Words & photos by Fatema Sitabkhan
It’s always refreshing to stumble upon the lovely people behind small businesses, so upon visiting Dot Chocolate at A Boutique Life market in Belair a couple of months ago, I was able to enjoy an authentic and delicious range of freshly made cookies, biscuits, and fluffy cakes that basically made me want to melt with happiness!
Owned and managed by South Australian local Megan Charlton, Dot Chocolate specializes in creating baked goods that are not only sourced from local produce, but offer its customers with the opportunity to appreciate the delights with their eyes as well as with their tummies! There is a variety of options – in terms of cookies, biscuits, chocolate bars, granola, and bliss balls (just to name a few)!
After recently taking a step back from the hospitality scene, Megan is currently focusing on Dot Chocolate as a full-time business, in addition to juggling a family life with a devoted husband, an adorable 3 year old boy, and a beautiful dog named Bonnie!
I recently visited Megan at her home, where we discussed about Dot Chocolate and what it’s like to run a business from home – have a read of our interview below and next time you’re looking for some affordable and beautiful baked goods, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Megan for further inquiries!
Tema; What made you start up Dot Chocolate as a business?
Megan: My love for baking and being creative! I love that i can share yummy things that I’ve made with people!
Tema: What do you primarily specialize in making (pastries / cakes / cookies / etc)?
Megan: At the moment i specialize in baked goods. When I’m at markets, I like to take a little bit of everything along – cakes/biscuits/chocolates. My main wholesale product is biscuits and little treats to grab with coffee. However, my background is in working with couverture chocolate – making handmade truffles, bonbons and chocolate bars. I make a few chocolates as part of my product range (peachy block, granola block, truffles). I’d like to work with it a bit more and hope to do so in the near future. Couverture chocolate is such a beautiful product to work with!
Tema: Where / how can your customers buy your baked treats? Are there any markets that you make a regular appearance at, or do you have your own shop front?
Megan: A few different ways, actually! My Instagram and Facebook pages have my info on any upcoming markets that I’ll be at (around Adelaide). Private orders are also welcome through email (email@example.com). I also have a number of cafes that stock my product – the most recent one being Fleur| Brew, which is a florist + coffee house based in the Adelaide CBD. No shop front… yet!
Tema: I see that you’ve set up an Instagram page for your business – how do you think it fares as a social media platform for thriving small businesses like yours?
Megan: I feel like it’s a very strong platform for a small business! It keeps me in touch and informed with my customers and brings in new customers continuously. This is so important for me at the moment, especially because I work from a home kitchen and don’t have a shop front, so it keeps me in the loop with the community. It’s also a great way to gauge feedback from followers whilst trialling new products, in addition to providing a way for me to advertise my business and what it has on offer.
Tema: How do you make your baked treats – do you tend to use locally sourced produce?
Megan: I work from my home kitchen in Seacliff. Everything I make is in small batches, so my customers get the freshest products. I love using locally sourced products – we have so many amazing products available to us in South Australia, so I always use local where I can. I even get my citrus from my own backyard!
Tema: Where do you get the inspiration to create your baked treats – do the recipes have a family influence, do they incorporate elements that you like personally, or any other such reason?
Megan: My mum was(/is!) the best home baker and taught me how to bake when I was little. I use some of those recipes that we would bake together. I like taking recipes like that and putting new little twists on them – like using pear and fennel together in a biscuit. But, I also love sticking with classic flavours – like lemon and poppyseed and salted caramel.
Tema: Is there anything else that you’d like your customers / our readers to know about Dot Chocolate?
Megan: I love what I do and think I’m really lucky to be able to do what I do! There are so many choices that Dot Chocolate can offer – gingerbread cookies, fairy bread, nut and seed Florentines (just to name a few), and I primarily bring together ingredients that sound interesting when mixed together – such as pear and fennel seed, fig, cocoa, and walnut, and ginger / lemon with pumpkin seed!
Also, since Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, I’ll be selling a limited batch of heart sugar cookies (pictured below), so make sure you get in touch and put your orders in early!
Various markets around Adelaide