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Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery

Home > Melbourne > Family | Escape the City | Chocolate | Cake Shops | Cafes
by Tricia Ziemer (subscribe)
Television Producer & Photojournalist with a passion for sharing adventures in and around Melbourne, Australia. See my for other adventures. Subscribe to me so I can tell you of upcoming fab things not to miss.
Published July 17th 2019
Ruby, dark, white, or milk chocolate, all for me, please
Ian Neelan Owner and Head Chocolatier Allan Grandjean
Ian Neelan Owner and Head Chocolatier Allan Grandjean - Photos by Tricia Ziemer

I have just enjoyed one of the most sublime, scrumptious, delicious experiences in all of Victoria, possibly Australia. This chocolate extravaganza event will be very hard to top.

Stunning Building houses Chocolatier
Stunning Building houses Chocolatier

I was delighted to be able to meet and interview the owners at this chocolatier, on the day, and their French head chocolatier.

Owner Leanne Neelan, Entreprenure, Marketing Genuis and Chocolate Design Guru
Owner Leanne Neelan, Entreprenure, Marketing Genuis and Chocolate Design Guru

My chocolate adventure started with spacious and easy parking, after a stunning drive along the Great Ocean Road. This whole enterprise is the brainchild of owners Leanne & Ian Neeland. Leanne is an incredibly experienced entrepreneur who has been awarded the Telstra Business Woman of the Year in the past, and this is her latest and best business creation

In the past, she and Ian ran a fresh produce packing business for a major supermarket chain. But as the big business structure shattered fresh produce supply chains, this couple knew they needed to diversify and reinvent. So Leanne got to thinking and with this lady's brainpower, it did not take long. She explained to me, "We wanted to find a product that people want to buy, when they are happy, and when they are sad, or as a gift for others or themselves. And that something was chocolate".

Head Chocolatier Allan Grandjean
Head Chocolatier Allan Grandjean

Ian added, "We wanted to do something as husband and wife together... This is our next grand adventure which we started with our love for chocolate, our love for business, and we wanted something that blended chocolate and tourism. Here we are now three chocolatiers later, including the new petite chocolatier in Flinders, Mornington, over 200 employees, and 15 chocolatiers... we are happily in love and we have great relationships with our chocolatiers and with our team and our customers are so happy is makes this place such a great atmosphere to work in."

Make your very own chocolate creations
Make your very own chocolate creations

They started just 9 years ago trying to find first how to make chocolate. Ian said, "We had to go overseas to learn how the chocolate industry works, as there are no chocolatier courses in Australia. All chocolatiers are trained and come from Europe. We also wanted younger chocolatiers who were willing to blend in Leanne's idea's of using unique Australian flavours never used in chocolate making before."

250 types of chocolate to choose from
250 types of chocolate to choose from

This is reflected in the fact that their head chocolatier is 23-year-old French lad, Allan Grandview. I spoke to Allan and he said, "I started training at 16 years old and did two degrees one in pastry and one in chocolate and finished my training as a chocolatier. I started in Yarra Valley and then 3 years ago took over the production here."

We learn about and taste fresh cocoa
We learn about and taste fresh cocoa

"Leanne and Ian sent me to the Ivory Coast, to the middle of nowhere, so I could see how the farmers lived and produced the cocoa beans Then we taught them the three key ingredients to keep these fussy plants health, the perfect amount of water, the perfect amount of shade, and proper pruning so you get the best produce ."

Learn how to grow the cocoa plants
Learn how to grow the cocoa plants

Leanne concentrates on achieving unique and innovative taste sensations with their chocolatiers. She is also the mastermind behind all the fabulous packaging. Leanne, says "I travel the world researching packaging and design to create our extensive chocolate line." And with over 250 chocolate products that's a lot of creativity. When you walk in, you will be amazed at the colour, the variety, the shop dressing and the style you are surrounded by. This place is classes above Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. If you could give Chef Hats to chocolate. I am picking 3 hats. You can look through the huge glass window and watch the chocolatiers making their creations, or join a tasting tour, or sign up to make your own chocolate creations. There are kids groups as well, so you can relax and have lunch, while they are learning how to make chocolates in their cute little hats and aprons.

