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Chocolate – one of life’s great pleasures and, thanks to some delicious examples made in the Margaret River region, it’s a pleasure to be enjoyed right at the heart of your visit.
God love the ancient Aztecs for inventing chocolate. Known as the food of the Gods, many of us have an ongoing love affair with chocolate, yours truly included.
If you don’t love chocolate, then we can’t be friends. For chocolate lovers, read on as we discover the Margaret River region’s finest and tell you a little more about those responsible for its creation.
At Gabriel Chocolate, you can see the chocolate machine at work through a viewing window, taste different origins and blends, and enjoy a coffee with a chocolatey treat in the café. The modern chocolate gallery is marketed as a playground for adults.
Single origin chocolate is made from beans from Venezuela, Ecuador, Ghana and Madagascar, and flavoured blends such as espresso, mint and orange are all popular.
Self-taught chocolate maker Gabriel Myburgh swapped the courtroom for a kitchen, when he opened up Gabriel Chocolate in 2010. He gave up his career as a lawyer to make small batch chocolate, because “chocolate makes everyone happy”.
“I thought, so few people make chocolate on a small scale and I was always interested in chocolate, so we decided to give it a go.”
The South African-born 49-year-old says his main focus is to make chocolate like wine, by allowing the different influences of the naturally occurring flavours inherent in the bean come through.
The region’s first venue dedicated to chocolate swung open its doors in 1999. Known for offering generous tastings, the Margaret River Chocolate Company draws hundreds of visitors every day of the year, except for Christmas Day when they are closed.
Through the viewing window, you can see the chocolatiers sculpting handmade truffles, and making flavoured chocolate bars of salted caramel, mint chip, orange, coconut rough, sandalwood and cookies and cream. There are speciality chocolates, giant freckles, rocky road, chocolate-coated nougat, chocolate sauces, drinking chocolate, cocoa powder and even sugar-free chocolate.
While the family-friendly factory mightn’t lure the serious connoisseur, the vibrant flavour of the single origin chocolate from Ghana, Tanzania, Java, Uganda, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Papua New Guinea and Venezuela are sure to impress.
The Chocolate Café serves lunch – everything from burgers to salad to soup – and they boast the best brownies in Australia.
Rather than spending money on a holiday house in the 1990s, business partners Martin Black and Patrick Coward decided to open a chocolate factory instead.
I’ve been a chocolate addict forever, and at the time, there weren’t many gourmet food experiences,” Black said. We wanted to create a exciting place where visitors could have fun, and it went crazy from day one.
“We use local honey, dried fruits and nuts, milk and creams – essentially local ingredients wherever we can.”
Content courtesy of Your Margaret River Region.
Words by Dianne Bortoletto. Images by Elements Margaret River
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