Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Post-Christmas post

After a huge pre-Christmas rush, we sold out of chocolates and honeycomb and Nikki and I were pooped. All was wonderful, until Cygnet lost a great artist in horrible circumstances and our little community is still hurting. But a week later, happiness was to be found around the tree on Christmas morning and at the dinner table on Christmas night.

Cygneture is on a little break from chocolate making. Nikki is interstate and it is just me again. "Nikki come back! Come BACK!!!!" I wonder if she can hear me?

We expect to be back in production next week and hope to be back at the markets on the 8th.

I wonder what 2011 will bring...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Oh yeah! My camera's back...

Well, what a great way to start the Ashes, Kerry's on the radio, Hilfenhaus gets the first wicket and Doherty gets the last two.

Catch up from the last few weeks:

Most importantly, you might remember Stephen-of-the-lemon-creams, who will now be known as Andrew (since that's his name), gave his verdict on the lemon creams, and the long and short of it was, they need work. He is getting back to me with a sample of what he is after and I will dutifully oblige, especially if they're good.

Excitement on the home front, 6.5, who is now 6.75, finally lost his first tooth this week. It was becoming a bit of a problem for him as he was the only 6-year-old in class who hadn't lost a tooth. Well no more! He's back in the cool gang (kinda nice when entry is based on how many teeth you don't have)

Next week we are off to The Pretenders & Blondie, we are making a weekend of it and heading to Perth for Utsi Cafe, back to Seven Sheds for pink beer and collecting a couple of Sydney-siders along the way. A car full of fun.

Upcoming chocolates: Lymington Nunnery Chai Truffles, Christmas glitter will be featuring traditional colours of red, gold and green, red, gold and greeeeen, every day is like survival-survival, you're my lover not my rival....

Goodness, where did that come from?

Might be time to sign off now. Franklin Market in the morning.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Milkman of Human Kindness

This is one for the wine deliveries which mysteriously arrive on my doorstep, eventhough no one is ever seen arriving or leaving.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Now that I'm on a roll

I forgot to mention the exciting things coming up for this season at Cygneture. I am expecting supplies and equipment deliveries from Canada, UK and the US in the next week, so keep an eye out for more colour for summer, gold & bronze lustre (thanks to Alastair Wise for that one) and butterflies.

Lemon creams and the occasional table

And oh what a beautiful day it is today, tomorrow looks set to be even warmer and sunnier. Summer is afoot.

Nikki has returned at last and to celebrate her first day helping in the kitchen I planned to take some photos of her. Get to the kitchen, I was sure I put the camera in the car, but perhaps I didn't. So the day went into honeycomb, mint discs and going vegan with fruit & nut cluster, dark chocolate discs, animals and jungle pops. Forgot to bring storage boxes so a quick trip home was required. Happy-happy. Sunny drive. Through my front gate. Oh-no. No. Surely that's not my camera... Yup, right in the middle of the driveway with a whopping muddy tyre mark squashed into the middle of it.

Hence no photos in this edition.

Wednesday improves. Another sunny day and a date with friends. Drop 6.5 to school, pop into post office. Yippee, parcel to pick up. Yahoo, Amazon delivers. I loooove Amazon, it comes right to your doorstep, or it would if I had postal service to my door.

Chocolate books, bread books, medicine books, food DVDs.

Set off to visit friends, lovely morning, arrive home to find that the pixies have been to my door and left me bottles of wine. Oh can the day get any better than this?? Kiddies tired, both in bed asleep by 7:30. Mmmm.... time to enjoy a glass.

So, we have this lovely occasional-table that we set beside the couch for nights like this and it works a treat when you remember to put it there. It doesn't work quite as well when you think it's there, but really it's folded neatly against the wall. Plonk (I wonder if that is how the phrase was coined in relation to wine?) There was no occasional-table, just my carpet. Plonk.

So now we have lemon creams (keeping with the vegan theme too). I was asked to make fruit creams, 'the old fashioned ones you used to be able to buy, but can't find anywhere anymore'. So for Stephen at Salamanca, this one's for you!!

