About us - The Story of Tocumwal Chocolate School
Hi, we are Wendy and Martin Alford and we would love to fill you in about us. Many of our students and residential guest are curious as to how we become the proud owners of Tocumwal Chocolate School so we would like to share our story with you…
Martin and I had connections to Tocumwal. We were married in the town 29 years ago and celebrated our wedding with a reception at the Heritage Centre on the Newell Highway, which is now unfortunately no longer in operation.
Following the passing of my father, we built a cottage for my mother in the area, and he is now interred in the Tocumwal cemetery. Given these ties, we made the decision to relocate to Tocumwal from Melbourne for our big tree change.
After many long discussions with me talking and Martin listening, I knew I wanted to explore all the knowledge and experience gained through my years working with chocolate and food, to open and operate my own business, specifically a chocolate shop. But as it goes with plans it didn’t quite work out that way.
We searched for the ideal property for the shop, exploring various options including houses and existing businesses. However, it wasn’t until we came across this block of land that we truly felt a connection. Despite its challenges, we felt that this was the right fit for us.
We rented in Numurkah while finalizing our plans.
During the design process for the new house, as we sought to solidify our vision for the business, it became apparent that accommodation was needed for people from all over to attend classes, stay in residence, and fully immerse themselves in the experience we aimed to provide. With this “lightbulb moment,” the business transformed into a school and residence.
After several setbacks (Covid) construction began in February 2022, we laid the foundation slab. We are off and running.
For those of you that have had the joy of building, you understand the myriad of decisions that need to be made. I had the pleasure of working with my husband and many excellent trades as the project manager. I enjoyed the many challenges and watching my many visions of the
spaces within the school, residence and our home come to fruition.
So now here we are. Today we are running classes and welcoming residential guests. Martin has a big job in getting the outside areas irrigated and ready for plants and grass after the flood waters have receded. He is working hard on refurbishing the peddle boat and getting the area at the lagoon ready for glamping.
So still many challenges ahead but we are thoroughly enjoying the process.
- Handcrafted chocolates with traditional techniques.
- Diverse chocolate flavours, including vegan and gluten-free options.
- Interactive chocolate-making classes for individuals and groups.
- Learn about the rich history of chocolate.
- Indulge in chocolate in a charming Murray River town.
- Luxurious on-site accommodations for an immersive chocolate experience.
- Explore natural attractions nearby, like the golf course and park.
- Discover the diverse range of local produce and products.
- Personalized chocolate designs and hampers for gifts.
- Friendly and knowledgeable staff passionate about chocolate
"Embark on a Journey of Ethical Chocolate Bliss!"
Discover the fascinating world of ethical and sustainable chocolate with our exclusive guide. Delve into the delicious journey of guilt-free indulgence as you learn about the sourcing, production, and mindful consumption of chocolate. Led by our seasoned expert with over 15 years of experience, this guide empowers you to make conscious choices that not only satisfy your taste buds but also contribute to a better world. Don’t miss out on this enlightening resource