by Linda Kaye
San Antonio, Texas
July 10, 2001
Melba’s was named for Dame Nellie Melba, Australia’s famous Opera Singer and was started by Graeme and Joy Foristal in 1981 in a small washhouse behind their Adelaide Restaurant. The business progressed in varying stages and with the sale of the restaurant, was relocated to a single car garage behind their home.
In July 1990, Melba’s transferred to its historic Woodside Farmers Union Factory site. The mammoth task of cleaning the old site commenced and fourteen years of abandonment and neglect were washed away.
Melba’s operates old-heritage candy-making machinery allowing visitors to experience the old art and techniques. We were allowed to roam through the different candy-making rooms, some of which were actually making the chocolates and other candies, and observe first hand the techniques that have been used for years. There were gift items as well as a candy counter where we sampled many of the items before deciding on your purchase. They even make chocolate kangaroos.
More important than the candy they make, are the people that work at Melba’s. One lady, who is referred to by some as "Mother Earth" is well into her 80s. Her daily routine includes milking her cows in early morning, working an 8-hour shift at Melba’s and in the evenings, making homemade jellies and jams with fruit from her garden, which she sells at Melba’s. AND, she still has time to stop and talk to anyone touring the factory.
The day we visited, "Mother Earth" was filling plastic molds with milk chocolate at one end of a conveyer belt, then going to the other end of the conveyer to removed the cute chocolate figures.
If you have a chance to visit Melba’s be sure to meet this marvelous lady- I am sure she will be there.
The prices of the chocolates and other candies are down right cheap by U.S. standards. The chocolate items do not store as well as the sugar candies, so if you are planning to buy gifts for giving later, you might want to take that into consideration.
From journal Adelaide-Ever Loving Adelaide