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March 16, 2022

The Sugar Man returns to Hutt Street

After four years working from shared kitchens, Alex Crawford has returned to the CBD with a chocolate production facility and retail store that offers up Sugar Man chocolate blocks and his much-loved pastries.

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  • Words and pictures: Johnny von Einem

There’s a chill in the air at 197 Hutt Street, where Alex Crawford and Alexandra Lloyd have just opened their new shop, Sugar Man.


Sugar Man
197 Hutt Street, Adelaide 5000
Tue—Fri: 10am ’til 4pm
Sat: 8am ’til pastries sold out


A pink neon sign hums in the window, and inside, on a timber table top, sit 10 glass cloches, each containing a Sugar Man chocolate block.

The specimens on display are the Sugar Man range: core flavours, seasonal special releases, and three single-origin blocks, which include Venezuelan and Madagascan varieties.

There is art hung on the walls from local artists (some of which is Alexandra’s, who creates the Sugar Man labels), and through a broad glass window at the back of the space you can see into the Sugar Man production kitchen.

This is the return of the Sugar Man to Hutt Street, four years after Alex left his patisserie, located just over the road, and gave up a wholesale pastry business that had pushed him to the point of burnout.

Glancing over at his old shop, which was solely a production kitchen and not open to the public, Alex says it feels like “time has passed”.

“Wisdom has been created. And a lot has changed in the time, but all in the world of good,” he says.

Hermetically sealed


Alex’s wares have been an almost constant presence in Adelaide cafés since 2014. He supplied cookies, macarons and pastries to cafés across the city, which won fans through his inventive flavours and preference for local produce.

The jump into a commercial kitchen felt like the logical next step, but the ramping up of production saw Alex working long, exhausting days.

“I was just working constantly. I didn’t have any staff members, didn’t have the right machinery, I was trying to do it, just trying to keep up, and I couldn’t,” he says. “I was not enjoying it… My standards were going to slip, I needed to cut loose. So that’s what we did.”

Alex and Alexandra took a holiday to Italy, travelling the north of the country for six weeks. On the trip, his love of food quickly became reinvigorated.

“I was just amazed at the quality of produce that they were using, both in their choc and pastries – everything’s local,” Alex says. “I thought, ‘This is what South Australia needs. We need a chocolate bar that celebrates South Australian produce, and if we can’t get that South Australian produce, make it Australian’.”

Alex launched into this new iteration of Sugar Man as soon as he returned to Adelaide, developing products that would eventually be stocked at retail sites like Belair Fine Wines and the Smelly Cheese Shop, winning fans through referencing nostalgic flavours like fairy bread, Milo and hot cross buns.

He was immediately ready to jump into a new shop, to pick up where Sugar Man left off, but it was not so easy to find a space that suited Alex’s needs and budget.

Over the last four years, Alex has bounce between two shared kitchens in the Adelaide Hills to create his chocolate blocks.

He would regularly pop into Coffylosophy for coffee and a chat with owner Harsh Mehta over this time, and Alex noticed a property across the road had been empty for a while. He decided to try his luck, and found the landlord was very supportive of his ideas and ethos.

“I talked to her and said, ‘This is what we do’, and she just fell in love with the ethos of our product and our business, and she said, ‘Whatever you need, just do it. Let’s make this happen’,” Alex says.

The new space has allowed him to ramp up production of the Sugar man chocolate blocks – he’s upgraded from a 15-kilo to a 40-kilo chocolate-making machine.

In addition to a production space, Sugar Man’s Hutt Street shop is a retail store featuring the full range, where fans can browse their favourite flavours from Tuesday through Saturday.

Alex will also be getting back into the pastry game, serving up a seasonal selection of goods on Saturdays only – meaning Sugar Man almond croissants will soon be available, albeit in a somewhat limited capacity.

Sugar Man’s gooey almond croissants make their return to the CBD


“We’ll have a range of pastries. I can’t tell you what they are,” Alex says. “It could be Uraidla raspberries and dark chocolate, twice-baked pain au chocolat, or it could be an apple pie using organic Jonathan apples from the Adelaide Hills. It just depends.

“That’s the best thing about the Adelaide Hills, you find all these farmers, you get to know them. I can just contact them and say, ‘What’s in season? What do you have? What can we get?’ We’ll just make up on the fly.”

While the business will be open 10am ‘til 4pm Tuesday to Friday and 8am ‘til the pastries are sold out on Saturday, Alex will be back doing long days – 4am ‘til 7pm, he says, to keep up with demand.

But he’s excited to have reached this phase of his business and to use his position in the CBD to push even further.

“I feel like I’m back home,” Alex says. “It’s great for wholesale, so I can distribute. I liked Hutt Street purely because it’s a great pedestrian walkway, it’s got great parking, you can pop in and out… you’ve got Halifax either way you can park on and pull in just to buy some pastries.

“We’re just so excited. We love the space.”

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