The Chocolate Cottage
10475 New England Highway, Highfields
What happens when you live in Toowoomba and you've run out of new places to eat? Drive further out.
Mochi discovered this cafe called The Chocolate Cottage about 15min out from Toowoomba CBD in an adjacent town called Highfields.
I know that on the scale of Brisbane, 15min is nothing. In fact, it would be considered 'close-by'. In Toowoomba, 15min feels really out of town.
In fact, I believe Byron actually said to me "I can't believe we're driving all this way for breakfast".
That's what happens when you live out rural - your perception of reality gets screwed.
Anyway... despite his grumbly, Byron did drive us 'all the way' to Highfields on a recent Saturday morning.
The Chocolate Cottage is indeed a cottage, and although it's not made out of chocolate, there are plenty of chocolate goods on display. The building itself is a gift shop slash cafe counter, where you can buy stuff and order stuf.
The veranda as seating, as does the back yard. We sat on the veranda and peered out into the back yard for a glimpse of what may be a mountain view (too many hedges in the way to be sure).
Byron had already eaten instant noodles that morning (don't ask), so he ordered a chocolate milkshake. I was down for something more substantial so I had myself a vegetarian panini, a hot chocolate and also ordered a white chocolate and pistachio cake to share.
The beverages arrived first. The chocolate milkshake was a chocolate milkshake... nothing work remarking upon. It didn't make our knees weak like the Swiss chocolate milkshake from Pancake Manor does.
I thought my hot chocolate looked promising, with its high peak of foam dusted with cocoa powder. Then, Byron pointed out that the bottom wasn't mixed. I looked and saw that indeed, there was powder on the bottom of the glass that hadn't been stirred into the beverage. Um, why is a cafe famed for chocolate products using powdered hot chocolate? Needless to say it just tasted like home-mixed powder chocolate with a bit of foam. Disappointing.
The vegetarian panini was... interesting. It was a huge serving. I was hungry and started digging in. I thought it was pretty good. The falaafel bits were moist. There was some kind of a sweet chili corn relish. I offered Byron a bit to taste and he rejected it on appearance because it looked 'too busy'. I guess it is a panini with an identity crisis: semi-dried tomatoes, sweet chili, corn, sour cream, falaafel. This is combination without a clear theme. Nevertheless, I can't fault it for tasting bad.
Our white chocolate and pistachio cake was probably the highlight of the meal. It was moist and dense with a lovely stickiness. The crunchy pistachio topping and side of whipped cream complimented really well.
Byron complained that it was great until you have 3 bites, then it's sickly sweet. I beg to differ. He is male and therefore not as dessert-tolerant as I. Coming from a lover of all things baked, I maintain that this was a good cake.
I picked up some handmade chocolate while I was at The Chocolate Cottage. Half went to Mochi (i.e. back to our unit in Toowoomba) and half went to mum and dad. I sampled a few of Mochi's (is it weird to give a present and then eat some of it...?) and liked most of what I tried. In particular, the malt ball and praline shells stood out to me.
The Chocolate Cottage was a quaint little place. Something about it being 15min from Toowoomba gave it a vibe of 'coffee shop in the middle of nowhere'. I liked the atmosphere. I was disappointed by the chocolate beverages but I told Mochi we have to go back sometime because I deemed it was worthy enough for her to try.