Having been once before, some years ago, I was impressed that they have resurrected some of the old machinery that was used by the Australian chocolate makers of times gone by. If you are interested in chocolate making and machinery – be warned, the operation is very small. Mostly they seem to sell confectionery, and the range is substantial. On the chocolate front they do have some novelty items, such as the Cow Pat – which looks much like the name says it should.
The chocolate room and panning room are probably the most interesting places to stick your head into, because real stuff is being made in front of you. In the panning room, in particular, they coat things like peanuts, sultanas, and so on – the old fashioned way.
Recently, The Lady of House was in Woodside and dropped in, bringing home a small haul of Melba’s dark chocolate scorched peanuts and coffee beans. My initial reaction was “oh, goodo, we’ll just eat those”. I had no intention of photographing and writing these up.
That all changed one evening, sitting back in front of the TV watching old episodes of “Taggart”. I opened the pack of the dark scorched peanuts, ate a couple, promptly said “oh wow… eat some of these”, and set them aside to photograph and write up.
The peanuts in particular are coated with a very dark, very rich chocolate with a flavour unlike any of the things you buy for a couple of bucks in the local supermarket. Melba’s don’t make their own chocolate from beans, so they buy the chocolate. I made a discreet enquiry about what it is, and they replied that it is a special blend and is available only from them. In other words – the chocolate used is like Coca Cola – built on a Secret Recipe. Whatever it is, these are good – really, really good. If you are in the area, get some. At $4 for a 180g bag, these are good value as well.
The dark chocolate coated coffee beans are not quite as outstanding. The reason is pretty simple: the coffee beans tend to overpower the chocolate, which becomes a bit lost. Chocolate coffee beans tend to be one of those things people love or hate. Those who like them will find nothing here offensive, it’s a very nice quality product, it just does not have the outstanding “wow” factor.