By Kate Foreman
For the past eight years, Dickins Delights has been exciting tastebuds on the Limestone Coast.
The Mount Gambier based business came about while Morris Dickins and his wife Merry were living in America.
“In 2000, my wife did a teaching exchange, teaching overseas for 12 months in Grand Junction,” Morris says.
“There is a factory there called Enstrom’s that makes toffee, and the owner would teach the locals how to make it. The recipe has been passed down throughout the town,” he adds.
After returning to Mount Gambier, Morris would make the toffee to give to friends and family as presents. This, you could say, was his market research.
For more than nine years, Morris gave away 500kg of toffee, perfecting the recipe and creating new toffee flavours.
“Grand Junction is at 6,000 feet, and water boils at about 85/90 degrees, so it’s a different toffee. The one we make, because we are at sea level, we cook it hotter,” he says.
“It’s different because the water boils at a lower temperature. I had to play around with it when we came back to Australia to get it right.”
Before toffee, Morris worked as a cook, among other things and set up his own commercial kitchen at home to run a catering business from.
“I wasn’t sure whether people would like it, but I wanted to do it all properly and set everything up once,” he says.
“I don’t like wasting money, so I like to do it properly from the get go. I wanted it to look professional from the get go, and it took some time to set that up.”
During John Howard’s Government, Morris took advantage of the tax incentives which allowed him to purchase toffee making equipment from America.
He also built onto the commercial kitchen, so there was a storage and packaging room.
Dickins Delights started with toffee but, since the first farmer’s markets, Morris has grown his business, adding new products, including the caramel corn, balsamic reductions, sauces and rocky road.
Every product Morris makes is gluten free, including the marshmallows used in his rocky road.