A visit to Daylesford should include a special trip to Chocolate Mill, Mount Franklin. When I went to Daylesford recently I picked up a brochure from Chocolate Mill and decided I needed to go and have a chocolate fix.
If you drive through Daylesford and head towards Bendigo, the Chocolate Mill is on your left close to Mount Franklin. If you blink you might miss it, so watch out for the signs. (The Chocolate Mill is not crooked, nor is it's roof crooked. The photographer took a slightly slanted photo - see below.)
Now for all you chocoholics out there, the Chocolate Mill is a chocoholics answer to chocolate heaven. You can buy hot chocolate drinks, chocolate tarts, chocolate to take home and more. Then you can dine in the cafe or find a table outside among the trees.
I ordered hot chocolate and a chocolate tart, and I dined outside in the bush setting, watching the children play in the playground. Chocolate Mill is set in from the highway, in a lovely area surrounded by trees, a small waterhole, and lots of tables and chairs set in the garden.
Free entry - there is free entry to the Cafe, and the Chocolate Mill. There are video demonstrations going on all the time, showing how Chocolate Mill makes chocolate, and how cocoa is turned into chocolate. You can also watch through a window to see chocolate being moulded into different shapes.
Chocolate Mill - Belgian couveture chocolates are hand made on site, and sold exclusively from Chocolate Mill, Mount Franklin. There is a retail store in front of the kitchen, with the viewing window so you can watch the chocolate being produced. And there is the cafe where you can purchase hot chocolates, coffee, ice cream, cakes and drinks.
Chocolate Mill believes that doing business means more than making and selling chocolate. They want to make their business sustainable. For Chocolate Mill, this includes providing a positive and ethical community and environmental contribution, as well as having a strong customer focus.
Chocolate Mill supports not-for-profit organisations and programs, especially helping people who are struggling to survive, or to live safely and in good health. Chocolate Mill also hopes to encourage other businesses to do the same.
Chocolate Mill - chocolate ingredients and fillings
The fillings for the products made and sold at Chocolate Mill are made on site and contain ingredients from local, national and international producers and suppliers.
The international products are sourced because of their quality, and minimal or no artificial ingredients. The almonds, macadamias and quince paste used by Chocolate Mill are all Australian. The honey comes from bees that visit the Yellowbox in the Mount Franklin area. And the strawberries and raspberries also come from local suppliers.
The Chocolate Mill building is a 2 storey, straw bale construction. It was built by the original owners of Chocolate Mill. It is made with approximately 70 percent recycled materials. It is rendered in earth (soil) and Chocolate Mill generates 25 percent of their power by solar panels.
Chocolate Mill is set on 16 acres of native forest, with native gardens too. The setting is really pretty, and when you sit outside at one of the many tables and chairs, you feel like you are out in the bush, surrounded by trees and bushes.
Chocolate Mill is aiming to be Carbon Neutral. In August 2007, Chocolate Mill planted 10 acres more of native trees for re-forestation to help with erosion and to keep the bush setting.
In the Chocolate Mill Shop staff use biodegradable, unbleached paper shopping bags and boxes. The brochures are printed on 100 percent recycled paper, as are their business cards. The Cooler Bags sold are designed for reuse. Even the toilet paper is one ply unbleached 100 percent recycled paper and the business uses 100 percent recycled computer paper.
The new owners at Chocolate Mill are Nicki and Adrian Straton. The original owners and builders were Jennifer Gregory and Chris Weippert. The Chocolate Mill factory opened in 2004. The Hot Chocolate Cafe opened in 2006.