There’s now even more reason to visit Victoria’s Yarra Valley just an hour’s drive from Melbourne. A Chocolaterie opened in December 2012 and has become the sweetest attraction in the region, providing a mecca for chocolate lovers of all ages.
Set on 16 hectares, Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery combines striking architecture with a unique food experience amidst picturesque valley views.
Visitors can watch the art of chocolate making from hand crafting to hand packing, enjoy abundant free tastings of 250 different chocolate varieties, indulge in decadent desserts and ice creams and explore the Chocolaterie’s landscaped garden, orchard and wetlands.
Entrepreneurial foodies Ian and Leanne Neeland have developed the architect designed destination including showroom, factory and cafe, and visitors delight in the experience of tasting, seeing and indulging in quality produce.
Six qualified Chocolatiers especially recruited from Belgium and France lead the team hand crafting the Chocolaterie’s product range made from locally sourced provisions and the highest quality Belgian couverture chocolate including single origin and organic couvertures. Available exclusively from the Chocolaterie, the 150 different chocolate products feature truffles (showcased in a specially created cabinet housing 7 000 truffles), pralines, chocolate bars, nut clusters, rocky road, nougat, macarons,
biscuits, chocolate sauces and spreads. Giant chocolate freckles, choc coated jelly snakes and chocolate baby animals have been created for the younger, and young at heart visitors.
The chocolate creations are inspired by the Yarra Valley surrounds and incorporate ingredients such as local apple cider and strawberries – and a Kitchen Garden collection of chocolates uses hand picked herbs, seeds and fruits grown in the Chocolaterie’s very own kitchen garden. A unique Bush Tucker range using native Australian ingredients such as wattle seed, bush tomato, paper bark oil, mountain pepper, wild honey and lemon myrtle has been developed, with packaging incorporating a commissioned artwork by a local indigenous artist. Fifty cents from every bar sold supports the Wurundjeri Tribe Council.
The Chocolaterie’s showroom and Café overlooks sweeping Yarra Valley views and their emerging orchard of cherries, plum, quince, almond, apricot and citrus, will also feature in the chocolate range. The all day menu of breakfast, morning tea, light lunch and afternoon tea draws on ingredients from their own kitchen garden and nearby farms – with pastries, decadent desserts and hot chocolates a specialty. A collection of house made ice creams also feature, with 20 traditional and more adventurous flavours available in a cone or in a cup as well as take home packs.
“Visiting the Chocolaterie is an experience the whole family can enjoy – you’ll be welcomed by lots of free tastings to tempt chocolate lovers of all ages, giant viewing windows to watch the chocolatiers at work and when tastings are done we encourage kids to play and explore in our grounds,” says Leanne Neeland.
YARRA VALLEY CHOCOLATERIE & ICE CREAMERY35 Old Healesville Rd (corner Melba Highway), Yarra Glen www.yvci.com.au•Open 9am-5pm everyday (except Christmas Day).•Free entry and abundant free chocolate tastings.•Set amongst Yarra Valley’s vineyards on 16 hectares of lawns, emerging orchard and revegetated wetlands conservation area, entry is free, with generous free tastings in the Chocolaterie’s showroom.•A Café serves breakfast, morning tea, light lunch and afternoon tea, with sweet treats and ice creams a specialty.•A host of events are also staged throughout the year at the Chocolaterie to showcase the Chocolatier’s skills, celebrate the seasons and local produce.