Frequently Asked Questions
Useful Information
What is couverture chocolate?

Couverture is a term used to describe professional quality coating chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa butter, usually a minimum of 33% or higher.

This increased cocoa butter content gives a rich, intense chocolate flavour, glossy finish, a “snap” when broken and has a creamy “melt in the mouth” feel once tempered.

 

How do you distinguish couverture chocolate from compound chocolate?

Compound chocolate doesn’t have the same fine qualities of couverture chocolate.

Couverture has:

Rich, intense chocolate flavour
High sheen and a glossy, smooth finish
Brittle texture (snaps when broken)
Creamy mouth feel
Low melting point

Compound chocolate has part of the cocoa butter replaced by vegetable fats. Also a whole range of whey powders, whey derivatives and dairy blends are permitted in compound chocolate where milk powder is prescribed in couverture milk chocolate.

 

Do you use compound chocolate?

We do NOT use compound chocolate in any of our products. Our couverture chocolate has the highest quality cocoa butter and NO added fats or oils.

 

What is the difference between white, milk and dark chocolate?

The main difference between white, milk and dark chocolate is the proportion of cocoa liquor to sugar. The higher the ratio of cocoa liquor (or solids), the darker and more bitter the chocolate and more intense the flavour. While in white chocolate it contains no cocoa liquor just cocoa butter, which creates an indulgently sweet and creamy taste. This cocoa liquor ratio is manipulated to produce the following chocolate types:

Dark Couverture
Dark couverture is created with chocolate liquor (cocoa solids) to which more cocoa butter is added and a small amount of sugar, natural vanilla and soy lecithin. It is the high proportion of cocoa solids that give dark couverture its rich, intense and slightly bitter chocolate flavours. It contains no milk additives and is as pure and raw as chocolate gets.

Dark couverture chocolate must contain a minimum of 43% cocoa solids to be called “dark” chocolate according to European norms. A 70% cocoa mass is considered quite dark, while 85-90% has become popular for dark chocolate lovers who want a slightly bitter finish. In our Single Origin range we also offer dark chocolate with a higher percentage of cocoa solids.

The flavour of our 56% dark chocolate is well balanced, with minimum bitterness, it melts beautifully and cleanly in the mouth, revealing intense, bittersweet chocolate aromas.

Milk Couverture
Milk couverture is created with the addition of whole milk powder and more sugar than dark chocolate. The result is a paler, creamier and sweeter chocolate, with a less intense chocolate flavour than dark chocolate.

Our milk couverture chocolate contains 36% cocoa solids resulting in a creamy and sensationally smooth chocolate. A heavenly experience that is truly decadent.

White Couverture
Delightfully sweet and wonderfully creamy, white couverture contains 32% cocoa butter, sugar, whole milk powder, soy lecithin and natural vanilla, but none of the cocoa liquor found in milk and dark couverture chocolate. This creates a velvety smooth chocolate with a delicate vanilla flavour that is simply hard to resist.

Our white couverture chocolate is sweet and indulgent and will take you on a journey of pure delight.

 

Where is chocolate produced?

Chocolate begins with the cocoa tree, which can mainly be found in the tropical heat of the equatorial forest. Today most cocoa is grown in a narrow belt around the equator in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Just recently, cocoa plantations are being grown in Far North Queensland. This is the first time Australia has produced cocoa beans. More farms are being sourced to plant the cocoa tree so Australia’s capacity can increase.

 

How is chocolate produced?

Chocolate is produced from cocoa beans. Cocoa beans are hand extracted from large pods on the trunk of the Cocoa Tree. The beans are cleaned and then roasted to bring out the chocolate flavour and colour. The roasting process is varied depending on the type of beans used and the sort of product required.

The cocoa nibs are separated from the bean shell and are then milled to create cocoa liquor. The milling process varies based on the type of nib used and the product required.

At this stage, the types of cocoa beans which will be included in the blend are determined. Most manufacturers use a few types of cocoa bean in their blend to create a unique product. If a single origin chocolate is required then only cocoa beans of one region or farm will be included in the blend.

The cocoa liquor is pressed to extract the cocoa butter which is used to manufacture chocolate. The solid mass remaining from the pressed cocoa liquor is a cocoa presscake containing different proportions of fat, which is crushed into cocoa powder.

