- high chairs;
- pram access;
- change facilities;
- child-friendly standard menu;
- kids menu; and
- activities and games.
Visiting the Yarra Valley normally involves a tour of the wineries – but where do you go if you have kids in tow?
Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Icrecreamery is a new family-friendly destination in the heart of Yarra Glen. Lady AB is currently obsessed with the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory so it was the perfect destination for a half-day trip with the grandparents on a sunny weekday.
The property’s main attraction is a stylish, shaded building housing a chocolate factory, shop and cafe. The cafe spans indoor (air conditioned) and outdoor areas with views overlooking the rolling environs of the valley.
From the carpark entrance we were greeted by a giant chocolate bar – Lady AB dragged me to the door impatiently, she knew what was inside!
The first thing you notice as you walk through the glass door is the sign for ‘Free Tastings’. Yes that’s right – a free-for-all of white, milk and dark chocolate for scooping! It was a good thing that Lady AB wasn’t tall enough to reach those huge bowls herself – as it was we had to ration the buds one by one as she kept returning to the counter shouting ‘more! more!’.
The shop sells a huge range of chocolate products, including a tempting glass cabinet of truffles. It was difficult choosing which products to take home but in the end we settled on a giant freckle for Tim (who missed out on the trip as he had to work) and the Easter Bunny will be landing in our house with a metre long chocolate this year.
I recommend taking the time to sit down at the cafe so that you can enjoy some of the chocolate and ice cream products on site. There are also savoury options if you’re there around lunch time.
We ordered a mix-your-own hot chocolate ($5.50), an icecream sundae of wildberry, peach & mango and creamy vanilla ice cream, topped with berry coulis and summer berries (a bargain at $12 in my view) and a triple layered chocolate mousse ($8.50).
All of the desserts were decadently rich on their own but the the giant sundae was the highlight. The berry ice cream was made with fresh fruit and the vanilla ice cream was heavily creamy and fragranced with speckles of vanilla beans, providing a rich counterpoint to the berry tartness. I had to fight Lady AB to share it and she literally licked the bowl clean!
The standard lunch menu is suitable for kids and there is also a kids snack box ($11) which includes a ham and cheese roll, drink, choc chip cookie and fruit skewer. My only gripe was the bottle of ‘fruit drink’ that was included – why not give kids real 100% juice, water or cold milk instead of a drink which only contains 25% fruit juice + 75% sugary concoction.
Other than eating chocolate and ice cream kids will be kept amused by the glass windows where they can watch the factory at work.
They can also go nuts running around the surrounding lawns and there are tubs of plastic balls dotted around the cafe for the kids to chase. Older kids might enjoy a little educational tour of the herb garden which is used to source some of the ingredients used in the chocolates (it was closed during our visit).
If you’re looking for a child-friendly destination in the Yarra Valley you won’t be able to beat the temptations on offer at Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Icrecreamery. Plus as part of the upcoming Melbourne Food and Wine Festival Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Icrecreamery will be offering hands-on Junior Chocolatier Classes on Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 March. During the 30 minute class kids will learn how to make their very own chocolate animal and enjoy free tastings. Classes cost $15 and bookings essential as class places are limited to 10 children per session.
Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Icrecreamery, 35 Old Healesville Road (cnr Melba Highway), Yarra Glen +61 3 9730 2777
Open every day 9am-5pm (except Christmas Day)