When I think of a great weekend, it involves rolling out of bed at some hour past nine, drinking a coffee while watching the news and setting off in a relative state of clam, knowing I shan't be doing anything strenuous during the day - all that and some kind of chocolate involvement in there somewhere. So, here's a list of some the sweet experiences around town that don't involve an early rise on the weekend.
This two-storey cafe on Union Street (just off Rundle Street) is a brilliant spot for lovers of hot chocolate. Making all their own chocolate, the café offers a very wide range of flavours for both dark and white hot chocolate. They also range a selection of truffles, cakes and a chocolate soup. It's also brilliant for those who like to sleep late, as it doesn't open until 11 am on weekdays and even later on weekends. However, it's open late into the night serving chocolate cocktails. Favoured by uni students and couples of young and old, it can hold very few people so special booking have to be made for parties larger than four. Relatively inexpensive it really depends on how decadent you want to be as to how much you spend. Haigh's Chocolate Factory Tour (Haigh's Visitors Centre).
Haigh's is a proudly owned South Australian company established in 1915 and it spans four generations. The factory was built on the land behind the family home on Greenhill Road in Parkside in 1919. Since then, another factory has been constructed and the original site is now the Visitors Centre. Free guided tours take place Monday through Saturday, showing chocolate-lovers how Haigh's Chocolates are made from raw cocoa beans into the in the extensive Haigh's range. The Visitors Centre offers the chance to taste and buy with bulk and special lines available only from the factory. Booking is essential because this is a popular activity, especially during the school holidays. The Adelaide Chocolate School.
Located on Level 1, 96 Gawler Place, the Adelaide Chocolate School is a great experience for anyone with a love of chocolate. The school offers one-off classes in everything from truffle making to chocolate appreciation. The school does cater for those who can only attend after business hours and on weekends. The courses teach willing students of all ages how to work and model chocolate for decoration, chocolate tempering and moulding. The classes range in price and duration from $59 to $99 last no more than three hours, with the most expensive being a whole day course costing $190.
Swiss Glory's shops in the City Cross Food Court and in the Adelaide Markets are based around Swiss chocolate and baking. This award-winning enterprise is run and owned by an Adelaidean who studied to be a Chocolatier in Switzerland.
The City Cross shop is small and noisy due to its proximity to the large food court, but as it's really just a counter-top you won't have to wait for long. Depending on what you get it can be expensive as everything is so specialised.
The owner also bakes savouries, like something out of Harry Potter, Blackeby's is packed with chocolates, lollies, fudges and everything else you can think of. As well as making their own products they also import a large range of confectionery from New Zealand, England and America. Pop-tarts are a favourite of mine and they stock about half of the near thirty flavour range; the best I've found in Adelaide yet.
They have a great feature in milkshakes: you pick the confectionery you want, choose another flavour (chocolate, vanilla, or caramel), then top it off with 'something nice' and they shake the whole concoction for $2 more. With tastes and prices to suit everyone, this is a great spot to go, even if it's just for a look. It tends to be busy with lots of students from the nearby schools in the afternoons. The current owners, Manna Confectionary, chose to retain the traditional equipment and manufacturing techniques used by the Blackeby family during the previous century, aiming to provide the traditional sweet shoppe experience to current and future generations.
Situated in Adelaide's East End on Rundle Street, Cocolat aims to create an experience for their customers. A long café bedecked with local art for sale and chocolate quotes, it can get quite busy as it's favoured by students. Cocolat is reasonably priced offering a wide selection of crepes, waffles, and many desserts. They do offer coffee and savouries if by this point you are getting sick of chocolate but they do have award-winning chocolate gelati you could try for dessert.
Part of the Adelaide Hills Yellow Brick Road, Melba's Chocolate Factory is located in Woodside. It's about a forty minute drive from Adelaide, but the lush scenery is worth the drive. Using 1940's chocolate making equipment, the factory is a unique South Australian icon.
You can watch the production from specially-installed windows including liquorice, toffees, and everything chocolate. The site was originally part of the South Australian Farmers' Cooperative Union; famous for dairy and small goods until production ceased in the mid 1970s.
The site went unused until 1990, when the new proprietors transformed it into what it is today. The sweets shop is spectacular- a huge space filled with all types of confectionery and it's easy to go overboard and spend too much. The factory is open every day of the year (except Christmas Day and Proclamation Day).
And there you have it- just a few drops in the Adelaide chocolate pond but certainly enough to tempt the tastebuds and isn't it lovely to think there are so many more that I haven't mentioned here!
There's also Bracegirdles - Glenelg, McLaren Vale and Toorak Gardens. I love their desserts and chocolaty drinks!
If you're up in McLaren Vale, there's also the Robert Menz Showcase store on Main St, where you can see some of the old machinery on display from their factory, buy fruchocs (and Medlow Gels) in bulk as well as a huge range of their sweets that's not usually seen in the supermarkets. At certain times, you can also buy various packs of lollies and for a few $$'s extra, you can watch them being coated with chocolate on the machine! There's also a factory outlet- 71 Glynburn Rd, Glynde.