Sunday, 8 November 2015

Hope, Charity... and chocolate

This post, following on from our Alowyn Gardens visit, is a little later than promised, I’m sorry.  Christmas market season is upon me once again, and I’m swamped :)

I’m not ashamed to say that, one of my favourite films is Chocolat.

I mean, tantalising images of fine couverture chocolate and a charming French village, a wonderful cast including beautiful Binoche (in those red heels!), delightful Dench, marvellous Molina, cute Caron and generous doses of a pony-tailed, gypsy style Johnny Depp…. what’s not to like?
And if it’s just me, well, let’s just leave it at that.

Chocolate has been my weakness for as long as I can remember ~ and that’s a looong time ;)
So, seeing as we were literally next door at the gardens, we thought, why not drop in to the Yarra Valley Chocolate Factory afterwards?
But then, who really needs an excuse, right?  Anytime is chocolate time.

When we turned in the driveway and parked the car, we noticed something quite unusual – a kaleidoscope of giant jumping kangaroos in all colours of the rainbow bounding on the grassy banks, with the magnificent Yarra Valley as a back drop.

What a view for a roo or two!

Investigating further, we found that this outdoor sculptural display was called, hopforhope, a collaborative art exhibition raising funds to keep children safe from violence and bullying.  A cause that’s close to my heart.

The Alannah and Madeline Foundation has, to date, supported 1.5 million children and their families impacted by violence.  More information can be found here

The incredible, larger than life sized, kangaroos were painted/decorated by Australian artists and identities – one of them, a beautiful young lady aged eight years old, and already, an inspirational artist! 

Each roo will be auctioned off to the public and the funds will go to the Foundation. 

Winning bidders get to take their chosen roo home.
Imagine having one placed among tall grasses in an Australian native garden.

Quite a statement and conversation piece it would make.

 We marvelled at the many multi-coloured marsupials.

Look closely, and you can see a wee joey between the silvered arms of this beauty.

The public can vote for their favourite by dropping a gold coin donation in a box representing each roo.

This one below, painted by Michael Leunig, was very popular.

Leunig is an iconic Aussie cartoonist, writer, painter, philosopher, poet and cultural commentator, whose simple yet clever illustrations have captured many hearts and minds for over forty years.

After some deliberation, I found myself being drawn back time and again to this one.


Named, ‘Steampunkdaroo’, it was created by clever Melbourne artist, Joe Blanck.

This stunning rustic roo comes complete with its own “working” gauges and barometers.
If I won Lotto, it would have been my choice to bid on.
A unique sculpture, supporting a worthy cause, and installed in a natural garden setting.  Sigh, one can dream…

All that “serious” contemplation made us hungry, so we headed up to the Chocolaterie. 


Therein was a wonderland of temptation to suit all tastes.

The range was impressive – over 250 quality, luscious products!
White chocolate. Dark chocolate. Milk chocolate.
Plain or mixed with fruit or nuts, sourced from their own organic gardens.

Truffles and sauces and pralines, oh my! 


Through the large viewing windows, you can watch chocolatiers at work.

Not quite Oompa-Loompas, but experts nevertheless. I think Mr Wonka would be very pleased :)

As it was a hot day, any chocolate would have melted in the car on the way home, so we opted for a scoop of icecream.
There was a delicious array of choices. From rich, velvety, creamy concoctions to gorgeous dairy-free gelatos.

 Heaven in a cone...


So ended a wonderful day where all of our senses were treated and sated.

Next post – another trip down memory lane...


  1. "Chocolat" is one of my favorite movies, too. I have to be careful when I watch it, though...if there's any chocolate in the house I will eat it. All of it, no matter how much. I think chocolate is my biggest weakness, lol. Uh oh. Now I'm craving it again...and there's quite a bit of Halloween candy left. Drat!

    Those are wonderful roos, and I hope they raise an enormous amount of money to help protect children.

    Sending you lots of good wishes for your Christmas markets and hoping that they're all very successful for you, dear friend.



    1. Oh, so glad that I'm not alone there. I've seen the movie more times than I can count, really. And yes, each time, I too crave chocolate. I must haaaave it :)

      Many of the roos have sold at approx' $3,000 each. A very worthy way to help children in peril. I just wish it didn't have to be.

      Thank you for your very welcome market wishes, Victoria.

  2. HopeForHope is brilliant. I hope it does exceedingly well, and surpasses all expectations.
    I loved the winged kangaroobie - but suspect I would find it hard to decide.
    And chocolate? Some of the best things in life are chocolate.
    Pace yourself as much as you can in this busy season.

    1. I hope so too. Many roos have been sold, so that's very heartening.
      The mossy, winged fairy-roo is gorgeous. So many lovely ones to choose, from talented creators.

