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Sweet Addiction - The Botanic Story of Chocolate

Home > Sydney > Chocolate | Day Trips | Exhibitions
by Sue Hinchey (subscribe)
A freelance writer living and loving in the northern beaches of Sydney...travelling, writing, outdoor activities, gardens, and Pilates are a few of my favourite things. Visit me or
Published June 18th 2016
Learn how to grow your own chocolate
This year, The Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney celebrates its 200th year. It covers 30 hectares, has 8,900 plant species, 3,964 trees and is home to Australia's oldest street trees - 3 Eucalyptus robusta planted in 1816 along Mrs Macquaries Road.

one of the 3,964 trees in the Botanic Gardens

But I'm here to investigate something dear to every girl's heart, "The Botanic Story of Chocolate". Housed in The Calyx, the Garden's newest and grooviest looking attraction, the story takes you on a journey. Intrigued by the lemurs guarding the door, I head inside.

Calyx entrance
lemurs guard the entrance

Once inside I'm greeted by a volcano of liquid chocolate. Pink and white marshmallows and dipping sticks are provided, so if you're game enough to make a pig of yourself, this sugar hit will last you all day.

chocolate fountain
no one can resist tasting

The exhibit's curator, Director of Horticulture Management, Jimmy Turner, said his aim was to highlight Rainforest Conservation. Stepping through the doors I'm immersed in a South American Rainforest, where the cacao tree is native to.

every crevice and log is covered in plants

The exhibits show how cacao plantations are grown sustainably, and what environmental challenges they face. Continue walking through the Mill and learn how chocolate goes from being a bean to being that chocolate bar in your fridge.


"The message we hope all visitors will come away with is 'you save the plants, you save the planet'. The Royal Botanic Garden isn't only a nice place to jog or picnic but we are also the oldest scientific organisation in Australia dedicated to plant conservation", says Jimmy. "The choices you make at the supermarket determine our future and the future of our planet."

The mill
The Mill

Back outside I turn my face to the gentle winter sun. Across the expanse of green lawn people wander. I sit in the protective canopy of the massive arms of a huge oak tree. Children run, roll and play. I'm struck again by the beauty and peace of this place. It happens every time I visit. Our island home is special and blessed to be a land of peace and prosperity. The curators here have a huge responsibility and they do it well. As I stroll toward home I remind myself, so do I. It's not that hard to make the right choices. I'll be checking my fridge as soon as I get home.

picnic in the park
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Why? Rainforest conservation
When: From 11 June, 2016
Phone: 02-92318111
Where: Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney
Cost: $17.00
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