Dearest Readers what are your weekends like? :) Relaxing or are you always busy running errands and catching up with people? I didn’t really notice until recently…that my weekends are always packed to the brim. In fact I sometimes think my weekdays are quieter and I’m more relaxed. On weekends, I’m always planning to catch up with friends, new cafes to check out, new recipes to make or do what I dread the most….HOUSEWORK!
Another thing I like doing on the weekends is drag Mr Bao on various day trips with me :D And recently we’ve been visiting the Yarra Valley area a lot. Coincidentally, we’ve actually gone 3 times in 2 months hahaha every time we go, we visit Yarra Valley Chocolaterie! It’s a relatively new establishment in the area, opening last year and has very quickly become a popular attraction and is always packed during the weekends.
Yarra Valley Chocolaterie is set on a large block of land and lots of open area so it’s a great place for young families. Because I’ve gone 3 times I’m going to try and compile it into one post and share with you all my experiences. My most recent visit was the food blogging gang – Thanh, Ms Ihua & The Boy, Shellie, Lianne and Agnes. Our partners also came so it was like a huge day trip with everyone :)
We were lucky enough to be invited by Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Q Strategies to visit during their Hot Chocolate Festival running in August. Where they created 31 limited edition flavours, 7 each week! Yup as you imagined I was jumping up and down with excitement!
Last weekend when we went, we arrived at around 10am but it was already packed full of people and little kids running around. Yarra Valley Chocolaterie is very generous and they offer unlimited tasting of their dark, milk and white chocolate, so little kids were always lurking around and asking their parents to give them more chocolate :P
We were then introduced to Josh the head barista and he started introducing us to this weeks flavours. Thank gosh we were only given sample sizes of everything I don’t think we would’ve been able to stomach 7 cups! Maybe 3? :P
Starting from the top left is Mint Madness which is milk chocolate infused with mint and served with a fresh sprig of mint. It tasted very much like those dark chocolate squares with a mint filling. Next is the Cookies and Cream, made with milk chocolate and topped with crushed Oreo, drink it immediately so the cookies are still crunchy :)
When we were given the Indian Chai we all immediately looked at Lianne, as we know how much she likes Chai lattes! Josh told us that they specifically brew the chai using chai tea leaves and then mixed in with the milk chocolate. For me though the spices were a little strong and think I would’ve preferred it with milk chocolate instead ~ Next was the Lemon Myrtle another flavour that I wasn’t sure if it’ll work. Because orange and chocolate is Jaffa which is one of my favourite, but lemon and chocolate…but turns out that they actually pair up quite well. When you get the hit of chocolate first but then a subtle lemon flavours comes through, very refreshing and something I’d like to have when I have a cold.
Talking about the Jaffa flavour, even though it wasn’t on the menu, Josh was kind enough to make one of us to try. I couldn’t help but laugh at Agnes expression as Jaffa is one of those flavours she simply doesn’t like :P While for Mr Bao and I it was probably one of our favourite hot chocolate that day!
But out of the 7 from the list these are my top three pics, number 3 is the Gingerbread hot chocolate. Once again using milk chocolate as the base, a blend of cinnamon and ginger syrup is then mixed through. It reminded me a lot like the Taiwanese Ginger latte or teas I have had before, but had a chocolate flavour to it ~ I think it would’ve been even better if the ginger flavour was stronger. Josh did say that the ginger syrup that they make is quite strong, however, once milked with the chocolate and milk the flavour is cut by at least 3 folds! Wow now that’s something I never thought of :D
Always been a fan of chocolate and coconut that’s why I like the Bounty chocolate so much ~ But this Pina Colada blew me away with white chocolate, coconut and a tinge of pineapple. Very sweet and took me straight to summer. Mr Bao kept asking Josh for hint and tips so hopefully he’ll be able to remake this for me at home!
But the hot chocolate that absolutely stole my heart would have to be the SNICKERS! Yup that’s milk chocolate with melted peanut butter then topped with flaked almonds! I’ve actually had it here before and it was even better this time! I hope they never get rid of this from the menu! :)
To finish up we were all offered to try their handmade marshmallows – chocolate, vanilla, berry and tropical. I can really tell the difference in taste and texture with the handmade marshmallows, they’re fluffier, bouncier and I find not as sticky ~ The chocolate was my favourite flavour and can imagine how good it would be melting on top of a snickers hot chocolate!
That concludes our wonderful morning at Yarra Valley Chocolaterie with the bloggers, would like to thank them again for inviting us. Just wished I lived even closer so then I could come more and try all the hot chocolate flavours they have. You still have two weeks to go before the festival ends so if you’re looking for a place to go on weekends, I highly recommend Yarra Valley!
Now backtracking a little, the first time we went to Yarra Valley Chocolaterie was just Mr Bao and I ~ it was chilly but sunny Sunday. We previously had a huge lunch so by the time we got there, we couldn’t really order very much >_<
We shared a dark hot chocolate, its served in a double layer glass to keep it warm, dark chocolate pellets were placed at the bottom and topped with warm milk. Customers are also given a little whisk where they use to blend the two together. Even though it was a lot of fun, I think I liked it more when Josh made the hot chocolate for us. He definitely knows how to do it best. It’s quite generous of them to provide everyone who orders a drink or dessert to give them a little pot of melted chocolate, I had so much fun ‘drinking’ it :P
I also took the advice of the waitress and ordered their chocolate brownie, it was a triple chocolate brownie with white, milk and dark chocolate chips. Seriously rich and fudgey but the vanilla ice-cream helped cut through some of the richness but then I made it decadent again by pouring melted hot chocolate :D
I then took Macy and Stephenie to Yarra Valley Chocolaterie as well when they were in Melbourne, this time we ordered the Gluten Free chocolate cake. It was shaped like a tart with a soft and smooth texture and topped with whipped cream.
This was also the first time I had the Snickers hot chocolate, and already fell in love with it, the great balance between peanut, caramel and chocolate. Just thinking about it makes me happy especially now since Melbourne is getting considerably colder at night! Awww and poor Stephenie wasn’t too happy and had a little cry :(
Mr Bao wanted some heat so got the Chilli Bomb hot chocolate, it had more chilli than we expected and quite spicy, but wasn’t overpowering and the flavours paired up really well. I know it’s a strange combination, but give it a go next time!
Even though I’ve already gone 3 times, I don’t think it’ll be my last time going to Yarra Valley Chocolaterie because Win Win and Aden area also coming back soon and they’ve already told me they want to visit :) But I really don’t mind because I like their hot chocolates and sinfully chocolatey desserts!
Daisy@Nevertoosweet and Mr Bao attended the hot chocolate festival as guests of Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Q Strategies, however, the other two visits were paid for individually.