For weeks, I’d seen photos of Four Winds Chocolate goodies popping up on my Instagram feed, and promised myself over rumbling tummy and delightful thoughts that I would make it in there at some stage- after soaking up the Willunga Farmer’s market (by the way, completely recommend!) on Saturday, that stage had come.
Pure sweetness is apparent from the second that Four Winds’ little window display catches your eye. The outer shell of the shop is washed in baby blue, and the awning is charmingly pinstriped in red and white- the whole effect is quite Parisian, and though owner and “chocolate melter and creator” Wendy Ashwin insists with a laugh that is wasn’t intentional, the demure store’s interior rings true in the same fashion. Though I haven’t been to France (yet), I imagine that Four Winds Chocolate would fit in perfectly on a street full of bustling patisseries and chocolatiers.
The tiny store is bursting with love, which you will notice as you take in the little touches that have been lovingly dotted around the room. Samples galore ensure that you try everything that interests you, so that you can know that you love it before you purchase. The sweet pastry and dessert fringe is full of goodies that honestly look impossibly delicious- from mountains of crunchy, gooey chocolate brownies to beautiful, sugar dusted doughnuts filled with a range of rich and luscious pipings.
The fresh flowers and handwritten “love is a chocolate brioche” sign above self-serve chocolate and rhubarb-strawberry sweet bread buns do not go unnoticed either- they paint a striking picture of the laid-back, handcrafted nature of a prettily polished space. Speaking of pictures, those on the wall of Babar have been curated by Wendy, who has been collecting them for as long as she can remember. They again add to the French touch, and make anyone who enjoyed the books as a child feel completely at home.
As I furrow my brow, chew my lip and get down to the very important task of choosing what to try from the fresh chocolate fridge, I get to quizzing Wendy on the origins of her blossoming business.
She’s been making chocolate for a decade, she tells me as I nibble on a hazelnut praline sample. She’s been taking her goodies to the markets for six years, and when she tried to break into the Willunga Farmer’s Market unsuccessfully she did what any passionate life enthusiast would do and promptly opened up her own shop a hundred meters up the road.
“It’s important to me that people know that everything here is handcrafted”, she tells me earnestly over a colorful assortment of macrons. “We’re something different from every other place around Adelaide- quality products, full of passion and never, ever mass-produced.” Four Winds prides themselves on their freshness, too- a slice of which luster through in the locally sourced-products used wherever available. “Oh yes, our almonds are all local- our honey as well, it’s sourced from Bruce Gilbert and it’s absolutely delicious!”. She’s not wrong.
All of the chocolate has a week’s turnaround date- another positive of working with small batch quantities. This is important so that each of the flavor elements shine in the subtly that they should. It also means that preservatives are off the menu, which is so very important when yearning for true flavor representation.
You can pick up Four Winds goodies at a few other sweet artisanal stores around the peninsula, but for the true experience I suggest you find your way down to High Street, Willunga one Saturday or Sunday, order a flat white from Golden Fleece Café right next door and let your mind (and your tastebuds) soak up all that Four Winds Chocolate has to offer- I like to pretend I’m on rue Cler, watching local Parisians chatting and laughing and picking the most wonderful flowers, food and wine that the market has to offer.
Mango & Balsamic
This baby is stunning. A gorgeous dome of bright orange, splattered with black, it’s a perfect representation of what’s inside. The first rush of flavour to hit you will be a burst of sweet balsamic, just acidic enough for your eyes to widen and your heart to skip a beat. This zing is rounded out with notes of fresh, juicy mango- gentle enough to make you close those widened eyes and breathe a contented sigh.
Passionfruit & Coconut Truffle
Warmth, musk and sweetness will envelop your mouth as you savour this rough white truffle. A hint of nuttiness faintly lingers after you’ve finished, and it will make you second-guess the taste that you’ve just experienced in the most delightful way.
Olive Oil, Cardamon & Lime
As interesting as it sounds, this sweet little square topped with a delicate leaf garnish is sweet as can be, and pleasantly zesty as well. The white chocolate and lime ganache is vibrant, the dark chocolate olive oil and cardamon ganache ever so slightly savoury, and the pure dark chocolate it’s enrobed in a rich and sweet tie-together that really, really works.
Raspberry & Lychee
Another colourful dome, the crisp outer chocolate shell of this sweet treat gives way to a smooth, mild flavour. Perfect for an after dinner treat, the raspberry and lychee’s slight touch amongst white couverture ensures that the chocolate itself is the hero of the moment.