A freelance writer new to Perth. Katie has written articles about her hometown in the UK for five years and is keen to see how Perth compares
Published July 24th 2011
Margaret River Chocolate Factory was one of the first places I wanted to visit when I arrived in Western Australia. A self-confessed chocolate addict, I had hopes of free chocolate, a huge variety of products to purchase, and perhaps a river of chocolate running through the factory (a childhood spent watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory may have distorted my view of reality here). Well, some areas surpassed expectation, whilst others didn't quite live up.
Upon entering the building, I was greeted by the sight of tables and stands covered in beautifully wrapped and decorated chocolate of all kinds and sizes. The shop has certainly mastered the idea of variety, selling clothing and even a range of bath and beauty products including soap and massage oils using chocolate in their ingredients.
Now, my shopping technique is that of a careful browser, I like to look, compare prices, and look again. So I spent quite a while figuring out what items were good value for money and which ones would involve me paying mostly for the fancy packaging (however pretty it may be). Unsurprisingly, the chocolate factory is not a place I would recommend you shop at if you are looking for a bargain. In fact, I found a number of products were out of my price range.
One thing that I would recommend though, and which I feel is a good value for money, was the ice cream. I couldn't resist trying a scoop of cookies and cream flavour and was pleasantly surprised at the generosity that came with one scoop. In fact, on reflection I'm not sure I could have managed more than a scoop. I mean, I'm sure I would have given it a fair try, but would probably have a felt a little sick afterwards – especially with the free chocolate I had tucked into by that point.
Speaking a free chocolate, this brings me back to my afore mentioned expectations. I had hoped for heaps of free chocolate, perhaps from different stages of its production (I know of someone that visited a chocolate factory in England and was given pots of melted chocolate, slabs of chocolate post-cooling, and even small amounts of the final product). However, the free chocolate on offer here was small chocolate drops which could be spooned out from bowls. There was white, milk and dark chocolate to be tested, which were all delicious, but on the busy day that I visited there was quite a queue. The good thing was that visitors could help themselves to as much chocolate as they liked and there was no limit to the number of times you could go up, if you were patient enough to queue and queue again that is.
Apparently, there are sometimes free chocolates given out at the production window. That is the chocolates that are in some way faulty in shape or appearance and deemed not good enough to be sold. Unfortunately, there was none given out here whilst I was there. This window is the only glimpse of the production process you have. At times I forgot that I was actually at a 'factory,' as the focus seems much more on the sale of chocolate rather than the production, which again wasn't quite what I expected.
As well as the numerous types of chocolates and truffles on sale, there is a cafe and seating area at the factory, which is quite pleasant and has nice views of area. This also gives you a well deserved chance to relax after consuming all that chocolate.