Ep.9 – A Chocolaterie in Victoria: When A Choc Factory Becomes a Major Tourism Destination

A chocolaterie in Victoria, or even Australia, is a rare commodity. We’re a long way from Belgium after all.

But sitting right there on Victoria’s Surf Coast is one of Australia’s favourite chocolaterie’s and ice creameries.

We sat down for a chat with the founders of the Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery for Ep.9 of the Surf Coast Creatives podcast.

Capturing Hearts & Minds

Created in 2016, Ian & Leanne Neeland have captured the imaginations of chocolate lovers, young and old.

Making the most popular sweet destinations in Victoria has been the vision of the dynamic husband and wife duo since day one.

Together they’ve built and created Chocolateries in the Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula and on the Great Ocean Road.

A Chocolaterie in Victoria - Ian & Leslie Neeland are the founders of the Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie.
The go-getters and energetic Husband & Wife duo behind the Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery, Ian & Leanne Neeland.

Ian & Leanne lead a talented team of European Chocolatiers and Pastry Chefs, together with passionate local staff to create sweet wonderlands the whole family can enjoy.

Visitors to the Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie can indulge in Ian & Leanne’s love of chocolate and passion for creating memorable experiences.

In fact, a memorable experience is a driving force for founder Ian. He says, “you need to focus on your customer first and foremost when running a business.”

A Firm Eye on Sustainability

The chocolaterie in Victoria is a proud part of the Cocoa Horizons program supporting farmers and their local communities.

Being a part of the program ensures the raw cocoa for the chocolaterie is sourced in a sustainable manner.

Ian and Leanne believe sustainable practices create better lives and better chocolate—ensuring we can enjoy chocolate forever!

Jess & I were welcomed by a spectacular showroom filled with thousands of chocolates. Not to mention an ever-changing range of freshly made pastries, desserts and artisan ice creams and an all-day café using ingredients from the kitchen garden.

I had to pick up my tongue from off the ground 🙂 Yes, drooling.

In the ordinary course of business, visitors can join daily hosted tasting sessions, hands-on chocolate making classes, or simply watch Chocolatiers at work through giant viewing windows.

A lot of this interaction has now gone online with coronavirus taking its toll on foot traffic.

They’re doing it really tough so there has never been a bigger test of Leanne & Ian’s resilience. Not to mention their small army of nearly 100 staff.

Some Chocolate Wisdom

Tune in to find out how they’re coping and hear Leanne’s no.1 piece of advice for getting through tough business conditions.

And find out how Leanne secured funding from private investors to get her first chocolaterie in Victoria up and going.

It’s an episode not to be missed if you’re in the business of retail, distribution, tourism or a self-confessed chocoholic!

Here’s Ep.9 of the Surf Coast Creatives podcast with your hosts Ben & Jess.

Leave us a rating on iTunes and let us know what you think. Cheers 🙂

Ben Hucker is the founder and host of the Surf Coast Creatives podcast. He’s a former financial markets guy who left the city in 2017 and moved to the Surf Coast in Victoria, Australia. Tune in for a weekly episode of the Surf Coast Creatives podcast. Each episode is packed full of hints and tips on creativity, health, business, mindset and a good dose of inspirationAll this with creatives entrepreneurs on the Surf Coast in Victoria, Australia.

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