My travel life: Kirsten Tibballs, pastry chef and TV host of The Chocolate Queen is on SBS Food

Kirsten Tibballs is a pastry chef, chocolatier and author. Her new television series The Chocolate Queen is on SBS Food on Wednesday at 7.30pm.




I went to Cusco, Peru, to trek to Machu Picchu. I was sick in Cusco and while I was bent over vomiting in the street, someone cut off my money belt which contained my ticket, passport and money. With no Australian consulate back then, it was a struggle to get my passport replaced in time to catch my flight.

I GOT MY FIRST PASSPORT WHEN I WAS 17 in 19-something ...

MY PASSPORT PHOTO IS weird. I look like Mrs Doubtfire, the hair and all.

I CAN'T STOP GOING BACK TO Paris. For me, it's one of the best cities in the world. Not only does it have an abundance of top-end patisseries and chocolate shops, the history and architecture fascinate me.

MY LAST TRAVEL DESTINATION WAS Spain, Germany and France earlier in the year to film content for both [online chocolate and patisserie school] Savour and my YouTube channel. My favourite part was filming the top patisserie and chocolate stores in Paris for YouTube and trying so many delicious products.


MY NEXT TRAVEL DESTINATION IS Wieze in Belgium to visit the Callebaut chocolate factory, the biggest chocolate factory in the world! It's just a quick two-day trip, in and out to discuss a new chocolate project.

I'M REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO some sunshine ... It will be the middle of summer there. Besides that, it's always a treat to immerse myself in all things chocolate.

WHAT I REALLY WANT FROM MY NEXT TRIP IS more chocolate knowledge. I always pick up tips and tricks when I visit Callebaut.

I LOVE TO TRAVEL BECAUSE travelling opens my mind to different cultures and cuisines and it's always good to appreciate how good I have it. In some countries, I get a reality check as to how good my life is in Australia. It's a privilege to have been brought up here. 

MY TRAVEL PHILOSOPHY IS to always learn 20 basic words in that country's language before I go, and I always try a local food specialty. I travel as a vegetarian which makes it easier to say no to dodgy-looking proteins without offending anyone.

THE ONE TRAVEL MISTAKE I ALWAYS MAKE IS wearing glamorous shoes on the plane that I can never get back on my feet after a long-haul flight.

THE ONE THING I REALLY DO GET RIGHT WHEN I TRAVEL IS good quality luggage. I found Victorinox suitcases and I haven't looked back. With the amount my bag travels, I can always be assured it will still be in perfect condition when it comes off the carousel.

IF I HAD TO SIT IN THE MIDDLE SEAT THE OTHER PASSENGERS I'D WANT ON EITHER SIDE OF ME WOULD BE [US rapper and media personality] Snoop Dogg, just to discuss his brownie recipe in detail, and, of course, [French queen] Marie Antoinette. We could start with her famous quote "let them eat cake" and then talk about our mutual passion for chocolate. Her personal pharmacist prepared it as medicine for her daily. I like her way of thinking.

THE ONE FAMOUS TRAVELLER I REALLY ADMIRE IS [British businessman] Sir Richard Branson has done amazing things as an entrepreneur and I love his investment in space travel.

AIRLINE FOOD IS often very ordinary but I always fly better if I don't eat too much on the flight, so I guess that's the positive of bad airline food.

AIRPORT SECURITY IS a necessary evil, but it gives me piece of mind when I travel.

HOTELS ARE great! There's nothing better than staying somewhere where I don't have to make the bed or clean the bathroom – as long as it has a comfy bed.

I'VE ALWAYS WANTED TO GO TO the Maldives. That would be my ultimate holiday. I keep telling my husband that we need to go as soon as possible before it sinks.

I'VE NEVER WANTED TO GO TO El Azizia in Libya. It was where the hottest-ever temperature of 58 degrees was recorded. I think it would be very difficult to eat chocolate there. Which, of course, is a daily staple.

AISLE OR WINDOW? Always the aisle. Although if I travel with my family I always end up wedged in the middle.