The idea of tasting your way through Australia’s chocolate scene is undoubtedly music to the ears of every chocoholic who has ever drawn breath.
While food has always been an enormous drawcard for tourism, it’s become even more important during the pandemic as people search for any excuse to explore their own backyards. Not that any chocoholic in their right mind needs an excuse to indulge in the delicious addiction. Which explains why Australia’s chocolate factory tours and experience providers have been doing a roaring trade in recent months.
A world first study from the University of South Australia and the University of Technology Sydney, shows just how important local food can be for domestic tourism. The study reveals tourists who consider local food a valuable element of their holiday experience, are ten times more likely to consume food on their next trip.
“This means that there is a unique opportunity for local and regional enterprises to change the tourist landscape, and to do this through food,” says UniSA’s Dr Janine Williamson.
“Tourism bodies must be engaged with their local food operators and proactively look for ways to include them in promotional strategies.”
Let’s take a look at some of the best chocolate experiences around the nation.
Margaret River Chocolate Factory
Swan Valley, WA
WA’s historic Swan Valley wine region is incredibly picturesque and less than half an hour from Perth‘s CBD. The chocolate factory and tasting centre offers free tastings and you can also stand at the viewing windows to see all the beautiful chocolate-making action. There are 100s of delicious chocolate products in the store; when this journalist was there back in 2017, I tried so many free samples it was a struggle to choose which ones to actually buy – all absolutely delicious! There’s a fabulous café overlooking the garden, delicious hot chocolates on the menu and, naturally (because you’re in wine country) when you’ve satisfied your chocolate cravings, you can wash it all down with a wine and one of the nearby wineries; sounds like a perfect day to us! The company also has its original Margaret River site, around three hours’ drive from the CBD.
Find out more about the chocolate factory here.
The Fremantle Chocolate Factory in Bibra Lake is open for visitors, so you can watch everything being made from the viewing station. You can buy chocolate bars, chocolate novelties, chocolate truffles & pralines, chocolate enrobed specialties and fudge. WA has a great reputation for chocolate and Fremantle Chocolate is multi-award winning – it also boasts more than 300 varieties and thankfully you’re given plenty of free chocolate samples to enjoy as you watch the chocolate makers work their magic.
Plan your visit here.
Whistler’s Chocolate Co
Swan Valley, WA
The Swan Valley is also home to Whistler’s Chocolate Co has been producing handmade chocolate for more than 40 years and is famous for its Rocky Road, Coconut Rough, Chocolate Liquorice, Chocolate Snakes, Handmade Honeycomb and Peanut Brittles, using recipes passed down over generations of chocolatiers and confectioners. There’s a café, showroom and beautiful gardens for you to enjoy and, most importantly, Whistlers has its own show bag at the iconic Perth royal show!
Find out more about the chocolate shop here.
Junee Licorice & Chocolate Factory
Riverina region, NSW
Junee’s chocolate factory is very unique; located inside a restored flour mill, making it an historically rich landmark in the rural township. Built in 1934, the mill was a major player in the town’s industrial progress in the aftermath of the Great Depression. The chocolate factory usually runs guided tours and “freckle and rocky road-making” experiences as well as “Vertical Licorice Bowling.” These events have been put on hold due to the pandemic but they’re said to be making a return very soon! The family-run business is a chocolate-lovers paradise and we can’t wait to try their famous chocolate coated honeycomb…and everything else we’ve spied online.
Find out more here.
Hunter Valley Chocolate Company
The Hunter Valley Chocolate Company is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Pokolbin, with a fantastic selection of chocolates and fudge, after first opening in “wine country” 20 years ago. You can visit the ‘Twenty-3-Twenty’ location where you can watch “Peter the chocolatier” prepare chocolates and fudge. The company uses the finest Belgian couverture chocolate, together with Australian dried fruits and nuts. They also use a distilled pure fruit oil for infusion, giving the chocolate a subtle fruity flavour. It’s said to be one of the finest chocolates around and who are we to disagree?!
Plan your visit to the chocolate factory here.
Looking for more fun things to do in the Hunter Valley region? Wine lovers, you’re in luck. Check out this story for more inspiration: Not your typical Hunter Valley weekend getaway
Charley’s Chocolate Factory
Tropical North Queensland
Calling itself “Australia’s best made chocolate” Charley’s Chocolate Factory began in Mission Beach in 2014 and, since then, has been recognised with multiple prestigious national and global awards including Gold, Silver and Bronze medals at the Australian Fine Food Awards. Charley’s chocolate tour is one of only a few places in the world where you can experience the little-known journey from cocoa tree to chocolate bar, all in the one location. The tour ends with chocolate samples as well as a beef/vegie burger for lunch. Their website is filled with fascinating information about the history of chocolate in Australia but, right now, all we want to do is taste the Macadamia Praline dark chocolate!
