Freelance writer exploring Melbourne and beyond. If you enjoy the following article click on the Like button, Facebook it to your friends or subscribe. I'll update you with yummy and often free events. Like my photos? I instagram @redbagwilltravel
From the one advertisement I'd seen of Moorabool Valley Chocolate By Design it looked a bit twee. A little bit fake country cottagey and seemed to be yelling, if we say the word "chocolate" they will come.
But they did say the word "chocolate" so I did come. Even if I also brought along a few reservations.
Glad I did and I would go back there in a flash and take friends and family if I am ever in the area.
The chocalaterie is in a great location near the Geelong Ring Road. I would imagine it is very accessible to Geelongians, but also to the half of Melbourne that parades through Geelong every year on their way to beaches and holiday haunts.
The entry makes it feel like you are in the country. You have to open a gate then you drive through a working horse agistment.
Once inside I found the cafe is not as twee and cutesy-pie as photos suggested. Rather it was large and spacious. There was a roaring fire around which you can sit on couches but there were also an outside courtyard and decking area for summer.
I brought the wrong kind of reservations as the place was packed. Lucky I had ummed and ahed about coming until well into the afternoon because when I arrived a few people were just finishing up and I managed to get a seat.
The first pleasant surprise was the price of meals. Having had a $32 steak in Geelong the night before here were fabulous meals, the majority of which were $10 a pop. And these plated meals were served on white tablecloths, while the plate of steak had been served on a bare wooden table.
They weren't huge meals but luncheon type foods, frittata, homemade soups, cornish pasties -- that kind of fare.
All were served with bountiful mounds of crisp green salad.
I had planned to eat further down the road but the ploughman's lunch looked too inviting to pass up. It consisted of crusty home-made bread, wedges of cheese, thick slivers of what looked like homemade silverside and country ham, chutney, chopped fruit, pickled onions, gherkin, salad and so on. ($12.50)
It was certainly better than any ploughmans I have ever experienced in English country pubs.
The waitress told me that while people enjoyed the savoury lunches it was the desserts they drove miles for.
While I didn't have one (this time) they looked amazing. I watched as visitors tucked into homemade brownies, muffins and waffles served with dollops of whipped cream, staggering landslides of icecream and torrents of chocolate sauce. Most of the desserts were only $7.
There is a viewing window into the small workroom where they create their amazing chocolates. Owner and chocolatier, Lynne Meek, was awarded 2nd Prize, Hand-Made Chocolates, at the Royal Melbourne Show in 2006.
The variety is constantly changing as they source different local ingredients but there were also the usual caramels, honeycomb, marshmallows, fondants and nougats. There were also European-style truffles, moulded and dipped chocolates filled with ganache, liqueurs, nuts, fruit, while others were decorated with edible metallic colours and 23-carat gold leaf.
There is also a range of novelty items. So this would be a great place to go at Easter or Christmas. The array of Geelong Cats seemed overly hopeful.
As well as the abundance of chocolates there is a lookout where you can view the picturesque Moorabool Valley, which is better than looking the other way towards the highway where there is a rush of trucks and traffic.
From the lookout you can see Geelong's metropolis and its tendrils reaching out towards the green pastures.
Let's hope it doesn't arrive any time soon because when it does this place is going to learn what its food is really worth.
Thank you so much, Nadine. It's heartening to read a review like yours, after some nasty reviews on travel sites. I do remember the lady who ordered the sugar-free hot chocolate - I made it up specially.