Different types of chocolate are then made with varying proportions of cocoa mass, cocoa butter and other ingredients such as sugar, milk and emulsifying agents combined together.

The chocolate mixture then goes through a series of processes to improve its texture and flavour. The first process is refining the chocolate by passing the mixture through rollers until a smooth paste is created. The second process is conching, which kneads the paste to develop its flavour. This can be varied depending on the speed, duration and temperate of the kneading and ensures the shine and snap of good quality couverture chocolate.

The mixture is then tempered to help prevent the “bloom” from developing. It is then poured into moulds and cooled to the ideal temperature.

The chocolate is then packaged and stored in a temperature controlled room to ensure it remains in prime condition.

Information adapted from the International Cocoa Organization

 

What is tempered chocolate?

Tempered chocolate is chocolate which has been heated and specially cooled so that it forms a precise crystal structure. It can be recognised by a glossy appearance and pleasing “snap” when broken or bitten into. Heating and cooling temperatures are determined by whether the chocolate is dark, milk or white. Our chocolatiers can temper chocolate by hand but for larger volumes we use small sophisticated machines imported from Italy.

 

Where does your chocolate come from?

Our chocolate is the finest quality couverture sourced from Belgium where the suppliers blend cocoa sourced from growers from around the world.

 

Do you intend to use Australian grown cocoa beans?

It is part of our business plan to source and process Australian cocoa beans within the next year to compliment the international supply from our creditable partners overseas. Our first supplies of couverture will arrive from North Queensland in late August 2014.

 

What does single origin mean?

Single origin chocolate is chocolate made from cocoa beans from one region, or even one farm. Chocolate experts believe that chocolate has varied tastes and such tastes dependent upon where it is grown and even the seasonal conditions of the year of harvest. When chocolate is made from cocoa beans from many different areas, taste distinction is more difficult to determine.

 

Do you have any single origin chocolates?

Yes, we have four single origin chocolates 74% Ghana, 74% Venezuela, 69% Madagascar, and 78% Tanzanian. Our single origin chocolates Venezuela and Tanzania are soy free. Our soon to be released 100% Australian couverture can also be classed as a single origin chocolate.

 

Do you have an organic range of chocolate?

Yes, we have an organic range of chocolates which are sourced from our Belgium suppliers. We make a beautiful 100 gram bar in our milk and dark chocolate. Shop now.

 

Is chocolate good for you?

Chocolate is full of antioxidants (polyphenols) which are the key ingredient in cocoa. Polyphenols act as antioxidants and protect healthy cells from being damaged.

Our premium chocolate contains Vitamins A, B1, C, D and E as well as iron, calcium, potassium and high levels of magnesium.

Chocolate releases “feel good” chemicals in the brain that make you feel happier and more relaxed.

 

Is chocolate an aphrodisiac?

It is plausible that chocolate contains a little love mojo: The neurotransmitters serotonin and anandamide both contribute to feelings of happiness and euphoria during romantic interactions is also found in chocolate.

 

Amazing Chocolate Facts
Which nations has the highest chocolate consumption per capita?

As at 2012, the Swiss were leading the way in chocolate consumption, eating their way through an average of 11.9kg of chocolate in 2012. That’s a whopping 119 of our 100gm chocolate bars per year per person!Following the Swiss are the Irish, eating an average of 9.9kg. Australian’s are placed 13th on the list, behind the Brits, Austrians, Belgians, Germans, Norwegians, Danes, French, Polish and Russians. We consumed an average of 5.9kg per capita in 2012. A meagre 59 of our 100gm chocolate bars per year, well at least compared to the Swiss!

Information adapted from Confectionary News – Which nations had the highest chocolate consumption per capita in 2012?

How many tonnes of cocoa beans are produced each year to meet global demand?

World production of cocoa beans rose from 3.2 million tonnes in the 2002/2003 season and was estimated 4 million tonnes in the 2011/2012 season according to the International Cocoa Organization. To meet increasing demands, it is estimated that an additional 1 million tonnes will need to be produced each year until the year 2020!
(04/12 Sydney University)

 

Venue
Where are you located?