Plan your visit here.
House of Anvers
Located in scenic Latrobe, The House of Anvers showcases its Belgian-influenced chocolates in its café and tasting centre. Anvers confectionery was established as a cottage industry in November 1989, by Igor Van Gerwen, who emigrated to Australia from Belgium. Igor prides himself on creating a dark chocolate with a “cacao content of 64 percent and 68 percent and milk chocolate 38 percent and 47 percent. This is conched down to 10 micron, which is 3 times finer in structure than most chocolates found in the market place.” Igor, who trained at the Institute of Foodstuffs in Antwerp, has found the Tasmanian cream and butter to be the richest in flavour of any in the world, ideally suited for truffles and fudge…as well as “the world’s finest chocolate.”
Learn more on the website.
Haigh’s chocolate factory tour
Just a short drive south of the Adelaide city centre, you’ll find the Haigh’s chocolate factory where you can see the team of confectioners using artisan skills to create and hand finish the incredible range of chocolates and, of course, there are plenty of free chocolates to sample throughout the tour. Haigh’s catch-cry has always been “There’s something for everyone” and anyone who has entered a Haigh’s store know this is true. I’ve visited the Haigh’s store in Melbourne and I’ve always been partial to the choc/mint frog!
Please note, tours have been suspended to ensure the safety of visitors during COVID-19. Please refer back to the website to check availability at the time of reading.
Phillip Island Chocolate Factory
Phillip Island, VIC
The Phillip Island Chocolate factory where you’ll find Pannys Amazing World of Chocolate, a wonderful exhibition which tells the story of chocolate and all its glory. It even lets you make come up with your own chocolate bar creation before you step inside the retail shop and café and spend ages choosing and tasting. Helping you feel like you’re in your own Willie Wonka experience, you’re even handed a special chocolate bar ticket….yes a ticket that you can eat!
Find out more about visiting the chocolate factory here.
Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery
Yarra Valley, VIC
The family owned Yarra Valley Chocolaterie, in the heart of the picturesque wine making region, has a huge selection of handcrafted European-style chocolates and plenty of activities for everyone to enjoy. There are tastings sessions, hands on classes and workshops for all ages as well as chocolate discovery classes, junior chocolatier classes and “High Tea at the chocolaterie” where the chocolatiers and pastry chefs present their decadent twist on the classic High Tea at a shared long table in a private experience room. The “Taste & Create” workshop is said to take your love of chocolate to a whole new level.
Find out more here.
Melba’s Chocolates & Confectionery
Melba’s Chocolate Factory is home to five production rooms producing the iconic South Aussie products Traffic Lights, Inch Licorice and an assortment of chocolate and confectionery sweets. The factory is located in Woodside, in the Adelaide Hills, offering tourists a fun way to discover old-Australian lollies and chocolates. Cow pats, sheep nuts, choc-coated lollies – it all sounds perfect to us. The rocky road is made using traditional recipes and techniques, combining cherries, peanuts and marshmallows along with either milk, white or dark chocolate, mixing it by hand, to create the perfect Rocky Road. We’ve heard that a highlight of the tour is seeing how they make their “cookies and cream’ slab!
Must jump online and order a box or two for myself…I mean, my family.
Check out the online store here.
Noosa Chocolate Factory
It’s a big call to christen yourself “best chocolate in the WORLD” but because Noosa is so incredibly heavenly, it wouldn’t surprise us if it actually is home to the most superior chocolate on the planet.
The Noosa Chocolate factory specialises in panning (chocolate coating) using its own blend of high percentage cocoa dark chocolate. They also have an extensive milk and white chocolate range along with delights such as semi-dried chocolate coated cranberries, freeze dried strawberries and Valencia orange pectin jelly slab. The factory isn’t open to the public but the retail store is open every day; they also make most of their fillings, including salted caramel, honeycomb, jellies, peanut and macadamia brittle…you’ll be spoilt for choice and everything is made fresh which explains why there is no online store which just gives us a great excuse to go there in person asap!
Plan your trip here.
Looking for more foodie experiences around Australia?