Local Connections: Neil Druce
If there’s someone you want to get to know while visiting Wagga Wagga + Surrounds, the bloke who owns a chocolate factory is a good place to start.
Neil Druce’s family has farmed in the region for the past hundred years and his passion for organic produce has evolved into the Junee Licorice and Chocolate Factory. He’s more than happy to have a chat, whether it’s about the restored Junee Flour Mill where you’ll find the factory, or his favourite sweet treats.
He’s passionate about authentic, local produce - and he knows where to find it! If Neil's not at the factory, he’s probably in his ’35 Chev van with his wife exploring their favourite spots around the region or out fossicking and uncovering hidden treasures from the past. Read about his adventures below.
1) Thirsty Crow Brewery – “I love this place. There’s nothing better than beating the family in a game of table tennis then celebrating with a vanilla milk stout and Sunday roast pizza."
2) Adelong Falls + Long Track Pantry – “I enjoy nothing more than taking a relaxing drive in my 1935 Chev Van with Coral to Adelong Falls. The scenery is amazing and I can take my metal detector for a spot of fossicking around the natural bushland area – you never know what you will uncover. Then it’s a stop off for a ploughman’s lunch board and to stock up on local supplies at the Long Track Pantry in Jugiong.”
3) Food I Am – “This is an absolute favourite. I enjoy taking Food I Am cooking classes, especially the French artisan classes, learning how to make quality croissants, tarts and sourdough with my daughter, Rhiannon – she’s definitely better at making them than me, but I’m better at eating them!”
4) Tumut River Brewing Co – “By now you’ve probably realised I enjoy food. But, I also love relaxing to live music, and, this is the spot for that. This place is buzzing, and, it has beer – so it’s an essential stop for me.”
5) Coolamon Cheese + Ganmain – “Another outing for the van is always to Coolamon Cheese to stock up on the essentials. Then it’s onto Ganmain for a quick browse in their boutique shops along the main street, followed by an afternoon watching the kids football and netball games with my packed picnic full of ‘De Brie’ and ‘The Rock’ cheeses (from Coolamon Cheese) – you can’t beat country footy.”
6) Temora Aviation Museum – “Every time Temora Aviation Museum have a fly in, I want to be there. The sound of the Lockheed Hudson is incredible.”