Our address is 35 Old Healesville Road, Yarra Glen (on the corner of Melba Highway and Old Healesville Highway). We are just an hours’ drive from Melbourne.

 

When are you open?

We are open every day of the year (except Christmas Day) – 9am to 5pm

 

Is entry free?

Yes, entry is free and all visitors are welcomed with abundant free chocolate tastings.

 

How can I contact you?

Phone: (03) 9730 2777
Email: mail@yvci.com.au

 

What are the features of the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery?

Set on 16 hectares amongst one of Australia’s premium wine regions and surrounded by picturesque Yarra Valley vistas, an emerging orchard and sweeping lawns, our architect designed Chocolaterie is an experience the whole family can enjoy.

You can watch the art of chocolate making from handcrafting to handpacking and meet our European chocolatiers who will amaze you with their chocolate creations. There’s plenty of free chocolate and ice cream tastings in our stunning showroom and over 250 different chocolate varieties and chocolate inspired gifts to tempt you.

Stay a while and enjoy the peaceful Yarra Valley views in our Cafe. Breakfast, morning tea, light lunch or an afternoon treat – our menu features produce from our kitchen garden or sourced from nearby farms. And of course, decadent desserts, fondue, pastries and ice creams are our specialties.

When tastings are done, children are encouraged to roam and explore the Chocolaterie’s lawns, native gardens, orchard and developing wetlands conservation area on our beautiful property. And if you’d like to share the Chocolaterie experience with loved ones, we can arrange beautifully presented gift vouchers that can be redeemed for any of our chocolates, in the cafe or for our Junior Chocolatier classes.

 

Who makes your chocolate, ice creams and desserts?

Six qualified Chocolatiers from France and Belgium have been specially recruited to craft the exclusive chocolate product range, create ice creams and bake daily pastries and decadent desserts.

 

What chocolate products can I find in your showroom?

Our spectacular showroom boasts Australia’s largest truffle cabinet featuring 7,000 truffles. We have on display thousands of chocolate creations including nut clusters, pralines, chocolate bars, rocky road, nougat, macaroons, biscuits, chocolate sauces, spreads and more.

You can also find chocolate body products, from lip balm to body scrubs, to smother yourself in when eating chocolate just isn’t enough!

 

Can I purchase your products online?

Yes, we have a new online shop featuring a large selection of our beautiful products.

 

Do you have a cafe?

Yes, we have a café with outdoor deck and sweeping views across the picturesque Yarra Valley landscape with seating for 200 people. No bookings are required.

The delicious all day seasonal menu includes produce from our kitchen garden and local suppliers. We offer scrumptious savoury meals, decadent desserts, home made ice creams and pastries.

 

Are you licensed for alcohol consumption?

No, we are not licensed for alcohol consumption.

 

Functions
Can I book your venue for functions?

No, unfortunately we do not take bookings for functions. We pride ourselves on being open to the public at all times.

 

Birthdays
Can I book your venue for a birthday party?

Yes, we offer a Children’s Birthday Party Package which includes:

A reserved table for children with balloons
Your choice of meal and cake from two meal options and two cake options
Two party games held on the lawn (or games held at the table if raining) with a party host
– Each child will create their very own giant chocolate lollipop to take home!

The cost is $30 per child (ages 6-12 years).
Party sizes are between 8 and 16 children only.
Party bookings are available at 9:00am, 9:30am, 10:00am or 10:30am (subject to availability).
Minimum 7 days notice is required and 50% deposit payable on booking.
Balance payable on arrival.
To find out more you can download our Children’s Birthday Party Package
To make a booking, please call us on (03) 9730 2777 or email the Chocolaterie.

 

Can I book a Junior Chocolatier Class and Birthday Party?

