There are moments in life when things just fall spectacularly into place, and you feel all parts of the universe aligning, our visit to The House of Anvers was one of those times. One of the goals of our Australian travels is to uncover the hidden gems of the country, and our visit to Anvers is truly one I don’t think I’ll forget. The people, the atmosphere, the story and the must-taste product produced with so much love, by hand, on premises, all combine to form a magical world of chocolate.
Todd, the National Marketing Manager is one of the people who help to make Anvers the company that it is, and is one of the most lovely people I think I’ve met! When we arrived, Todd was accompanied by 2 lovely ladies, Margaret and Virginia, customers of Anvers who had won the opportunity to make their own chocolate! It turned out that Margaret and Virginia were also some of the most lovely people you could possibly meet, and we chatted for quite a while about Anvers, and the world of home education for children, as both ladies had educated their own children via homeschool. It’s always nice to meet others who understand that real world education on the road can be a wonderful experience for travelling families.
Chatting aside, there was an entire world of chocolate awaiting us, and the kids tested a variety of fudges on offer, before Todd took us for a tour of the facility and explained the history of Anvers to us. After hearing the journey of Igor Van Gerwen, the founder of Anvers we realised that with the love and passion he has for his product, he may just be Australia’s most passionate chocolatier.
Igor developed a passion for chocolate as a young man in Belguim, training initially for six years, and then further continuing his education, Igor trained under some of the world’s greatest chocolatiers giving him a wonderful foundation for creating his very own Australian chocolate factory, which began in 1989. Today, the factory sits amidst 1.2 hectares of luscious vegetation, and boasts a small museum, viewing deck to watch the chocolate production, store complete with free tastings, and a spectacular cafe full of delicious local inspired cuisine.
The amazing thing about the chocolate making process at Anvers is truly with it’s hand-made focus and philosophies. Igor’s passion for chocolate, and traditional methods mean that the chocolate making process remains in balance with traditional techniques, with everything from the creation of the chocolate to the packaging being done on site, by locally employed people, using a majority of local produce. Having been in small business ourselves, I always love it when I hear success stories of people creating sustainable businesses that enhance the local region. You can hear Igor and see some of the processes in this great video:
As someone who is very fair-trade and environmentally concious, I was really excited to discover that Igor holds the Australian distribution rights to the worlds rarest chocolate, that was brought back from extinction! Fortunato No.4 chocolate is made from Nacional Cacao a plant that was thought to have disappeared 100 years ago, until it was found by chance in Peru. Through management and planning a crop has been developed into a commercial size that gives farmers and workers an opportunity at ethical pay rates and work conditions, while providing a premium, one-of-a-kind, pure chocolate to a growing number of customers worldwide through special licensing.
Of course, the most fun part of visiting House of Anvers is the taste testing, and buying up lots of goodies while there. We grabbed a few gifts for friends and family back home, the main problem being we’ve already eaten half of them! Come along if you’re in Tassie and taste some of the mouth watering chocolate treats, superb truffles, or grab a bite to eat from the cafe, you definitely won’t be disappointed. The kids will enjoy roaming the gorgeous, tree-filled spaces too.
The most single, outstanding thing about this wonderful business is the love and passion behind the product. The chocolate here is amazing, and while the taste and quality speak for themselves, it’s the family and story behind the chocolate that truly make it something special. You can order House of Anvers Chocolates Online, and we can definitely guarantee you won’t be disappointed!