Willunga can be a sleepy town at times, but within recent months there has been a burst of sweet life. this life is in the form of a dreamy little shop, with pinstriped awnings and pastel blue walls that smells of brioche and sugary delights.
and this beautiful little gem is called Four Winds Chocolate
a pipe dream of Wendy Ashwin’s turned reality, this frenchy-feel patisserie come chocolate shop has been in the making for a while now. it began with a “christmas cookie” that Wendy made for her daughter Ellen, family and friends at Christmas time. the cookie was so popular that she had requests to make it other times of the year- and it now sits on their window ledge labelled the “chocolate macadamia biscuit”. from cookies to chocolates, years were spent at the markets in Victor Harbor, selling her gorgeous treats to locals and visitors in the popular tourist town. she then decided to make the huge, but exciting leap, to set up shop in Willunga. found nestled next to The Golden Fleece, the shop sits in the grounds of a old gas station from many moons ago. you wouldn’t have ever picked it with the garden that surrounds this little wonder: filled with wild lavender, daisy’s and roses- it’s a dream of a setting for this chocolate store.
as it’s traditional white sliding glass windows open in the morning baskets of fresh chocolate and rhubarb brioche are put on display, with a variety of eclairs, cookies, doughnuts and other sweet treats. wander inside and the sugar trail continues. you’ll find little white shelves topped with handmade chocolate slabs with hunks of honey comb and dried fruit (perfect for a platter or a naughty treat).
in the glass cabinetry you will find yourself stunned at the artwork of chocolate that is for purchase. you can see the hours of work and passion that Wendy puts into her products, there is not a imperfection on one thing that sits proudly behind the glass. there’s a rainbow of chocolates in different flavours and shapes, from those dusted with gold powder to those resembling bee hives and coloured marbles.
as a fellow chocolate-addict, Wendy, her daughter Ellen and I chatted all things sweets as the locals, regulars and market goers wandered into the store to snap themselves up a treat or two. as I picked out a handful of chocolates I was told about how Wendy tries to source her ingredients locally which I just love. the limes are from her own backyard, the almonds are from Willunga as is the olive oil and the lemons used in the Lemon Verbena chocolates are from a cutting of a lemon tree that stood in her mothers backyard.
the flavours of these beauties are out of this world and not your typical chocolate store variety. think combinations of olive oil, cardamon + lime and mango and balasmic- one word. extrodinary. with over 20 flavours these little shapes of deliciousness are the perfect gift for a loved one or yourself- or in my case, both. if your giving as a gift then they have cute little boxes to out these babies in, tied up with ribbon donned with stunning typography by Emma of emmakateco. my personal little chocolates are the salted caramel truffle, honey grappa and rum & raisin.
as well as stunning chocolates, you will find that Wendy is the queen of eclairs- and on today’s occasion her coffee ones were on the menu. topped with gold leaves, sparkly balls and sticky chocolate goodness on top this eclair was hoovered in a matter of minutes. the coffee flavour was sensational and it was something that I could image coming out of the finest of patisseries in France. Four Winds Chocolate is also known for their crunchy topped and super creamy middled macarons in every delicious flavour you could imagine. the stores best selling one is salted caramel and there is no questioning why.
for the future Wendy has grand plans of a commercial kitchen which is currently in the works in her shed at the rear of the family home, with the possibility of a cafe down the track. but in the mean time she will keep doing what she does so incredibly well- spreading love through chocolate and fine patisseries every saturday in Willunga.
you can visit Four Winds Chocolate at 30 High Street, Willunga.