Chocolate Chocolate everywhere and even more to drink
Chocolate Chocolate everywhere and even more to drink

Ian and Leanne both talked about how important it was that chocolate supports and nurtures the relationships and partnerships throughout their supply chain. Even to a point that they teach their farmers overseas, supplying the cocoa bean, how to rotate their fields, instead of cutting down the old-growth forest to create a new field. They say, "We are proudly part of the Cocoa Horizons program that supports farmers and their communities, ensuring their cocoa is sustainably sourced and with these practices, we create better lives and better chocolate – ensuring we can enjoy chocolate forever" Ian stated. "We even pay an extra fee on our chocolate to support the livelihood of our farmers so their children can go to school during the week and only have to work on the farm on the weekend."

"We also source Australian couverture chocolate from Daintree Estates in Far North Queensland to complement our couverture supply from our international partners. Most of our chocolate comes from Belgium who are partners in the Fair Trade movement that supports all the people and cultures involved."

We got to taste a large variety of chocolates and learn their secret ingrediants
We got to taste a large variety of chocolates and learn their secret ingrediants

They first built the Yarra Valley Centre on 40 acres, and then built the Great Ocean Road Chocolatier. I went to Ocean Grove. They have had designed an architecturally stunning building melding into the lovely beach scenery of Bellbrae, just outside of Torquay. Yet internally the building gives you a feeling of touching the heavens with vaulted ceilings and glass surrounds.

When you walk in, the first thing that hits you is the stunning smell of chocolate, dark, white, milk and then new ruby chocolate, plus so many other yummy flavours. The next excitement is the colour and the design of all the chocolate on display. If you are a packaging nut like I am, who gets sucked in by cool designs, be very worried for your purse, because this place is beyond tempting.

But it is tempting in a healthy way, It tempts with tempered, smooth, creamy, unique blended chocolate treats you have never experienced before. There are flavours imported from all over the world or sourced directly from their fresh produce gardens on the grounds.

Ice cream we all scream for ice cream
We got to taste a large variety of chocolates and learn their secret ingrediants

The incredible chocolatier is not just about the FREE chocolate you get to taste when you walk in, but homemade ice cream, cakes of any size or any party you can imagine, weddings and birthday parties, corporate basket. They cater for vegan, nut free, gluten free, and diary free. They really have thought of and catered for every customer.

Then there is the modest café food and the ice creamery.

Oh la la! In my best French.

Smashed Avo gets 3 HATS
Smashed Avo gets 3 HATS

This café can have 3 hats as well. This is not simple café food. The food is diverse and divine. My simple smashed avo, was sublime with a balsamic drizzle and fresh pomegranate seeds. A taste sensation not to be missed. And everything around me looked just as delicious. This restaurant seats 300, so you can bring as many friends as you want.

And then the brought out the most amazing deserts to share
And then the brought out the most amazing deserts to share

There is also an enclosed garden for the kids to run and play that surrounds the fresh food gardens, bounce balls and the sand pitt. It is up to 15 acres. All safe for hours of play.

Don't worry that you missed this fantastic day, because there are lots of lovely upcoming celebrations coming up at all three of their locations, Yarra Valley, Bellbrae and Mornington.

Kids Events Running all the time - let them create
Kids Events Running all the time - let them create

Chocolate Classes
Regular Chocolate Classes for all

Regular events for the kids are Junior Chocolatier Classes especially in school holidays, Chocolate Discovery Classed every month, Taste and Create Workshops each month, and Chocolate Story Time every Wednesday during school term. And Giant Lollipop Days. See the website for times and days.

Giant Chocolate Treat created by you
Chocolate Treat created by you

Hot Chocolate Festival in August
Father's Day Sunday September 1
Strawberry Affair October 16-27
Christmas hand crafted creations November 14 to December 24
Meet Santa December 1 to 22nd, then he has to get back to the North Pole
Australia Day Long Weekend
Valentines Day
Ice Cream Festival in February
Easter Wonderland and meet the Easter Bunnies

You can get there and back in a day, but it so lovely try to find a place to stay in nearby Tourqay or I headed further down the coast to Lorne.

And I found a lovely beach front apartment in Lorne, even during the school holidays, using Sandridge Accomodation Services.
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*Tricia Ziemer was invited as a guest
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Why? You love chocolate, ice cream and fine food
When: Almost every day
Phone: (03) 5263 1588
Where: 1200 Great Ocean Rd, Bellbrae VIC 3228
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