It's a bit difficult to venture within 100 kilometres of Margaret River and not actually visit the Margaret River Chocolate Factory.
Not that that the Chocolate Factory is actually in Margaret River itself, but instead is located about ten kilometres up Bussell Highway towards Dunsborough, and then another few kilometres down a country road.
Still, the distance hardly seems to be an obstacle to the numbers of eager patrons who descend on the Factory, which is actually more of a shop and café. If you are lucky, there will be a chocolatier on duty when you visit, and you can watch them perform their craft through a large glass window. But if like us, you visit on a day when there is no one making the chocolates, you'll just have to console yourself with eating them instead.
Like the MRCF in the Swan Valley, there is an enormous retail space filled with mountains of chocolate goodies, plus the wall of chocolate, the glass case of truffle perfection and – some may say best of all – the three free bowls of chocolate drop heaven. Yep. Free samples. Of chocolate. This is the expression on my daughter's face when I told her. Pretty much sums it up, I'd say.
The Chocolate Fondue (for two $13.95 or four $22.95) consists of your choice of melted milk or dark chocolate, marshmallows, crunchy nougat, honeycomb, dried apricots, biscotti, licorice and glace cherries.
As well as normal coffees ($4) and milkshakes ($6) they also offer 'real' hot chocolate ($5.50) and MRCF choc milk and iced chocolate. Yes, you do detect a theme.
But if too much chocolate is… too much, the café also has a menu offering non-chocolate dishes showcasing produce from their very own organic vegetable garden, orchard and olive grove which are located on the farm. Dishes include sweet or savoury crepes (perfect for breakfast, $14.50), soup of the day with fresh baguette ($14.50), vegetable frittata of the day with salad ($19.50), prawn and zucchini fritters with coleslaw and chilli jam ($19.50) and grain-fed braised beef, creamy mash and red wine jus ($19.50).
There is also a small kids menu offering pasta of the day or toasted sandwiches, salad, a biscuit and juice (both $9.95). Good luck getting your kid to eat pasta when they are in the Aussie equivalent of Willy Wonka's.
There is seating both indoors and out, but I would recommend sitting outside on the wooden verandah overlooking the large grassed area where kids can run around and expend some of the energy they consumed at the free sample bowls.
A huge grassed area for kids to run around while you eat
It's probably worth thinking about exactly what you want to eat before you come to the MRCF. We dropped by on our way to lunch at a nearby brewery, but couldn't resist a selection of slices and biscuits. Turns out Mum was right, and sweets DO totally ruin your appetite. Oh well.