Spring has sprung

Spring has sprung
Roses at the Cottage

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

this one is for chocoholics

Church Street hosts two very important shops if you are a chocoholic. It may come as a surprise but for someone who loves food I can take or leave a chocolate! But for those that do love chocolate you will find The Richmond Chocolate Factory Outlet just around the corner at 133 Church Street (near the corner of Highett Street) It's the outlet for Ernest Hillier and Newmans Chocolates. 
You can't miss it!
The history of Hilliers is interesting. Ernest Hillier was Australia's first chocolate maker and he began making chocolates in 1914 - a cause for a centenary celebration!  I didn't grow up in Melbourne but for those who did one of the highlights of a visit to the city (a big thing in the old days!) was to have a hot chocolate, or a chocolate sundae at Hilliers, their famous old Collins Street store in the Regent Theatre. And if my memory serves me correctly (!) you could buy a yard (for those modern guests - about a metre!) of Newmans chocolates (in a long red box - I think!!) 
A reminder of the past
A feast for the eyes and tastebuds!
All wrapped up for Christmas
What a choice! Fill your own bon bons, bowls or even your mouth!!
There is also a cafe - so stop by for a piece of chocolate heaven. Or pop next door for a coffee at yet another new cafe.

Boutique chocolatiers are all the rage at the moment - from Koko Black Salons (don't you love the addition of salon!) - they have a lovely one in the Royal Arcade in the city. And now there is Pana Chocolate at 491 Church Street (between Swan Street and the Yarra River). Their chocolate is raw, organic and homemade! The first time I noticed it I was driving past and wondered what the crowd in the street were looking at. Well it seems they were drooling at the window watching chocolate creations being made. It sparked my interest as well. So back I went a few days later to see for myself. Unfortunately although their neon sign was telling me that they were Now Making there was not a soul in sight. I popped inside. Still no-one - they must have been busy making out the back. But here is a view of their selection. 
Now making - the lights were on but there was no-one home!
An elegant selection
If you can't get enough of chocolates then of course you should visit one of the Adelaide owned Haigh's Chocolate shops (see my post on their shop in the beautiful Block Arcade here). Haigh's began in 1915 (just after Hillier!) and is Australia's oldest family owned chocolate maker. Still needing more? Then why not take an ever popular Chocoholics Tour (see link here) For a sweet tooth the possibilities are endless!
A bedside welcome at the Cottage
Bowen Cottage client comment: I always look forward to the welcome Ferrero Rocher on the bedside table. It's such a great welcome.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

A model Tudor Village

As I am writing this on Remembrance Day 11/11/14 it seems appropriate that I mention the Model Tudor Village which you will find in my favourite Fitzroy Gardens just a 10 minute walk from the Cottage en route to the city. You will find it next to the Pavillion Cafe (the signs will point you in the right direction). 
A little peoples village
It was presented to the "City of Melbourne by the city of Lambeth, England in appreciation of gifts of food dispatched from Victoria to England during the food shortages following World War 2". 
The Pavillion Cafe is on the left and the fairy tree on the right

It's right next to the Fairy Tree (see earlier post here) which is rather sweet so it's a great combination if you happen to have children with you (or you could bring your inner child) and then have a coffee or even a tipple at the cafe!!
Detail from the Fairy Tree  

Carved by Ola Cohn 1931 - 1934 - it is marvellous.
"I have carved in a tree in the Fitzroy Gardens for you, and the fairies, but mostly for the fairies and those who believe in them, for they will understand how necessary it is to have a fairy sanctuary - a place that is sacred and safe as a home should be to all living creatures."

Of course a visit to the Fitzroy Gardens must include a visit to the Conservatory (not far from the Pavillion, the Fairy Tree and the Tudor Village). It's always a joy to behold. (see earlier post here)
Sooooo beautiful
Such a pleasant walk through East Melbourne to the beautiful Fitzroy Gardens - it will take you to another world - and it's so good for the soul.

Bowen Cottage client comment: We don't want to leave

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Stork nests in downtown Richmond!

Driving along Swan Street - between Hisense and Rod Laver Arenas which are part of the Australian Open Tennis courts (you can book a game of tennis on the famed outside courts) I was greeted by what looked like red stork nests. But of course they aren't! This marvellous 'stand' of extraordinary plants look like they have just popped out of the ground. 
A stand of stork nests!
They remind me of the extraordinary stork nests I have seen particularly in the Middle East including Egypt, Jordon and Morocco.I think they are amazing.
The real thing! (naturephotoblog.com)

Sprouting - Hisense Arena in the background
You will find them opposite the 1956 Olympic Swimming Stadium which is now the home of .... aaagh ... the Collingwood Football Club. 

The old 1956 Olympic Swimming Stadium - you can see the tiered seating design
In any event if you happen to be passing or visiting the sports precinct - which also includes the marvellous AAMI Park Stadium (see earlier post here) which looks like a caterpillar to me and a witchety grub to others - you can't miss them. 
The AAMI caterpillar or witchety grub lit up
They're are pretty striking and rather fun. Standing tall they have just popped up in the last few weeks. I don't know how long they will last before they wither and die but they make an impressive sight. I wish I knew what they were called - do you?
Walk between the stork nests (!) to Rod Laver Arena - the city in the distance