Visit The Retro Fudge Bar… take two. Last Tuesday, plans to meet Matt and Tania Carey at their popular cafe in Bellerive Village were abandoned, because they were too busy serving customers. I hastily devised a plan B and wrote about Pindos Park instead. This morning, I did contemplate another about-face, when I arrived bang-on 9:00am to find them already at full throttle. Again!
Retro Fudge with Fine Coffee
I chose to stay for a while and quietly observe from the corner. Retro Fudge recently won a Business East award for outstanding service in hospitality, and the achievement was obviously well-deserved. New-comers were acknowledged with a welcome and a smile; many customers returning for their regular, standing order. Much-revered repeat custom… they must be doing pretty-much everything right.
Matt and Tania have had quite the journey to arrive in Bellerive. They made the move to Tasmania almost three years ago, from the tourist hot-spot of Yamba in New South Wales. There, they owned Sweet Vintage, an extremely popular candy store and made their own American-style fudge.
Tasmania: Good Weather for Chocolate
Upon moving to Tasmania for a scaled-back lifestyle and cooler climate, Matt and Tania chose to simplify. They have a 15-year-old son and wanted spare family time, while still owning their own business. Fudge was the answer; combined with quality coffee and sales of vintage goods, the Retro Fudge Bar was born.
Their first store-front was in Hobart’s Harrington Street. About seven months ago, the business moved premises to the Bellerive Quay Building. They’ve so far been too busy to organise official signage, but you can enter the foyer from Percy Street, just around the corner from Cambridge Road.
Matt and Tania live locally and love the sense of community in the region. The move has been rewarded with brisk trade from the outset, and they’ve expanded the menu to serve light lunches until 3:00pm each day. Patrons can choose from vintage couches and table-settings in the foyer or dine outside in the summer, alfresco-style.
Grab a Coffee on the Go
During my time there, Tania was multi-tasking, preparing cake displays and lunches while we chatted. Matt the master-barista was kept busy with non-stop orders. Efficiently and with little fuss, each coffee was made and delivered in lightning-fast time. Retro Fudge use Espresso Botero Coffee; currently they’re the exclusive stockists of the brand in Tasmania.
Matt opens the store at 6:00am and pours take-away coffee for tradies and early-risers until 8:00am; then he breaks for an hour for the “school run”. Apparently that one-hour break is about to be whisked away from his schedule, to the joy of customers on the commute to work. Burning the candle at both ends, Matt also makes the fudge after-hours in the tiny store in a large kettle apparatus, fresh when demand dictates.
Eastern Shore: For Fudge and More
Retro Fudge used to make an appearance at the weekly Farm Gate Market in Hobart’s Melville Street on Sundays. They’ve also previously had a stall at the iconic Salamanca Market on Saturdays. So much for a scaled-back lifestyle! Despite their success in Bellerive, the couple are contemplating a return to Salamanca one day. That’s pleasing news no doubt, for the scores of shoppers on the Hobart waterfront now missing their fix of Retro Fudge.
Not that people need wait for their return to Salamanca! Tania was quick to point out valid reasons for visitors to venture over the Tasman Bridge to the Eastern Shore of Hobart. Revealing the kind of community spirit we love here at Think Tasmania, she’s keen to see the Farm Gate Market do well in Bellerive when they resume Saturday trading. There’s also a beautiful new florist in Clarence Street (near Petside) and she can’t resist shopping in the gift store, conveniently located right next door to Retro Fudge.
Now this episode (in the series we’re publishing about award-winning businesses in Clarence) will have its own sequel when Think Tasmania returns to eat and drink at the Retro Fudge Bar. I personally can’t wait for that little bit of research… and I’m sure you’ll all be absolutely delighted to know we plan share even more photos of food.
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