Not far from my farm is a wonderful place which comes straight from the realm of childhood dreams. It’s the Mullumbimby Chocolate Shop, and it’s dear to my heart for many reasons. I sometimes pay a visit and get a little bag of lollies, and then sit outside at a local cafe and write, sipping tea and fortifying myself with the occasional milk bud, cobber, or malt ball.
I so love this magical shop. Sharon Allen owns it, and runs it with her mum, Ruth. Sharon and Ruth’s own brand of personal magic is one of the reasons this little place is elevated from plain old yummy to extraordinary.
It’s a place where old-fashioned manners and courtesy are the norm. There’s a little step for tiny children to reach the counter, and they let you buy just one of something, if you want. Sharon and Ruth don’t care how long you take to make up your mind, or if you only have five cents, and they treat everyone with love and kindness and respect.
All your childhood favourites are there, and many more confectionary treasures you’d never even imagined! I’ve never come away from a visit without having been offered a taste of something new. Yesterday it was Butterballs, the visit before Sour Mandarins.
The shop is as popular with adults as with children, and as I was waiting in line yesterday for my musk sticks and licorice, I watched two burly road workers on their break getting a two-dollar bag of mixed lollies each, and agonising over their choices as much as they probably did when they were six or seven!
Sharon was in the store alone yesterday, while her mum is off celebrating her 70th birthday. As usual, she was full of stories about local life, and all the funny things that happen in her shop.
She told me one story that I’m still smiling about…
A little boy came in recently with his mum, who let him buy lollies for his upcoming birthday. They they sat outside at a local cafe Lulu’s, to eat some lunch.
While they ate, the little boy kept coming back into the shop, waiting patiently for his turn, so he could ask Sharon questions. After each question he’d go back outside to his seat for a while, then think of another question, and come back in again.
“Excuse me, do the lights for your shop stay on all night?”
“No,” Sharon answered.
The next question: “Excuse me, do the toilets here stay open all night?”
A bit more thought and then: “Does the air-conditioner stay on?”
And one more: “How many people can fit in your shop?”
Sharon had to think on that. Quite a lot of people can fit in her shop. She’s even had a band do a gig in there!
Finally Sharon went outside to the little boy and his mum, to ask if she could help them. It seems Mum had promised her son that he could have a sleep-over with some of his friends for his birthday. And the little boy had presumed Mum had meant a sleep-over in the chocolate shop.
Imagine his disappointment when he realised the birthday sleep-over was meant to happen back at home instead!
Who wouldn’t want a sleep-over in a lolly shop?
If you’ve ever in the Byron Shire, and you find yourself in Mullumbimby (or Mullum as the locals call it) I do recommend a visit. I also recommend the chai tea at Lulu’s.
Living where I do has much to recommend it!