The Darryl Lea family owned chocolate shop chain (85 years old) has gone into voluntary administration. Here is a repost of a poem I wrote about my first impressions of Darryl Lea’s Chocolate Box at Indooroopilly Shoppingtown.


The Chocolate Box

I opened the heavy door, bell ringing, to Darryl Lea’s
Chocolate Box
with my young son following in my footsteps,
just as I followed in my mum’s footsteps
at the age of five,

a store he’s never seen before
on his first spree into the CBD of Brisbane,
giant buildings among drawcards when you live
in a coastal village
with a 2 storey limit,

the condensed aroma
of chocolate and liquorice
and all sorts
of other delights
envelops me
like my children’s hugs when hurt,

the angora blanket wraps me warm
and transports me to that day
when Mum surprised me
ok, we can go in just this once
heart beating, I am Charlie
in the chocolate factory

swirling lollipops too big for my eyes
toffees, caramel brittle
chewy nougat, rocky road
ribbons of twisted liquorice
little pillows of boiled sweets
with even sweeter colours
shimmering in little glass jars
with blue lids,

a carousel of sights and smells
making my senses spin
you can pick one thing
the edge of her mouth smiled
as my little hand
grabbed a tooth shaped
plastic container filled with
some sweets, I now forget,
but I’ll never forget that giant tooth

and that day at Darryl Lea’s Chocolate Box.


20 thoughts on “The Chocolate Box

  1. Warning: Do not read if you are feeling hungry. To do so may result in an uncontrollable desire to endulge in some chocolates or sweets. Now I just have to pop down to the shop for some rocky road 😉 See you soon.

    1. Bad GB – it’s 8.20 on. Friday night and I have an urge to jump in my car and go in search of yumdelicious chocolate and GF marshmallows! I feel sad about Darryl Lea – when things like this happen, it’s a sign of changes in the world we really can do without

  2. This is so beautiful, both vividly sensual and immediate but also the dual image of two generation. This happens so much when you have children, echoes of your own childhood, either repetitions or stark contrasts, like resolving that my children never experience some of things I did.

    1. It is amazing isn’t it squirrel – the repetitions and contrasts (exactly) – especially when you realise your children are at the age that you did so and so, and that your mother was at an age that you are now, and did so and so – it’s like you are slipping into their shoes for a bit, and it certainly explains a lot.

  3. Certain things never change, like bringing a child in a candy shop!
    Delicious poem!
    (not impressed with your tooth clip art, sorry! It looks more like the shadow of a bird, you can draw better than that Gabe!)

    1. hahaha – that is actually a photo of a tooth container and it does look a lot like the one I had as a kid (wish I had kept it) – I don’t mind drawing Ben, it’s the scanning and uploading that pings me off (I have a really weird scanner that plays tricks on me – sometimes works, sometimes doesn’t).

  4. Lovely bit of recollection.
    It is sad, though, that things so enduring then collapse. Maladministration? Probably not. More likely ‘not moving with the times’, which means not becoming trashy and conformist. Sorry, but there are aspects of modern life which are grossly inferior to how things used to be.

    1. I don’t know what the problem was colonialist but you are probably on the right track with not moving with the times – though I don’t know how you could go too far wrong with chocolates and sweets.

  5. Darrell Lea was a magical place. I used to love those Christmas Puddings they did with the marshmallow nougat thing inside. On my first Xmas in Oz (1977) my next door neighbour came over with a basket of Darrell lea puds. I’ll never forget how delicious they were. Sad to hear about the administration.

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