Phillip Island is about an hour-and-a-half’s drive from Melbourne and is a favourite spot for Aussie and international tourists wanting to see Fairy Penguins and city folk wanting to have holidays at the beach. Panny’s Chocolate Factory is located at the entrance into the island and has therefore a guaranteed steady stream of folk wanting hot chocolates, coffee and a taste of his chocolate, especially on the weekends or during the motorcycle Grand Prix.
They were doing a roaring trade the day I was there, so I quickly grabbed three blocks – Dark Grand Marnier, Dark Almond and Dark Mocca and a handful of small bars.
I wasn’t prepared to shell out a further twelve dollars for the rather tacky-looking chocolate museum, but would love to hear from anybody who has been inside. Was it worth it to see a 12,000 piece chocolate mosaic of Dame Edna, a chocolate village with working trains, a one tonne block of chocolate and a slow-growing chocolate stalagmite or would I be better entertained by chewing one of my own legs off?
Sadly, whilst the chocolate is Belgian (Callebaut, in fact) what he’s done to it has been very disappointing. The Grand Marnier and Mocca blocks don’t have fillings but have been infused with some kind of flavour that makes them taste overly fake and renders the once-reasonable-chocolate into a cheap tasting product that I couldn’t finish. The almond block was similarly uninspired and very stingy on the amount of actual nuts included.
The individual bars were fine. Just OK. I guess it’s hard to mess up milk chocolate if it’s got nice fillings included like cherry, caramel, honeycomb or nuts in it, but I’m not under any illusion that Panny or his creators are any creative genuises in the world of chocolate or able to produce any ground-breakingly unique additional flavours or be stocked by city supermarkets any time soon. No, but they’ve got a great location – the sole chocolate manufacturer on an island that teems with cashed-up visitors.