All going well, 48 lemon creams, using Glendevie lemons, time for dipping, a bit sticky...mmm... take care...not going well, noooooo. It was like a horror movie about a deep sea monster or an alien in a building. 48 went in, but only 15 came out. Stephen better like them. Stephen better turn up for them!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The way to spend a Sunday in Tasmania

Three friends, lots of kids, bottles of wine, almond bicuits and bread from Cygnet Market, smoked trout and a bit of fun. That's a fine and dandy Sunday.

Dad put 6.5 to bed tonight:
"Ed and Jeanette weren't there today" (at Cygnet Market)
"No they weren't"
"I'm going to dream of eccles cakes"
"O.k. you do that"

Bless him, they are good eccles cakes.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Swing in to Spring

Spring at our house

And what a beautiful time of year it is. The days are getting longer and the nights shorter, the evenings are warmer and there is a distinctive buzz in the air. Yes the damn flies are back and every year I forget how enormous they are. They should be in the Amazon, not in my house.

And now that the weather is warming up I can start making moulded chocolates again. I miss them. They are so satisfyingly pretty when they work out.

We're back to Salamanca and Cygnet markets next week and will be increasing our whereabouts in the coming months so stay posted!

Saras saves her choc-pop from extinction

Chocolate selections

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Some days I amaze myself, I am on fire, I can do no wrong and then I make up for it....

Between 2.5 deciding that sleeping is no fun when you have a cold, chocolates not working, fire not starting 'cause the wood's gotten wet.... blah-blah-blah...

Well, Thursday morning, 8 a.m., is now the most important single time of the week, it's when I phone Slalmanca for a spot. Today at 8:55 a.m., I remembered that. Unfortunately I remembered a tad too late so while I will be at Salamanca this Saturday the 18th, I willl not be there on the 25th or the 2nd either. Silly me....

Monday, September 6, 2010

Politics at our house

Conversation between 6.5 & dad:

"Dad, do we have a Prime Minister yet?"
"No, not yet, they are still figuring it out"

"Dad, why don't they share?"
"Well, that's a bit hard to do"

"Well, why don't they take turns?"

"Dad, they should do paper-rock-scissors!"
"Yes, that's a good idea"

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Cygnet Growers & Makers Market

Three really good reasons to venture to Cygnet Market on Sunday 5th (from 10-12)

No.1: Cygneture...(experimenting with gooseberries again this week and Lemon Tea ganache)

No.2: Ed & Jeanette's Pork Pies (you need to get in quick because fellow stall holders have realised how great they are so they usually sell out in the first hour or two)

No.3: The handmade sourdough and beer breads that have been for sale at the front door for the past few markets (delicious)

Mmmm... Four good reasons

No.4: The honey, also sold at the front door (mountain lilac and leatherwood among others)

Alright, five....

No.5: Hand made and photographed cards (some beauties of Tasmanian birds and picker's huts)

Fine, lots of good reasons... Ed & Jeanette's goats cheese, handmade soaps, Julie's plants.....

Then have lunch at Lotus Eaters and the Red Velvet Lounge, visit local art galleries, take a walk along Port Cygnet water front................

