Dello Mano Earns Brownie Points with Their Second Store
For anyone who’s a fan of chocolate, you’ll know that there’s no wrong way to enjoy it. You just can’t fudge it up. But when you’re looking for a chocolate treat, we must éclair that it’s hard to beat a brownie. And Dello Mano brownies are the best – bar none.
These brownies have been enjoyed by celebs around the world, including Oprah Winfrey, Anne Hathaway and Ashton Kutcher – who is such a huge fan, he even ordered a batch to be flown to Paris for his birthday. But you don’t have to be a top-class star to enjoy these top-class treats.
Following their sweet success at their flagship store in Teneriffe, the Dello Mano team have opened up a second store in the Brisbane CBD. Yes, workers of Brisbane, you can say goodbye to the sad 3:30pm vending machine pick-me-up. Dello Mano’s store in Tattersalls Arcade has a range of incredible treats to lift you out of even the worst afternoon sugar crash.
Not only is there the signature range of brownies, with flavours such as Maple and Toasted Pecan, Salted Caramel Ganache and Chilli Spice, there’s also a selection of tarts, pies, cakes and desserts. From chocolate ganache tarts to Golden Gaytime mudcakes, this store really is a chocoholic’s dream.
And with something to satisfy every sweet tooth, it’s no wonder Dello Mano is earning some serious brownie points with locals.
We had a chat to co-owner Deb to find out more.
Hi Deb, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you got started in the industry?
I had a love of food and cooking on a big scale from a young age. I studied Food Science, combining my science and food interests. I started my career at Cadbury and managed the new product development department – a great way to be creative in the kitchen, as at that time we launched so many new products every year. I later studied Business Marketing and then had roles at Arnotts, Kelloggs and Sanitarium in Innovation and Product Development.
My husband Bien and I met and always shared a passion to have a small food business. We started Dello Mano as a response to our travel to Italy where the concept of food sharing and gifting was so strong. We vowed to undertake the business when we returned and we did exactly that. I had been in food marketing for big businesses and travelled both internationally and domestically. When I looked around for a food to launch, it seemed to me that brownies were an ignored food here in Australia. That was back in 2005 and everyone, everyone was into cupcakes and macarons. I thought we would become the brownie pioneers and we in fact began the Australian Brownie Revolution. We innovated and created an original concept, recipe and design, eventually watching as brownies began to have a focus and become “respected”.
Dello Mano serves up deliciously indulgent brownies like Belgian Chocolate, Honey Caramelised Macadamia, Espresso and Walnut, and Chilli Chocolate. Where do you find inspiration for all the amazing flavour combinations?
Having worked in big business, we loved the idea of being able to create flavours that we loved – so we really go about developing flavours that we love and feel others will love too. The Classic Belgian Chocolate was all about creating the first really special and original brownie – the flavours that have followed have all been about interesting tastes. Our brand is really important and we stay very true to it – if we can’t achieve a flavour with the real deal, ie. real ingredients, then we just don’t do it. The same if the flavour is fashionable yet too lolly-like for example. We stay very true to our brand ideals and don’t do things to follow fads – given the need to ensure that our brownies always deliver on special, some flavours take quite a while to get right so we really only launch as we have them perfected. Our clients are very particular and as the Brownie Pioneers we try to really abide by our brand guidelines.
What’s your favourite brownie and why?
My favourite brownie changes over time. Throughout our 10 years of business probably Espresso Walnut is my favourite. I love it because with that particular brownie we draw real Di Bella espresso from the coffee machine, so the flavour is very natural in coffee flavour. Combined with the Belgian chocolate it really is a special treat. My sentimental favourite at the moment is Dad’s Carnivale – it is a rocky road on Belgian chocolate brownie, and is dear to me as my dad named it. We are a family business with both our girls growing up over the last 10 years in the business and our own parents also working tirelessly to help us grow.
What are the principles of a perfectly baked brownie?
Well that does vary from person to person, but for me it is all about great ingredients to begin with. We use and have always used since the beginning, even when we couldn’t afford it, free range eggs, real butter and Belgian chocolate. Beginning with beautiful ingredients is definitely the start of a great brownie. Over a couple of years, I baked and baked to develop the formula that resulted in an original, very dense fudgy texture. We had a limited budget for research during our pre-business days and at the time our girls were young and we were constantly at parent meetings and functions. Every time I took a plate of the latest brownie batch and would wait and see how people responded. Having the right ingredients, a kitchen filled with care and passion, a great recipe and not overcooking is the best road to a great brownie.
The new Dello Mano venue in the CBD will have six new flavours on the menu. What can patrons expect?
We have launched the following new flavours as we move into the CBD:
- Roast Hazelnut and Raspberry
- Maple and Toasted Pecan
- Chilli Spice
- Dad’s Carnivale
- Salted Caramel Ganache Brownie
- Orange Cheesecake
- Rum and Raisin
We also have a delicious range of Brownie Pies – Chocolate Ganache, Dulce de Leche, Peanut Butter Mousse and A Bounty Coconut.
We’ll also have some brownie desserts and a brownie milkshake. As well as brownies, we handcraft a range of beautiful cakes.
What advice do you have for others aspiring to open a local business of their own?
Be inspired by the big-picture dream, but do act locally – it is the best way to build a brand. Develop a relationship with local clients and build the brand values and equity and then expand as you can. My big learning about small business is persistence, persistence, persistence. Have a dream and believe with all your heart.
When you’re not enjoying all your own mouth-watering creations, where do you like to go for a great meal?
One of our favourite places for an always enjoyable meal, great service and delicious food is Bar Alto at the Power House. Recently we discovered a lovely little place for a quiet meal down at the Woolsheds in New Farm called Claret House – highly recommend for great food and again beautiful service.
Image credit: Dello Mano