Like many, I have been lured to the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie by the three big bowls of free couverture chocolate (white, milk and dark) that greet you upon arrival. With spoons to help regulate consumption, it makes for a hygienic equivalent of Willy Wonka’s chocolate river (just don’t fall in). For those that pass through this obstacle of temptation, it is clear that there is much more to the Chocolaterie than samples. They make everything: chocolate bars, specialty truffles, ice cream and the savoury side of things includes breakfast and lunch.
‘What more could you want?’ I hear your cry. Another Chocolaterie! Yes, that’s right, a new Chocolaterie at the beginning of the Great Ocean Road, just before Anglesea and in the path of about 23 million tourists a year.
On its opening day we were given a tour by the owner, Leanne Neeland. Leanne and her husband have a love for chocolate, and now satisfy their chocolate-loving customers, importing a shipping container of chocolate supplies every two weeks.
The Chocolaterie has brought French and Belgian chocolatiers, all trained pastry chefs, to Australia and have all the necessary equipment to make the magic of perfect chocolate happen. They have also employed 100 locals. The range of samples I tasted confirmed that they are on the right track. (It’s a difficult job, but someone has to do it.)
Although this new site mirrors the Yarra Valley, there are some striking differences. Indeed, the emphasis on making this location different is testament to the work that had been put into the site. Blue has been added to the logo to represent the ocean and the location is intended as a hidden sanctuary for the locals to enjoy. The new venue will not disappoint with its attention to detail — even the tables are shaped like cocoa pods.
On our tour we tried samples from the Bush Tucker range that supports Indigenous communities, and delicate truffles that take three days to construct and some of the Chocolaterie’s best sellers. I particularly liked the milk chocolate with salted caramel and macadamia; it’s their most popular item, so you can’t go wrong.
Then came the ice cream taste test! Before our tour, we were invited to suggest a fantasy flavour for the ice cream artisans to create. I thought I would suggest a couple – lemon meringue, and dark chocolate and hazelnut. Through a small miscommunication, one flavour was made and ‘lemon meringue, dark chocolate and hazelnut’ was born! I may be biased, but it was amazing. Maybe enjoyed all the more because I will never try it again. Unless, of course, our excellent accidentally-amalgamated flavour makes it to February’s ice cream festival.
The visit to the Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery excited every sense and gave the taste buds something to talk about. The passion and the professionalism is fantastic and the local touches are inspiring. After trying and buying you will simply wish that there was another chocolaterie at the end of the Great Ocean Road.
Duncan was the most illegible bachelor in town, but times have changed, although he is still a purveyor of Melbourne’s surprising, quirky, and cultural events.
The Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery
1200 Great Ocean Road
open 9-5 daily