As we approached the White Swan Hotel I remembered reading something about it a few years earlier and popped in to take a look. This old railway building, built in 1905, from Lower Hutt had been cut up and hauled in pieces over the Rimutaka Hills in 2002 and 2003. It became quite a legend when one of the large parts nearly slid all the way off the truck bed that was carrying it when it failed to properly negotiate a tricky part of the steep road. It was saved and eventually reunited with its other parts and became the beautiful hotel visitors see today.
Next up was the “skyscraper sized” Samuel Oates Gum Tree. Planted in 1856 this giant gum tree was still thriving, and the pride of the local tree lover’s. We gaped at this wonder of nature, shot photos, then moved on. My favorite part was admiring, and photographing the cottages and villas that few places on the planet can rival for well-tended gardens and want-to-make-it-your-home kind of attraction. I could have moved right in to any number of them they were so drop-dead cute!
Onward we walked until we reached Cobblestones Museum, a collection of old houses and buildings from Greytown’s and the Wairarapa’s past. Run entirely by volunteers, we came upon an old woman struggling to put up the flag at opening time. I helped her get the unwieldy banner a flying and after being thanked profusely, headed a few more steps for Shoc Choc. The nice young lady was still in the process of opening, but when she saw us we were welcomed in. At first it looked like many chocolate shops I’ve seen around the world except I noted some twenty five types of bars with interesting flavor combinations like: carrot and coriander, apricot and rosemary, Frankincense Myrrh and Gold, to name a few. I was skeptical to say the least, but when the shopkeeper said I could try any of them I jumped on the chance. Some were too weird and it being just after ten in the morning it didn’t help, but others were unique and very tasty.
I tasted several varieties as the shopkeeper told me about the owner and how this former restaurateur, turned hypnotherapist used chocolate to observe his clients to deduce their problems. He eventually opened Shoc Choc and followed the sticky path to success. His chocolates were most creative, while maintaining good flavor, and with the ability to taste most of the wares they had me hooked. They also have eleven “single origin” bars! I wish I could have tasted all of them, but alas there wasn’t the time or stomach space to do so. I purchased two flavored bars, one single origin, and a few truffles then bid Shoc Choc a sad farewell. We left Greytown satiated and educated.
The moral to this story is, “Never judge a chocolate shop by its odd name until you have tasted the goods.” If you go to this part of New Zealand be sure and try out Shoc Choc in either Greytown or Wellington, and please bring me back a bar of Madagascar single origin.