Melba’s Chocolates was started by Graeme and Joy Foristal in March 1981 in a small wash house behind their Adelaide restaurant, ‘Melba’s’! The business progressed in varying stages and with the restaurant sale, was relocated to a single car garage behind their Oakbank home in the Adelaide Hills.
In June 1990 the Adelaide Convention Centre asked Melba’s to supply their after dinner chocolates. Larger premises were required. This coincided with Graeme’s attendance at an Adelaide Confectionery Company’s liquidation sale where he purchased 5 truck loads of equipment. Little did they know that this was the lead up to Melba’s becoming significant chocolate & confectionery makers and a South Australian tourist attraction.
July 1st 1990 Melba’s transferred to the historic Woodside Farmers Union Factory site, in Woodside which had closed in 1977 and been left to languish. Melba’s took over the former cheese factory building. The mammoth task of cleaning the old site commenced. Fourteen years of abandonment and neglect were washed away – Stage 1 of Heritage Park had commenced.
Historically, Melba’s operated old heritage chocolate and confectionery making machinery and this continues today allowing visitors to experience the old arts and techniques.
Stage 2 of Heritage Park commenced in 1991, taking in the former small goods buildings. Burnt out shells were repaired, floors and walls rebuilt and the buildings divided into separate tenancies, where small manufacturers and crafts people set up work/display areas.
A three bedroom residence was built in 1991 on the upper floor of the Chocolate Factory, the former testing laboratory, milk receiving depot and can storage area.
Today, the Melba’s Chocolate Factory boasts five production rooms, and is home to iconic SA products like Traffic Lights, Inch Licorice and an assortment of chocolate and confectionery sweets.
Located in Woodside, in the Adelaide Hills, Melba’s offers tourists an exciting opportunity to discover old-Australian lollies and chocolates.