21 June 2023

How sweet it is: Chocolate testers wanted at Junee confectionary store breaking the mould

| Oliver Jacques
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Three kids eating Easter eggs

The job of chocolate taster is tough but somebody has to do it. Photo: Supplied.

While there’s no such thing as the perfect job, one Riverina business has found something pretty close.

The Junee Licorice and Chocolate Factory has put the call out for ”taste testers” ahead of World Chocolate Day on Friday, 7 July.

“We are planning to release one limited-edition new product per month,” sales and marketing manager Rhiannon Druce said.

“We’d like to get the public involved … sometimes we put out products we’re not totally comfortable with and they sell out quickly, we find the public know best.”

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Anyone in Australia is therefore invited to apply for the one-off role by submitting their name, phone number and email via the company’s website before 14 July, 2023.

Those selected will have samples delivered to their house and be asked to provide their opinion on what they liked and didn’t like, and how the flavour could be improved, via an online form.

Ms Druce said experience, skills and qualifications in chocolate eating would not necessarily help you snare the job.

“We’ve had people email us and say they eat five kilos of chocolate a day, but we don’t need that info, just submit your email … we want a random sample of people from across Australia.”

Man with Easter eggs

Junee Licorice and Chocolate Factory manager director Neil Druce shows off popular half-eggs designed by his staff. Photo: Chris Roe.

Ms Druce said the factory was currently experimenting with a range of unexpected products.

“We are trialling mango at the moment, and stuff with popping candy. We trialled salt and pepper in chocolate, it’s a really interesting flavour, something you don’t expect,” she said.

“Anyone can come in with an idea. We get all sorts of suggestions. A lot of people want animal-covered chocolates, like spiders.”

Another surprise item will be unveiled at the factory on 7 July, World Chocolate Day, which is understood to be the date on which chocolate was first introduced to Europe back in 1550.

“We’re going to be teaming up with Griffith’s Luke Piccolo of Limone Restaurant, he’s going to be making licorice-flavoured sourdough bread. That’s something that’s never been done before,” Ms Druce said.

“That will be a great day to visit, within the school holidays. It’s a very family-friendly day. We’ll have chocolate desserts and cakes and special limited-edition flavours.”

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Ms Druce, 29, has had a chocolate-coated life – she was just four years old when her father Neil purchased an abandoned flour mill in Junee and launched the family-run business. Growing up in that environment was a childhood dream.

“My two brothers and I were always surrounded by the smells,” she said. ”You can make friends pretty easily by saying, ‘Come and hang out in our chocolate factory’.”

Dad Neil is excited about the biggest day on the confectionary calendar.

“World Chocolate Day is the perfect occasion to celebrate new flavours, and what better way to honour the day than by collaborating with the people who are most passionate about chocolate?” he said.

“I am excited to hear our testers’ opinions and taste preferences to help us create something truly unique for World Chocolate Day, and we can’t wait to see their enthusiasm unfold as we embark on this flavour-filled journey together.”

You can apply for the taste-tester position (which is a one-off, not an ongoing role) by visiting the company’s website.

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