Chocolate is comfort. It’s the treat that gets us through COVID lockdown, the gift that conveys love and gratitude, the welcome indulgence that celebrates a special occasion.

    But for inner west chocolate maker Fipe Preuss, it represents much more. Her Living Koko range is a powerful connection to homeland Samoa and to her family’s rich heritage on the Pacific island nation’s cacao plantations. It connects her to traditional agricultural practices that support small, sustainable cacao farms and empower villages.

    In her Braybrook workshop, Fipe turns raw Samoan cacao into a range of delicious vegan, allergy safe chocolate, lovingly wrapped and perfect for gifts as well as your guilt-free chocolate fix.

    And in Fipe’s clever, creative hands every bit of the cacao pod is valuable. Living Koko’s range includes cacao husk tea, drinking chocolate and decadent exfoliants and face scrubs.

    “First nations peoples have coexisted with Papatuanuku (mother earth) for thousands of years with the knowledge that when we respect the land, we respect the people and our bodies,” says Fipe. “My partner Glen and I wanted Living Koko to be a part of that beautiful cycle of respect. Everything we do, everything we aim for is guided by our values.”


    COVID ISO restrictions forced Melburnians to live smaller, but also inspired Positive Feeds founder Emma MacGregor to think big.

    Inspired by the way people – particularly inner westies like her – were supporting their favourite local businesses while also creating little acts of generosity and kindness to buoy up friends and family, a new business was born.

    From this seed, Positive Feeds established a range of uplifting gift boxes full of Victorian food products, in particular the best from the Inner West. From Altona to Braybrook they showcase the more than 25 local suppliers and, in doing so, support the community.

    Positive Feeds gift boxes comprises of gourmet treats from all over Victoria but three feature products exclusively from the west: Everyone Needs Good Neighbours, Inner West Pantry and Inner West’s Coffee Best.

    “Positive Feeds gift boxes can help local suppliers find their way back into our homes and represent the vibrant Inner West to the wider world” says Emma.

    Positive Feeds is built on the team’s personal ethics: sustainable gift boxes and giving back to inner west charities. Emma hopes that thinking local when it comes to seasonal giving will be a much-needed boost for small businesses that enrich life in the West.


    Celebrities, heroes, your kitten and even your mum become delicious edible artworks in the skilled hands of Georgia Chiarella, the queen of the “Face Biscuit”.

    Georgia launched her business The Confectionist two years ago, but has already captured public imagination and social media love with her sweet rendering of famous faces – Anna Polyviou, Miguel Maestro, Costa Georgiadis and Katherine Sabbath, to name a few.

    She creates bright, original celebration biscuits in her Altona North commercial kitchen. The range features quirky gift tins for teachers, footy biscuits for sports fans and an elegant tin full of iced treats for newlyweds. Or, you can request your own design for a truly bespoke biscuit.

    “There’s no shape that’s too intricate: there’s creativity in every idea and we can create a show-stopping biscuit for every occasion.”

    Georgia is the first to bring Face Biscuits to Australia, and has won over fans like Australia’s sugar king Adriano Zumbo. They are hand-piped in royal icing, and stand out in the crowd.

    Our content is a labour of love, crafted by dedicated volunteers who are passionate about the west. We encourage submissions from our community, particularly stories about your own experiences, family history, local issues, your suburb, community events, local history, human interest stories, food, the arts, and environmental matters. Below are articles created by community contributors. You can find their names in the bylines.

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