Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Trip to McLaren Vale

Merkel and Myrtle headed for McLaren Vale on a day that was to be set aside for sampling a hot chocolate or two. Unfortunately the temperature reached the old 100-degree Fahrenheit mark so it was not ideal weather for hot chocolates. In any case Merkel was not to be deterred.

Tin Shed Café
This Café boasted about its achievements in coffee making and barista skills. There was a variety of drinks listed under the title "Hot and Iced" on the blackboard. These included Choc Mint, Vanilla, Caramel and Butterscotch. Merkel asked for the Toblerone hot chocolate for $5.50. There were also liqueur hot chocolates available. These were a "Cloud Nine" and a liqueur mint hot chocolate. The waitress could not explain what the "Cloud Nine" hot chocolate was. The café was consistent with its "Tin" shed title. There was a corrugated iron theme through the café and the air conditioning was struggling to maintain a reasonable temperature.

The drink was light brown and came in a tall glass with a good froth. Merkel had a short spoon for his tall glass and Myrtle had a long spoon for her cup, but that was not the first surprise. Ugh, it was coffee! Apparently the Tin Shed Café does both hot chocolate and coffee in the gourmet flavours but for some reason today they provided Merkel a coffee. The drink Merkel had did not remotely taste like Toblerone. Perhaps it was sweetened with honey, but Merkel is not a coffee drinker.

Touring the District
In search of some chocolate flavour, Merkel and Myrtle walked down the main road to Medlow's Confectionary. Medlow took over the famous Robern Menz chocolate confectioners who were well known for the manufacture of Fruchocs. Medlow's provided a Fruchoc sample as soon as we entered the shop and there were plenty of chocolate treats available for purchase.

Artel Gallery & Giftware had some great local artists and fine crafts but Merkel purchased a packet of Mahalia lush drinking chocolate which is packaged in Robe, South Australia. Merkel and Mytle then proceed to the Almond Train, a restored railway carriage, only to find the same drinking chocolate was available there at less cost. The Almond train had free samples of almonds and other local produce.

Bracegirdles, McLaren Vale
Having visited Bracegirdles at Glenelg and at Toorak Gardens, Merkel was keen to try the third Bracegirdles shop located in McLaren Vale. Bracegirdles in McLaren Vale shares accommodation with the Oxenberry cellar door wine sales. This is quite a good cohabitation, as patrons can taste some good wines and enjoy some chocolate treats at the same time.

The shop was well air conditioned but still the iced chocolate was the logical beverage for the hot day. The iced chocolate came in a large glass topped with vanilla ice cream and chocolate dripped on top which solidified on the ice cream to make a hard chocolate covering on top. The drink did not have the variation in colouring that the Billy Baxter's or Duthy Street Deli had but still looked good on a hot day. The distinctive Belgian chocolate taste did not work as well for iced chocolate as it did for hot chocolate. It was a big drink and good to drink slowly on a warm day. The iced chocolate cost $6.00 but did not measure up to Bracegirdle's high standards for its other fare.

There was plenty left to discover in McLaren Vale. This is a fine place to visit for chocolate and wine lovers. Merkel will return, hopefully in more temperate weather.

No comments:

Post a Comment