans in it to allow even more coffee flavour to infuse. The ganache was scooped out with a spoon, rolled into a spherical shape quickly (if one takes too long, the heat from your hands starts to melt the ganache), then rolled in cocoa powder to coat the outside. It had a softer texture than the brownie, and again dissolved in the mouth to coat the roof of the mouth and tongue with bitterweet chocolate.
The next offering was a selected coffee blend, and a different brownie sample. It being late evening, I requested a non-coffee option (I did plan on going to sleep later), and was served a very delicious hot chocolate, with a touch of spice and just the right amount of sweetness. It was a very fitting drink for a wintery night.
The Coconut and Lime brownie had dessicated coconut bits in it, and didn’t have too limey a flavour.
The Raspberry and Hazelnut brownie had a light berry flavour and the promised hazelnut bits.
In another of the glass cabinets on the other side of the counter was a display of beautiful, indulgent cakes. Although they weren’t part of the samples that evening, they certainly looked like they warranted a return to try them. They were, of course, also house-made.
In the front window of the shop, a little further down from the entrance, are larger versions of those dressed-up cakes.They would definitely be suitable for special events. A birthday, for instance, would be a great excuse to get one. While there were plenty of chocolate-based options like the Chocolate Mousse cake, the Chocolate Buttercream cake, and the Bounty cake, there were also other non-chocolate varieties, such as the Caramel Cheesecake and the Raspberry Pistachio cake.
Delicious chocolate tastings aside, one of the highlights of the evening was hearing about the story behind Dello Mano from one of the people behind it, Bien Peralta. It is clearly the culmination of a dream they have worked hard to realise, and it was interesting to see the pieces from the past that mark the journey, from the mind map dream board where they were first conceptualising what they actually wanted to do, to the first hand mixer they used to mix the brownie batter up, to the original box they made up, with strips of ribbon stuck on, to demonstrate what they wanted their packaging to look like. Their venture has not been without its setbacks, as the storyboards along the walls of the shop will tell. Still, they have persevered, and this second store, while not all they aspire to, is a significant next step.
Speaking to Bien, two themes clearly emerged. The first, the belief in the importance of following your dreams. It is clear that they are passionate about what they do, and do everything they can to make their brownies the best. The second, pride that this is a family venture. While he and his wife have been the driving force of Dello Mano, his children have also supported the enterprise, stepping up to help without them having to ask.
Dello Mano is certainly a place to get some indulgent treats. While the new city location has very limited seating, their brownies are pre-wrapped to take away anyway. I’m sure the cakes will be packaged just as well. If you can’t make it into the city or the Teneriffe store, they do deliver worldwide as well..
Setting: 1/2 (it is very pretty, but the seating is limited.)
Service: 2/2 (this was a special event, but the staff were absolutely lovely regardless.)
Price point: $18 for a 4 piece Luxury Brownie gift box. Cakes from $42.
Value: It isn’t cheap, but they do sell themselves as a luxury item, and it is tasty stuff.
Address: Tattersall’s Arcade, 215 Queen Street, Brisbane CBD
Phone: 1300 661 682
Website: Dello Mano