Things start getting interesting after you pass under Gladesville Bridge. In its day back in 1964, at 305 metres long, this arch bridge was the longest single span concrete arch ever constructed.
As our RiverCat journey continues, the sides of the Parramatta River narrow into mangroves.
Flocks of water birds are startled by our boat’s smooth passage. It’s a view of Sydney I’ve never experienced before, and thus an hour and a quarter well spent.
Disembarking at the end of the route in Parramatta sees the Dawn Fraser turn around for her return journey.
We group on the riverbank for Reza’s introduction to Parramatta. Taste of Australia ($145/person) is a very different proposition to the usual Taste Food Tours adventures, which usually see you land somewhere in Sydney that's so multiculturally diverse, you might think you’ve travelled abroad.
This Taste Food Tour is designed to (re)introduce you to the area touted as Sydney's second CBD, as you find it today. As all things should, Reza’s introduction begins with a welcome to Dharug land, and Burramatta, as the area is known to our first people. The name roughly translates to ‘the place where the eels lie down’. Yes, the name of the local rugby league team, the Parramatta Eels, finally makes more sense! This piece of shared knowledge may also give you some some insight into some of the public art you’ll see as you walk along Church Street, later on in this history-rich tour.
The Adora Handmade Chocolates story began in 1993 with two sisters, Katerina Stavropoulos and Tina Vamvoukakis, making chocolates part-time in their own home. Getting commercial contracts, including one for the Sydney Opera House, forced them to move to commercial premises in Earlwood back in 1997.
Today the sisters now own four chocolate cafes, including the one I’m standing in, which opened in 2011. While Adora beat Parramatta's current influx of chains, their migration to this place is part of a bigger picture of retailers recognising that there are plenty of hungry people to feed in the rapidly expanding City of Parramatta.
The chocolates are now all made in their factory in Marrickville. We’re introduced to the range with a Wattleseed Truffle. The use of native ingredients ties nicely into Reza’s origin story of Parramatta, though to me the interior of this chocolate is a little bland - generic creamy nut.
What I do fall in love with is their lovely, luxurious Hot Chocolate ($4.50) made by putting couverture Callebaut chocolate shavings into whole milk.
The tour allows you plenty of time to buy products. If you’re wondering about why the glass counter is packed with Sweetness The Patisserie products, Adora have bought out the award-winning Epping patisserie’s range, with no further connection to the original founder and director, Gena Karpf.
I took home some Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Marshmallows ($10.50/9), and while the flavour was good, the texture let them down by being much firmer than the airy originals of my memory. Sour Gummies ($1/each) were disappointingly sweet. While the White Chocolate Truffles ($15/8 pieces) I bought were coated in quality white chocolate, I didn’t rate any of the fillings I selected, which ranged from a Cinnamon Chilli Truffle, which tasted like cassia bark, to a Lime Truffle where lacklustre coconut dominated any lime.
NOTE: This story began in my last blog post, and will continue in my next blog post.
Adora Handmade Chocolates
2B/103 George Street, Parramatta
Ph: (02) 9635 7737