Monday, August 16, 2010

Oh What a Night

Little old me with Peter Gee
I spent today in a race against a very sore head after a night of fun at Wrest Point Casino for the Royal Hobart Fine Food Awards. I think I won, but I'm not too sure yet.
I spent four fun-filled hours at Cygnet Market earlier in the day, the market was the most enjoyable yet for me. It seemed to be a day where lots of people I know only by sight came in to say 'hello' and let me know that they had read the article in the Mercury and were really interested in my product and impressed by what was written. David and the kids came in for a visit, which is always lovely, the baker was outside with more rye sourdough and a bread made with White Rabbit Dark Ale. Ed had a fabulous cheese slice which I had for morning tea and I chatted to anyone who was willing to hang about.
Margie arrived to take care of the kids and we were off to Allens Rivulet to pick up Nikki and Gary to head into the awards. The night was looking good and when we arrived things just got better. We had a few welcome drinks and headed in to discover that the MC for the night was none other than Peter Gee. Woo-hoo! (It's the voice)
We had a few bottles of wine and a great meal, the smoked duck from Poachers Pantry in the ACT was excellent as was the Honey Macadamia Nut encrusted chicken and the desserts were delicious, especially the raspberry one.
So I held off heading for the ladies so that I didn't miss anything only to come back in the middle of Judith Sweet's speech about the award categories, of course, hindsight pointed out that I missed out on her commentary on my chocolate entry.
And then the presentations, I spent half my time cheering for the winners that I knew, only to receive a dig in the ribs from the husband telling me to stop being so loud, I drifted off into a happy reverie to receive a whopping dig from, said-husband, telling me to 'get up', 'why?' says I, "because you've won!'. 'What? I've won what?'
Champion Chocolate & Confectionery
And so, the night came to an end, I really wanted to win a Gold Medal, but didn't expect to win the Chocolate & Confectionery Champion's Award after only my first year in business AND I got to have my photo taken with Mr. Gee and I was a happy woman. Cygnet had a great night with Boks Bacon winning Champion Smallgoods, Grahame at Cygnet Butchery for his Tasmanian Wood Smoked Bacon medal and Lyn and Gil from Nuts n More for winning a whopping 19 medals!
The winning entry

The floral centerpiece with the Champion Award

Saturday, August 14, 2010


We'll be at Cygnet Market tomorrow (Sunday 14th), but will be away next weekend so are hoping to be back at Salamanca on Saturday, August 28th.

From now we are hoping to be at Salamanca each week, Cygnet Market on the 1st Sunday of each month and Franklin on the last Sunday of each month. We will keep the website and blog up to date with any events etc.

This week we are also planning to update the website with photographs of chocolates and our new packaging.

Link to Mercury article about Cygneture by food writer Elaine Reeves.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Coming Back to Earth

A huge THANK YOU to Eagle Plastics in Hobart for making my display cabinet. It's great. Salamanca is a lot of hard work. Between getting organised to get there and then trying to make logical sentences all day, I was glad to have Nikki with me, I don't think I would have gotten through my first day without her. Cheers.

The market was a hoot and the stall holders couldn't have been more helpful, everyone was incredibly helpful so thank you to all.

I submitted our Cygneture entries for the Hobart Fine Food Awards in five categories today. I meant to take photos before packing them off, but I had too much going on in my cluttered brain. We entered Boxed Chocolates, Leatherwood Honeycomb, Marshmallow (elderberry, elderflower, vanilla & raspberry), Gingerbread and Christmas Pudding (I got 'Best Pudding' at the Huon Show last year with that one, so I'd better do well or I will be very put out!!).

Here's yet another 'thank you' for Bruce and Jasmine at the Old Bank B&B in Cygnet for letting me borrow their thermometer after mine met with a nasty accident at the bottom of a pot of boiling sugar and for trotting down to the 'bottom butcher' to borrow a cryovac pack for me to vacuum seal my pudding for the awards. Funny place, Cygnet, you can need the strangest things and someone will always come up with a solution and everyone is ready to lend a hand.
Well, I'll be at Salamanca again this week, site C51, Davey Street end again, so hope to see you there.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Salamanca! Here we come...

Quick update to confirm that Cygneture will be appearing for the first time at Salamanca Market this Saturday. We will be at Stall C52, Davey Street end, on the building side. Nikki is really excited about the 5 a.m. start for the trip over the mountain.

I'll update what's on after Thursday (next day in the kitchen).

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Heading to Salamanca

Yahoo! I have been accepted in to Salamanca Market and am hoping to start there on Saturday, August 7th. I will be able to confirm this on the Monday of each week and will advise of my location.

Back to the commercial kitchen this week to prepare. Very excited and looking forward to getting back up to Hobart markets.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Weekend on Bruny

Bruny Island Cruises with Pennicott Wilderness Adventures
Mother and calf (photo doesn't do them justice)
We had been promising to do the cruise for the last few years and luckily for us we chose to go on Saturday. Within twenty minutes of setting out we came across a humpback whale and her new calf. The staff couldn't have been more welcoming and informative and I have never had so much fun in the wind and rain in my life.

