New to Canberra, I love exploring this city and the secrets that it holds with my family.
Published October 25th 2016
A slice of Belgium in the Canberra Wine District
Robyn Rowe Chocolates is a boutique chocolatier in the scenic Murrumbateman region of NSW, half an hour north of Canberra's CBD. This area is also known as the Canberra Wine District, with more than 33 wineries dotted around the countryside with award-winning wines to taste at cellar doors. Robyn Rowe Chocolates specialises in creating handmade Belgium chocolates from the finest ingredients from Europe, combined with local walnuts, liqueurs and coffee from the surrounding region. It is the ideal location to stop on a wine tour for a decadent hit of chocolate to cleanse the palate - or whatever excuse we give ourselves!
Robyn Rowe Chocolates is open between Thursday and Monday each week, with weekends popular with visitors and the weekdays more popular with small tour groups. If you are driving from Canberra, follow the signs to Murrumbateman (through Hall) and then look out for the brown "Robyn Rowe Chocolates" turnoff on the Barton Highway. It is then a pleasant 10 minute country drive to the entrance of the property. As you drive in, the property is simply breathtaking with green rolling hills, tables with umbrellas overlooking the dam and the sounds of frogs and waterbirds piercing the silence. On the day of our visit on a Monday we were the only people there, however if you visit on the weekend the outside tables are popular places to sit in the sunshine. It is an enjoyable way to savour the finest of Belgium chocolate - with a typical Aussie country view.
Outside seating on a busy weekend. Source: Robyn Rowe Chocolates Facebook
Each time our family has visited this chocolatier, the owner Robyn Rowe herself has welcomed us in and instantly made us feel at home with her country hospitality. She is also happy to chat about how her love of Belgium chocolate all began. After years of being a nurse, mother and using her creative flair in a number of different areas, she studied the art of chocolate making in Australia before travelling to Europe to learn the art from renowned Belgian chocolatiers. After chasing her dream and opening up this business in the Murrumbateman region three years ago, it has now become a well-loved fixture for both locals and visitors to the region.
There are 26 delicious chocolates to choose from, at the time of writing. Robyn makes the chocolates fresh each day using Belgian Callebaut Fair Trade couverture and natural ingredients, so they need to be eaten that day or the following - as they have no preservatives to make them last longer. For those who are interested in the details of chocolate making, "Callebaut Couverture" used at Robyn Rowe Chocolates contains 33.6% cocoa mass in the milk chocolate and 53.8% cocoa mass in the dark chocolate - simply meaning that the chocolate is more chocolatey!
On previous occasions we have tasted the memorable Clonakilla Muscat chocolates, which uses a sweet muscat from the local Clonakilla Winery and a Coconut Lime Zing - both of which stuck in our minds long after we had gone. On our last visit, we restrained ourselves and enjoyed a coffee with a Coconut Lime Zing again, as well as Minty, Salted Caramel , a chocolate kangaroo for our daughter. We also bought a boxed gift set for a chocoholic friend having a birthday - the perfect gift.
Choose from over 26 flavours. Source: Robyn Rowe Chocolates Facebook
At the time of writing, each delicious morsel costs $2.50 to buy and there are also chocolate animals, hearts, spoons and kangaroos for the kids for $2. If you wish to stay awhile and enjoy the scenic location, why not order a pot of tea, authentic hot chocolate or a coffee to enjoy with these Belgium chocolates, which will burst with flavour in your mouth.
If it is too cold or hot to sit outside, there are a several quaint tables to sit at behind the protective plastic window, as well as a few tables inside the shop. If you are interested in the hand made process of creating these exquisite chocolates, you can also take a look through the work room window to see what chocolatey goodness is being created today.
If you have kids, there is plenty to keep them occupied with an oversized noughts and crosses set, a small ring toss, wooden train set and books in the protected area on the verandah. Outside there is a totem tennis pole out on the lawn and a crate of balls, ring toss, hula hoop and even juggling pins!
Visitors to the region are enchanted by this scenic location and hand made Belgium chocolates, so lovingly made on site. Once they go back to their respective parts of the country, they can also order their favourite Belgium chocolates online so they can enjoy them all year around. Our family always enjoys visiting Robyn Rowe chocolates, as the "quaintness" of the whole experience is simply beautiful. The country hospitality welcome, the mouth watering chocolates, the open space for kids to run around and the peaceful outlook, makes this a unique experience amongst the wineries. If you are visiting the Canberra Wine District, it is the ideal spot to fit in some chocolate appreciation into your day of wine appreciation...