Published in the Inner West Independent and City News.
Confession time: I once considered dating a girl for her Mother’s brownies. It’s hard to be ethical in the face of the best brownies you have tasted. These brownies had the perfect texture. With bedroom eyes she hinted it had something to do with a shot of Espresso, as strong as you can make it. The coffee blended with the chocolate making them super rich, but they were not the least bit cakey. When you’d eaten your fill, you could freeze the rest of your bounty until compulsion drove you back to your secret stash. To my delight they were just as I left them, only colder – a perfectly textured, ice-cold, chocolate treat.
Sadly brownies do not a good relationship make, so with a rueful smile I forced myself to give up those brownies. These days she feeds them to another; but I did gain a friend (once she got over hating me, that is). For a long time afterward I didn’t buy any brownies. Too often they were a source of profound disappointment. Luckily, my love life has prospered, but it took until last month to finally find a brownie that could hold a candle to those made by the Mother of my would-be paramour.
I was at Clover in Annandale chasing a caffeine hit when a box of brownies caught my eye. They came from an inner west business called The Brownie Farm, run by 30 year old ex-teacher Glen Westcott and his 22 year old bride, Katie. Glen grew up on a farm in Parkes, and the business name is a way for him to inject a small part of his farming heritage into his new city-based business.
“Baking brownies from home and meeting new people in our community has been excellent,” says Glen. The adventure began with a secret recipe from a very good friend. “There’s only three people that know the recipe,” says Katie with a cheeky smile, neatly deflecting the obvious question. They were happy to tell me that the perfect brownie has “good moisture all the way through without being sloppy”. Expect to find a lot of surprises packed under “a crisper sort of top” in flavours that include Raspberry and White Chocolate and Oreo. Glen’s personal favourite is Peppermint because “it’s quite different, a bit refreshing.” I’m still deciding on mine.
With great relief, I can report that The Brownie Farm brownies are ethically sound. “It’s a really expensive brownie to make because we use really good ingredients,” says Glen. Fairtrade chocolate is at the top of their ingredient list. Glen explains: “We’ve got all that we need – a roof over our heads, a car to drive, all the food we can eat. We really wanted to build a business that puts back into the community.” It's quite a treat to finally have ethics and eat brownies too.
READER OFFER: Make a purchase from The Brownie Farm’s online store www.thebrowniefarm.com.au and enter the code word inner-west for a 20% discount. Offer runs until the 27th June, 2010.