Robyn Rowe is retiring, but will her delightful chocolate business live on?

Hannah Sparks 3 May 2021 26
Robyn Rowe serving children in her chocolate shop

Murrumbateman’s chocolate lady Robyn Rowe will retire ahead of her 80th birthday this year. Photo: Supplied by George Southwell.

The name Robyn Rowe Chocolates will evoke sweet memories for anyone who has lived in Canberra and the Yass Valley since 2012.

Chocolate lovers of all ages spend weekends and school holidays there with one question in mind: “Which will it be today – hazelnut praline, a honey log, Clonakilla muscat mousse or peppermint, perhaps?”

However, another question springs to mind following news Robyn Rowe will hang up her apron ahead of her 80th birthday in November 2021: what will become of the chocolate business we’ve grown so fond of?

George Southwell from Ray White Rural Canberra and Yass is the agent selling Robyn Rowe Chocolates and the separate four-bedroom cottage, set on 9.6 hectares, at auction on 16 May.

He says there has been a “good level of interest” from Canberrans in the property, particularly because it is difficult to buy anything smaller than 30 acres in the area, and because the buyer’s guide is $1.525 million.

George Southwell and Robyn Rowe in chocolate shop

Robyn Rowe has appointed estate agent George Southwell to sell her chocolate business and cottage in Murrumbateman. Photo: Supplied by George Southwell.

George says it will be up to the buyer whether they continue the chocolate business or run the shop as something else.

“They could buy it and convert the shop into a second dwelling; buy and rent out the shop to create an additional income stream; or buy and run their own business in the shop – a chocolate business or not,” he says.

Robyn says the shop has been busier than usual since she announced her retirement.

“People are coming out of the woodwork,” she tells Region Media. “Some are coming in crying, others are telling me stories about their connection to my place. It is very emotional and I am realising this place has meant much more than chocolate to so many people.

Aerial view of Murrumbateman property

The 9.6-hectare property for sale includes the chocolate shop and a four-bedroom cottage. Photo: Supplied by George Southwell.

“We are struggling to cope with the numbers and are almost out of chocolates. We are having to work all of tomorrow to get extras in to fill orders and have stock for the shop. I guess it is a good problem to have.”

Robyn was born in Cowra and started her career as a mothercraft nurse – a baby and toddler sleep expert – before marrying and joining her husband, Denis, on his family’s local property.

At the height of the drought, and after the sale of the family property in 1981, Robyn and her family left the country behind and moved to Sydney. Robyn was motivated to explore her creative talents in fine art and craft. Her hobby soon developed into a source of income – she sold her art, drawing, folk art and embroidery work at shows and markets around Sydney.

After their move back to the land – to a property at Murrumbateman – Robyn continued her creative pursuits by selling needlework at the popular Hall Markets and as part of the Gift Makers of Yass cooperative.

READ ALSO: The Institutions: The Old Canberra Inn

She also loves to bake – petite pastries and tarts in particular – but it was a story in a magazine about the Margaret River Chocolate Company that opened her eyes to the possibilities of boutique chocolate making.

With the support of Denis and their children – Chris, Ben, Sophie, Lucy and Tim – Robyn studied the art of chocolate making in Sydney and Melbourne, and travelled to Europe to research the methods of renowned Belgian chocolatiers.

After the success of her first contract – making chocolates for a local wedding – Robyn knew she had found her calling, and Robyn Rowe Chocolates was born.

Children playing outdoors on rural property

Locals love visiting Robyn Rowe Chocolates during weekends and school holidays. Photo: Supplied by George Southwell.

The business has continued to grow with Robyn’s chocolates winning gold medals and ‘Champion Chocolate’ at the Sydney Royal Cheese and Dairy Produce Show in both 2009 and 2010. At the same show, in 2011, Robyn was awarded ‘The Most Successful Chocolate Exhibitor’, receiving one gold and five silver medals for her entries.

However, Denis sadly died five-and-a-half years ago and Robyn says it’s too hard to keep going at her age.

“It is time to move on and have freedom again to be with the family I love, my old friends who I have neglected, and have some other exciting adventures,” she says.

Original Article published by Hannah Sparks on About Regional.

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26 Responses to Robyn Rowe is retiring, but will her delightful chocolate business live on?
Kirst Ann Kirst Ann 8:19 pm 05 May 21

Emma Cassanell we have to go, when’s the next winery visit?

    Emma Cassanell Emma Cassanell 8:47 pm 05 May 21

    Kirst we can go in a few weeks if you like. Let me know when your free ??

Hannah Woods Hannah Woods 7:28 pm 05 May 21

Emily Chisholm ok we have to go backkkk

Udit Oza Udit Oza 6:44 pm 05 May 21

Nita Chaudhary when are you taking me here? 🤣🤣

Laura King Laura King 3:21 pm 05 May 21

Josie Prior we have to go!

Kallara Bryant Kallara Bryant 12:55 pm 05 May 21

Ana Martinez NO 😞 this is worse then a heart break

    Ana Martinez Ana Martinez 12:59 pm 05 May 21

    Kallara Bryant NO FREAKING WAY! Not happening 😭😭 deffs going on saturday

Happy Barot Happy Barot 9:42 am 05 May 21

Shweta Chandna Sood Anshul Chandna Dhruv Jagad would you like to visit this?

Londyn Quinn Londyn Quinn 6:24 am 05 May 21

Catherine Strang we need to go visit before this closes!

Briana Grame Briana Grame 11:14 pm 04 May 21

Rhys Balcomb can we buy a chocolate shop instead of a house

Catherine Kelly Catherine Kelly 6:44 pm 04 May 21

Karen Mead what will you do now?

    Karen Mead Karen Mead 6:46 pm 04 May 21

    Catherine Kelly what I do best. Shop or put in an offer 🤣🤣 I saw it this morning and nearly wept 😥😥

Lyn Shea Lyn Shea 3:40 pm 04 May 21

We’d better come and try sometime!

Louise Saber Louise Saber 11:21 am 04 May 21

Some mighty cute looking customers in that pic 💕

    Jenifer Nixon Jenifer Nixon 11:33 am 05 May 21

    Louise Saber yes, I know them from somewhere...

    Louise Saber Louise Saber 12:37 pm 05 May 21

    Jenifer Nixon no! These are our friends! But they all look like siblings with their blonde hair 🤣

Se Yun Chong Se Yun Chong 11:20 am 04 May 21

why haven’t we been here yet David Ma Mandy Ho Thuchindra Putree Ly

Rebecca Neish Rebecca Neish 10:32 am 04 May 21

Lorraine Neish I think Errol should buy this, how good would it be 💁‍♀️

    Lorraine Neish Lorraine Neish 10:50 am 04 May 21

    Rebecca Neish ohh yes . Oh nooo I’m conflicted....

Elspeth Shannon Rollason Elspeth Shannon Rollason 5:27 am 04 May 21

Picked up some chocolate on the weekend

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