      Life really would be extremely dull without chocolate to brighten the spirit, I think.
      The finest ambrosia it is.

      With a month to go before the "big one", I'm trying not to get overwhelmed, but resistance to the feeling is futile, the closer that date comes...

      Thank you EC :)

  3. OMG, those Chocolates!!!
    I have seen Chocolat I think five times, maybe six.... love it every time!
    We have a cow parade over here,many towns do them, our town did one with local artists as a fundraiser, but the roos are much more fun, I think.

    1. So glad to find yet another Chocolat aficionado. Such a sweet film, in every way :)
      It was a surprise, and a lot of fun, to see these colourfully dressed huge roos.
      I wonder whose homes they've gone to, or whether some have been donated elsewhere. I must look it up...

  4. Delightful and delicious outing!!!!!!

    Those rues are amazing!

    We have uniquely painted horses, in our "horse" town. Here and there. They have not been sold for a cause. That is a lovely idea.

    Gentle hugs,

    1. They are truly amazing.
      Aussies are always up for creating and donating for a cause, and this was such a wonderful one in every way.

  5. i love chocolat! especially when she re-does the shoppe... and the birthday party... and then the ending... a movie to watch over and over.
    and what a neat idea for charity! and a wonderful way to cast your vote too. all those beautiful and beautifully balanced kangaroos!

    they did the same thing with bisons all over oklahoma city. there are 'buffalos' standing around in the most unexpected places. they're life sized too.
    and decorated. some are really wild.
    i just love australia. you take us to such neat places! it's like a little mini vacation! oops... i mean holiday!

    1. Happy to know I'm not alone in loving this movie. And, I had an inkling you liked it too :)

      Giant bison! Sounds amazing. I saw a documentary on how they were all but nearly wiped out.
      Such lovely large, unique creatures.
      I hope their numbers are increasing and they are protected now.

  6. Oh my! The chocolates have my mouth watering. and I can't satisfy it, there is no chocolate in my house right now.
    The ice cream looks delicious too.
    Hop for hope, what a great idea! I know which roo I'd buy too. The steampunk one of course. Second choice would be that brightly coloured on in the first photo.

    1. Those choccies look delicious don't they?
      I like the colourful roo in the first photo too.
      They look even more beautiful in person. I hope their new owners love them.

  7. Oh, I love that film too!! And LOVE those colorful sculptures...Wow... and for such beautiful benefit. :) Chocolte and roos... a wonderful combo! Looking forward to what you have coming up next... ((LOVE & HUGS))

    1. It was a good experience all 'round for sure :)
      And, chocolate makes everything better... well, almost.

  8. Chocolate (and Chocolat)---and Kangaroos---oh my! Lovely, fun and a feast (a visual delight) for the heart and soul and body... also read the previous post on the visit to the lovely gardens, Alowyn. I am sitting in the breakfast nook looking out at the rain. The much appreciated and desperately in need of rain. Reading your post and seeing the kangaroos, wonders in themselves makes me very thankful that I could visit with you, a bit of sunshine, Vicki. It balances my day...

    1. Glad you enjoyed your visit Down Under, Charlene.
      Kangaroos - real and sculptural, are truly delightful!
      And chocolate, well, a tonic at any time :)

      Sending wishes for more life sustaining rain your way, Charlene.

  9. I have that movie on DVD but it's been a while since I've seen it. Although I loved it enough to buy it.
    Strange but the first thought about that movie wasn't the chocolate, although I do adore it and I need a taste of it at least daily.
    But rather my first thought was of the wind in the movie.
    That's what really got to me. The wind.
    Yep, I can be a strange one!

    Love the Kangaroos.
    I, without a doubt, would want the mossy one with wings.

    I wish the best ever yet Christmas Market for you!
    Can't wait to see some your creations.
    Please make sure to get rest and don't get sick!
    Sorry that I and Blue worried you, that's the last thing you should be thinking about at this hectic time!
    But know how much it meant to me, to know I have you out there sending healing energy to my Blue!

    1. Me too! I loved the magical use of the "clever" North wind. Gave the movie an almost supernatural edge to it.
      I love the image of Vianne, standing at the edge of the wooden boat jetty, as the wind tugged at her and whispered to her very soul... Sigh. Gorgeous.

      The mossy fairy-roo was delightful. I think she'd look lovely at your place. Although, I think your fur crew would go out of their minds wondering what this strange creature was, lol.

      And, don't apologise for including we who love you and big, beautiful Blue, and your fur crew, in your life. The highs, and the lows, bring us closer together.
      Sending out wishes to the Universe to keep Blue safe was all I could do - being so far away. Wish that I could do more at such times.
      Sharing helps to get us through.


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