Most of the places we like to visit to in the Yarra Valley are small and quaint, but not Yarra Valley Chocolatier & Ice Creamery. Don’t get scared off by the large car park (complete with tour buses) and the never ending lineups of people waiting near the entrance for a scoop of icecream. Once you enter it is truly a Chocolate extravaganza. The space is huge and filled with chocolate, kids, families, strollers, tourists and locals all about to be or already on a sugar high. There is a large glass window along one whole wall where you can watch the chocolatiers making the chocolates sold in the store as well as several impressive chocolate pieces they have created, one over a metre high. There are things to taste everywhere.
With all the kids around I fully expected this to be a sweet mess…but it wasn’t…at all. We ordered the dark hot chocolate (you have a choice of white, milk or dark). The chocolate arrived in a little paper cup next to a large glass of warm milk accompanied by a spoon and a tiny whisk. At the bottom of the glass of warm milk were a handful of dark chocolate chips slowly melting away. The idea is that you use the whisk to mix together the melted chocolate chips and the warm milk and then you add as much extra chocolate you like to create your own perfect drink.
We poured the thick chocolate in slowly, testing every so often to see if we had reached that point when it was just too much. I’d say ¾ of the little cup of chocolate added was our best point. It got a little too sweet after that but we still finished and enjoyed it all. A great offering which put us too on a bit of a sugar high. Plus from the terrace, if you can get a seat, you get beautiful views over the Yarra Valley.
Once you are filled with chocolate take a look around the store. They have everything you could ever want made from chocolate. All the usual suspects are here but there were some really unique products as well. A few caught my eye including bars of 60% Australian single origin chocolate (yes Australia does produce cocoa beans and the chocolate has some really nice banana notes to it). They also had a whole range flavoured using unique Australian ingredients such as gum leaf, wattle seed and wild lemon myrtle.
This stop was part of our day in the Yarra Valley. Below are a few details as well as links to the other hot chocolates we had there.
A Day in the Yarra Valley: Drive from Melbourne through Healsville for a quick coffee stop or to visit Healsville Sanctuary. Head over to the Yarra Valley and start tasting wine. Many of the vineyards offer lunch so pick one and enjoy. Yering Station was a really nice stop and I’d recommend it to anyone. After that make your way to Yarra Valley Dairy to test out their delicious cheeses and then drive on to Yarra Farms where you can buy freshly picked cherries and apricots. Time for something sweet at Yarra Valley Chocolates before taking the stunning drive through Dandenong Ranges to Marysville for a late afternoon caffeine break before driving back to Melbourne, perhaps with another stop in Healsville for a beer at one of its growing number of micro breweries.
Verdict: I expect good hot chocolates from chocolate shops, but didn’t from this one. I was pleasantly surprised that it was a lot better than I expected, and a fun way to spend an hour. Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery, 35 Old Healsville Road, Yarra Valley, Australia