Yes, we offer a Children’s Birthday Party Package which includes:

A reserved table for children with balloons
Your choice of meal and cake from two meal options and two cake options
Two party games held on the lawn (or games held at the table if raining) with a party host
Experience a hands on 45 minute class in a Parent Free Zone with our European Chocolatiers teaching the children to make your very own chocolate creations!
Each child receives a Chef’s Hat and Apron, Name Badge, Graduation Certificate and a colourful bag with three chocolate creations to take home

The cost is $60 per child (ages 6-12 years).
Party sizes are between 8 and 14 children only.
Party bookings are available at 9:00am, 9:30am, 10:00am or 10:30am (subject to availability).
Minimum 7 days notice is required and 50% deposit payable on booking. Balance payable on arrival.
To find out more you can download our Junior Chocolatier Class and Birthday Party Package
To make a booking, please call us on (03) 9730 2777 or email the Chocolaterie 

 

Online Bookings
Why can I see an extra $1.00 charge on my statement?

Our payment gateway will send over a request to your issuing bank for either a $0 or a $1 authorization to verify that the card is issued and the bank will allow it to be authorized. Regardless of whether or not the authorization is declined, our payment gateway reverses the authorization request immediately. However, even if the bank declines the authorization, some people may still see an authorization for $1 on their credit card statement. The important thing to remember is that this is not a charge, and it will disappear from your statement; depending on the bank, it will be removed from your statement in anywhere from a few minutes to a few weeks.

 

Group Bookings
Can I book a group visit to the Showroom and Cafe?

Yes, we accept group bookings to our Showroom and Café. We offer group packages for groups with a minimum of 10 people. Group packages are not available after 11am on weekends or Victorian public holidays.

To find out more you can download our Group Package brochure
To make a booking, please call us on (03) 9730 2777 or email the Chocolaterie.

Please note that we do not reserve tables for casual visitors as we have seating for 200 people in the café. 

 

Private Tastings
Can I book a Private Chocolate Tasting

Yes, we offer two options for a private chocolate tasting – click here

Private tastings are available Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm, and on Saturday if arrival by 11:30am, excluding Sundays, public holidays and school holidays, and subject to availability. To make a booking, please call us on (03) 9730 2777 or email the Chocolaterie.

 

Wedding Bonbonnieres and Gifts
Do you offer wedding bonbonnieres and gifts?

Yes, we offer a range of options to help make your special day memorable, including:

Wedding Truffles
To help make your special day memorable, create a gift with our delicious range of premium truffles.

Hand crafted for you to package personally or we have a variety of packaging options and ribbons to choose from. Choose your variety and flavour of chocolate, milk, dark or white from a selection of 36 truffles.

Specialty Chocolates
Our talented chocolatiers can make your favourite chocolates like rocky road, nougat, love hearts and lollipops to suit your special day.

For the Kids
Create a special treat for the kids table with a custom named giant freckle, choc babies or other chocolate delights.

Bridal Party Gifts
What a sweeter way to say thank you than with a custom made gift for your dream team.

Our friendly and experienced team at Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery can you help make your wedding day perfect.

We are happy to assist and suggest delectable options, or, just let us know what you envisage and we’ll make it come alive for you.

View our wedding ideas brochure here.

To enquire or place an order, please call us on (03) 9730 2777 or email the Chocolaterie.

 

Corporate/Wholesale Orders
Can I place a wholesale or corporate order?

Yes, if you are shopping for gifts on behalf of your organisation for a client, supplier, staff conference or for speaker gifts, we can personally assist you with your selection. Please call us on (03) 9730 2777 or email the Chocolaterie.

If your business is interested in selling our products and would like to enquire about placing a wholesale order, please call us on (03) 9730 2777 or email the Chocolaterie.

 

Conservation
What conservation initiatives are you undertaking?

We are creating an exciting new wetlands to conserve the natural wetlands environment on our property. The conservation initiative endorsed by Melbourne Water will completed by the end of 2014.

Over this period you will notice works occurring below our Orchard featuring 500 trees to create a fantastic habitat for flora and fauna with cleaner water to flow into Melbourne’s waterways.

It waterways will feature:

– Two billabongs
– Walkways, nature trails and seating
– Revegetation of 2,800 native plants and 650 aquatic plants
– A home for threatened fish species, turtles and frogs from neighbouring streams.

The wetlands will be a place that you can enjoy during your visit.

 

How can I help with the wetlands development?

We are seeking help to complete the planting of the waterways. If you are a community, school or scout group interested in participating in our designated planting days, please call on (03) 9730 2777 or <ahref=”mailto:mail@yvci.com.au”>email the Chocolaterie.