17 January 2023

Five minutes with Rhiannon Druce, Junee Licorice & Chocolate Factory

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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Rhiannon (far right) with her family Dean, Coral, Neil, and Mitchell.

Rhiannon (far right) with her family Dean, Coral, Neil, and Mitchell. Photo: Junee Licorice & Chocolate Factory.

Who is Rhiannon Druce? I’m the sales and marketing manager at the Junee Licorice and Chocolate Factory. My parents purchased the building in 1998 and established the factory. I was basically raised around licorice and chocolate and decided to get into the business as soon as I could.

Best recent dining experience: I came back from overseas (Italy) recently. I did an authentic Italian cooking class in Ravello in the hills above Amalfi Coast, and I would say it definitely be up there, not only the best recent dining experience but the best dining experience of my life.

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Favourite cuisine: Definitely Mexican.

Most embarrassing pantry item: Cheezels. I’m really addicted to them and I actually have some in the car with me right now.

Some of the delicious offerings at the Junee Licorice & Chocolate Factory. Photo: Junee Licorice & Chocolate Factory.

What ingredient can I not live without? Definitely garlic. I think garlic enhances every meal.

Best coffee spot in Junee: In Junee, I definitely have to say our premises but within the Riverina, I really like going to the Station Collective in Coolamon. It is my neighbouring hotspot that I love going to, but in Junee, it’s definitely us.

Junee Licorice & Chocolate Factory uses ST. ALi Coffee Roasters. Photo: Junee Licorice & Chocolate Factory.

What’s your coffee blend? ST. ALi Coffee Roasters. They’re a Melbourne-based family company and hands down best coffee we can in Australia.

Next big thing in the Junee food scene: Junee as a town is crying out for really nice high-quality dining that isn’t necessarily a pub. That’s what the town needs. And I think there are people in town that will be looking to facilitate that for us because as much as everybody Junee loves a good pub meal, I sometimes think they want to take their friends and family out for dinner, not to a pub and not have to drive to Wagga.

Junee Licorice & Chocolate Factory offers a dining experience in their Mill Room Photo: Junee Licorice & Chocolate Factory.

A must-try on our menu: Lamb toastie. It sounds like it’s very basic but it’s made from organic lamb from our family farm. It’s on a really nice kneady bread with roasted vegetable crisps. It’s a simple meal constantly getting compliments from people that are foody or people that just like a basic meal.

My biggest culinary influence: Probably, as a lot of people would say – my mother. She’s always been a very good cook. And she’s always been really good at doing comfort meals with a nice twist to them.

Caramel chocolate raspberry licorice. Photo: Junee Licorice & Chocolate Factory.

Favourite cookbook: Nothing Fancy by Alison Roman. It’s a really good cookbook, exactly what it sounds like – just a really delicious meal with a nice edgy twist, which is what everyone wants these days.

Who I admire in the Riverina food and wine scene?: I admire Borambola Wines. I find them very creative with their wine and how they case their experience with customers.

Rhiannon grew up with licorice and chocolate around after her family purchased the factory. Photo: Junee Licorice & Chocolate Factory.

What are this week’s specials at Junee Licorice & Chocolate Factory? The breakfast special is a salmon bagel. We do a rotational burger special and this week is the double cheeseburger.

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My least favourite food: I really don’t like oysters and anything with mushrooms. I hate the texture of a mushroom, but I really like the flavour mushroom creates.

My top three cooking tips: If you’re not sure what to add, the answer is always salt or garlic. I would say less with what you’re trying to achieve in the kitchen and food preparation is always helpful as well.

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