THE historic Weswal Gallery will soon have a sweet new neighbour, with a boutique chocolate business setting up shop in the cafe next door.
Deva Cacao - a Tamworth-based organic raw chocolate business - plans to turn the iconic cafe into a chocolate factory, so people can gain an intimate insight into the chocolate making process.
Maggie Quirk, who runs the business with her husband Ming, said they will also transform the space into Tamworth's very first chocolate cafe.
Their unique treats, sweetened only with local bush honey, will be available for sale in person, a more personal change from the wholesale process they have traded by since making the move from Bellingen three years ago.
"We're going to consolidate it all into the Weswal Cafe side, and section off a bit of it for chocolate manufacturing so the public will be able to see how we do it, then the front part of it will remain as the cafe," she told the Leader.
Growing up in Tamworth, Ms Quirk had always loved the East Tamworth Weswal building.
"My friend Kate Hofman the gallery now, I heard that the lease was coming up and it's always been a dream of mine to have a cafe," she said.
"I've worked in a lot of cafes in my life and I thought that could be a really good spot for a little boutique chocolate business and I could finally do the cafe bit myself."
Chocolate and caffeine lovers can expect a real treat, with "really good coffee and really good chocolate" the sole focus.
"We want the coffee to be fast for take away but also for seating in the beautiful enclosed balcony that overlooks the garden that we are landscaping," Ms Quirk added.
"We're going to do specialty European style hot chocolate - so really thick creamy, chocolatey chocolate.
"And then just more conventional hot chocolate as well. We will some of our specialty chocolates on site and we'll have a simple cafe with cakes and pastries."
Maggie and Ming takeover from long-time owners Isobel and Sandy Allan, who recently retired after 15 years at the helm, thanking their many loyal customers over the years.
The duo hope to have the chocolate cafe up and running by Christmas time, and are excited about the future prospect of working alongside Tamworth's only private art gallery.
"The location is unbeatable in my opinion, it's such a great little quaint spot in town," she said.
"Between the two of us we're hoping it's going to be a little destination because the gallery's got an amazing long-standing reputation, and I love what they do.
"It's going to be really nice for us to work together and open it up a bit so that people can flow in between the businesses more freely. We've got similar visions so I think we're going to work really well together."
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