Tell us about the founder’s background and what led him to become a producer on the Central Coast
Andrew, founder of The Chocolate and Nougat Factory Gosford, was passionate about fine chocolate from a young age. He became Bon Bon Fine Chocolate’s store manager in Double Bay in the late 1990s. Dedicated to showcasing Bon Bon and making it an iconic brand, Andrew headed up the opening of new retail stores in Sydney’s Queen Victoria Building and Strand Arcade.
Sister businesses Nougat Limar and The Sydney Marshmallow Company were already manufacturing in Gosford on the Central Coast. Their ultra-modern facility boasted over 2,000 square metres of space. In 2015, Bon Bon Fine Chocolate relocated to the Central Coast, bringing this delicious trio of brands together.
The business grew, and before long, it became known as “The Factory” by the locals. Andrew was inspired to expand further with a rustic retail shop and café alongside the production facility. “The Chocolate & Nougat Factory Gosford” officially opened to the public in July 2018.
What do you enjoy most about connecting with visitors to your business?
We enjoy seeing their reactions when they go behind the scenes on a Factory Tour. They are always amazed that we manufacture all our products from start to finish in our Central Coast factory. As well as making fine chocolates, we are the biggest manufacturer in Australia of nougat, we make marshmallow and roast all our own nuts. We also do a large amount of chocolate panning and enrobing, and all our products are packaged in-house on our full packaging line.
We are delighted in offering something for everyone with our tour and experiences. Children love the Junior Chocolatier Workshops, which run on weekends and school holidays, while adults bring out their inner child and discover the hundreds of sweet treats available in our shop. Everyone is spoilt for choice, and they spend a lot of time browsing our rustic-style shop deciding what to buy. Customers of all ages enjoy our Factory Tour and the thrill of seeing products created from the beginning.
What makes your products unique?
It is very rare in Australia for a manufacturer to carry out the whole production process in-house. When visitors see a product’s journey from raw ingredients to a finished chocolate bar, nougat or a bag of marshmallows, they feel an emotional connection with our products and business.
Visitors can now create their own unique chocolate bar with our new Create-a-Bar experience. Customers pick a chocolate type, it’s poured into a “Factory” mould, and customers then choose from a myriad of ingredients to top their Chocolate Bar to create their very own unique flavour. After fifteen minutes cooling, their unique creation will be ready to take home, boxed complete with “The Factory” logo.
What do you think makes the Central Coast such a great place for people to establish artisan businesses?
The Central Coast is only an hour away from Sydney, and it is a nice relaxing break away from all the hustle and bustle. It is a beautiful part of Australia with amazing beaches, stunning coastline and great food experiences. There is also a wonderful business community on the Central Coast who support each other.
Why do you think there are so many amazing producers on the Central Coast?
The Central Coast is a great place to live and work. It’s relaxing, but there is also plenty to do. Producers on the Central Coast form good relationships with local people and visitors spanning along the East Coast of Australia. For example, The Factory has evolved into a place for locals to catch up and socialise, with relaxing and rustic vibes. It feels different to a regular café. Cycling groups, car enthusiasts and Probus clubs often choose us as their Central Coast meeting point. When producers feel the love from the local community, it inspires us to create new products and experiences.
What do you think is the best kept secret on the Central Coast?
The Central Coast is its own best kept secret. People are unaware of how much there is to do on the Central Coast. There’s a lovely array of attractions and destinations, and you can easily spend a week on holiday here with plenty to experience and see. Nature is all around us from our stunning beaches to our National Parks.
What’s your favourite thing to do on the Central Coast when you get a day off?
We enjoy hiring a boat and going fishing whilst exploring Brisbane Water. We also enjoy hiking in the very many National Parks on the Central Coast or relaxing in the Japanese Gardens.
The Central Coast has all the vibes, appeal and activities of other interstate destinations, but it’s right on our doorstep and only an hour from Sydney.