Next stop was obligatory visit to Bruny Island Cheese to buy some 1792 and Saint that was so runny and yummy it was like spreading a thick gooey creamy sensation over my bread. The bread is baked on site in the wood fired oven outside that was still warm when I walked by and smelled so good I could have eaten the bricks.

Then on to Hiba for some fudge. People ask me why I don't make fudge and my answer is always the same, "Why would I try when they do it so well?".

Cloudy Bay
After hanging about Lunawanna in the morning, we were off for a run on Cloudy Bay where the surf was up and the surfers were heading down by the car load.
BISH: Bruny Island Smoke House

We had planned to have lunch at BISH, which was delicious and were going to go for a bit of a wander after that, but then we noticed an increasing number of cars boot scooting down to the ferry. It quickly became evident that I mixed up the ferry timetable again.
Take note that if you haven't joined the Bruny Island Cheese Club, the BISH hot smoked trout is as optional extra on offer this time round: www.brunyislandcheese.com.au/cheeseclub.php

Friday, July 16, 2010

Warming the kitchen


Getting the kitchen fire going last week wasn't a such a good idea. The kitchen was cold, so was I and of course my ever-sensitive chocolate doesn't enjoy a chill in the air either. Well, start up the fire of course, that'll warm things up... within half an hour I had every door and window open to allow the smoke to billow out, along with every smidgen of heat that was in the house before I started.

So how do I warm the cockles of my heart after that? I sent out an SOS to find a Tasmanian Rum to make an Eggnog chocolate, Lark Island Rum was the answer and I am pretty happy with the result.

Eggnog Islands

I experimented with Seven Sheds Melomel. David and I couldn't decide on whether it was a success or not, so off I went to look for objective opinions. The results of my mini-survey were 50-50, but while I was at the Cygnet Market today I had an idea... I went to Salamanca yesterday and picked up some Ashbolt Elderberry Concentrate, which comes with the recommendation, "With gin or vodka", ("red flag to a bull" should be written in brackets). Thoroughly enjoyable.... So, next choc of the bench will be a pepperberry ganache with elderberry gel.

Sunday, July 4, 2010


And so I enter the world of marshmallows. This is all part of the preparation and experimenting for the Hobart Fine Food Awards. They turned out well and I will experiment with flavourings and coulours over the next few weeks.

Melting Tank with marshmallow squares

Packaged marshmallows

At Cygnet Growers' and Makers' Market this week I've hit winter mode and discovered I'm very much a fruity-gel type. This week, however, is my Grace & Nikki week. They love fruit & nut and caramels so at the market we have:
Fruit & Nut Clusters
Hazelnut Praline
Applemead Truffles
Lymington Triple (triple chocolate ganache and blueberries)
Caramel Crunch
Rhubarb & Bluegum
I've made a full batch of honeycomb, so no chance of me running out this time and of course the launch of the marshmallow.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What's coming next...

Our newest member to the household

We will be at the Cygnet Growers & Makers Market on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month coming up. The next BIG thing for us is the Royal Hobart Fine Food Awards which will be held in August so we are figuring out which categories to enter and what chocolates to make...

At the next Cygnet market we will have lots of festive chocolates available. As well as the ever-popular honeycomb, I'll be experimenting with marsmallow for the season that's in it. We've just inherited some beautiful hens to join our girls so hopefully they will provide the eggs.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Why we love making chocolate

Cygneture has been up and running since November last year. We live in a beautiful part of Tasmania and wanted to start a little business to use the amazing range of produce from the Huon and Channel Regions. Of course our chocolate is not from Tassie but where ever possible we source everything else from here and across Tasmania.

Chestnuts from our beautiful tree

The name: My mum came up with the business name: Thanks Kitty
The logo: Richard Mitchell, from Jumpshots, designed our logo with the four swans being my husband and I and our children. Thanks for the website too!
Our location: We have been living in Cygnet since 2006 and have no intention of moving.
Where you can buy our chocolates: We sell at local markets, Cygnet Growers and Makers on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month and at Franklin Market (which is closed for winter).