KIDS won’t be the only ones with a broad grin when the Easter eggs arrive this Sunday morning, thanks to a Coolbellup chocolatier whose stunning creations will help to protect Australia’s birdlife.
Yuki Nakamura, who produces her art-like creations from a mini-factory at the back of her home, is producing 250 hand-made chocolate eggs and donating $2 from every sale to support Birdlife Australia conservation projects.
Ms Nakamura has based her creations on the speckled egg of the buff-banded rail, a stout little bird with a harsh squeak that’s common where her partner Marlon Schoep grew up in Albany.
“We went through so many things to capture the egg, and while the real one is a more subtle brown, we loved the idea of the pattern and we could express what the birds’ egg looks like – and it’s from Western Australia,” Ms Nakamura said.
“Every year we make Easter eggs, but this year we wanted to take it further, and to do something close to home and look to ways to contribute to society.”
Ms Nakamura said they contacted Birdlife Australia who readily gave their permission.
Her own love of eggs and chocolate were sparked back in her home country Japan.
Her father was a bird watcher in his youth, and his binoculars sat in Ms Nakamura’s living room for many years, piquing her interest in what had drawn him to the past-time.
Her first experience of the local birdlife came with her first job in Australia – picking fruit down south.
“We were staying in a caravan, and in the morning I woke to this very strange noise unlike anything I’d heard before – it was a kookaburra, and it really caught my attention.
She’s not quite reached twittering fanaticism so you won’t find her hunkered down in a hide, but Ms Nakamura says she enjoys the birdlife while walking around Bibra Lake and will always look up a new species she discovers.
Her rather also introduced her to chocolate when he brought a sample back from a trip to France.
The experience certainly stuck: “Ever since I was a child I always loved, loved chocolate – so does every child, but I was obsessed,” Ms Nakamura said.
“I bought ever type of chocolate bar and at one every day – in the name of research.
“From there I studied largely by myself; reading lots of books and asking many questions of chocolatiers.”
She moved to Australia in 2008 and decided to pursue her dream of making beautiful chocolate, studying a three-month condensed course at the Savour Chocolate and Patisserie School in Melbourne.
Moving back to Perth to be with her partner, she scored a job with renowned Swanbourne pastry chef Emmanuel Mollois’ Choux Cafe.
“I learned everything but chocolate,” jokes Ms Nakamura, who had to turn her hand to anything needed, whether it was dish-hand or waitressing.
But she never lost her desire for chocolate, and with her partner having a passion for design, they decided to give manufacturing a go.
The first batches were given away to family and friends for feedback – most notably to chef Mollois, whose silence when he ate one was taken as a good omen.
Since then they’ve been increasing their range to four, as well as the Easter eggs.
Locally Nakamura Chocolates are stocked at Fresh Provisions in Bicton, and a little further away at Aspects of Kings Park. But there are a bunch of other stockists which can be found at https://www.nakamura.com.au/
by STEVE GRANT