Chocolate tour is a delicious indulgence
ARE you a milk chocolate nut through and through, only have taste buds for white or prefer to stick to your dark chocolate for life?
One mouth-watering little tour sets out to change that attitude - and it certainly did mine.
Promoted as a treat for Mother's Day, I took along my mum who was visiting from north Queensland to try the newly-launched Chocolate Gems South Bank and City Walking Tour.
After spending the night in the luxurious Oaks Casino Towers where we were in awe of the bright lights of South Bank and Brisbane city from the 19th floor (you could tell we're not city girls), an equally breathtaking view greeted us as the sun rose.
Just a street away from the bustling Myer Centre and Queen St mall, the motel was the perfect drop-off point for a bit of retail therapy, heading back to the rooms to unload the shopping bags, rest the feet and then head out once more.
Our host Amanda met us at the South Bank Wheel and we, along with another mother/daughter duo from Brisbane, set off for our first location.
While there are some controversies around just who invented chocolate, one South Bank chocolatier says it was actually first discovered in Spain.
And one of the Spanish traditions is in fact kick-starting their day with a sweet breakfast full of chocolate and sugar - who was I to say no?
While a Spanish feasting fiesta of Churros and pots of melted chocolate seemed a tad indulgent first thing in the morning, it was actually quite nice.
The best thing about San Churro at South Bank was that they're completely devoted to chocolate.
When the health fanatics, who are in greater numbers than ibises at South Bank, jump off their pushbikes and wander in to order gluten-free, fat-free or brown sugar substitutes, the staff quickly remind them "we're a chocolate shop, no cutting corners here".
Their other specialty is their chocolate shakes - while it sounds a bit much for a morning beverage it was actually quite easy to drink a white chocolate mango shake... and a little slice of home for mum.
A walk across the river follows as you make your way to the city where we started meeting some of the locals devoted to coffee, gelato and of course, more chocolate.
So many award-winning chocolatiers are nestled inside one city, a few hidden in side streets and some you would walk right by if you weren't expertly guided to them.
We visited Chocolate Moments, and it was such a shame the owner was overseas as this place is run by Gerrard Gosens, the blind Paralympian who was a runner up on Dancing with the Stars.
Gerrard set up the Willy Wonka-esque shop to prove to his blind daughter that not being able to see could never stop her from achieving her dreams.
In between our chocolate encounters we visited a little gelato bar for a quick cleanse of the palate before the next chocolate hit in the form of Queensland's award-winning rocky road and some other coastal chocolate delights.
The chocolate gems trail of discovery finished up in one of Brisbane's cosiest chocolate and coffee boutiques and home to the "best hot chocolate in Brisbane".
I fell in love with the enthusiasm that oozed from Monty's Chocolate Shop owner Steve Sheldon as he spoke about each individual chocolate square, excitedly opening and breaking them apart for tastings.
The Shop in Style tours are worth the cost for an expert guide through Brisbane's yummiest little boutiques you wouldn't normally know existed.
To check out the range of tours, visit http://www.shopinstyleescape.com.