Entrance to Tinderbox Retreat

MEET YOUR HOSTS
MILTON LAYCOCK & ISILDA CALDWELL

From the moment you meet Isilda, you immediately sense her creativity – born in Brazil, she’s lived all over the world and talks with her hands in the way that artists do; for 25 years she was an acclaimed potter and teacher. Smiling beside her is Milton, a huge sailing enthusiast, he’s the practical quiet achiever of the two, and was an auto transmission specialist for 28 years before they embarked on a new career, together. One September evening in 2000, they settled down to watch a movie, which, little did they know it at the time, was to change their lives forever. The movie was Chocolat.

Loving everything about the film, they too decided to try their hand at making chocolate, enrolled in a 1-day class in Melbourne and loved it so much, they packed their cases and set off around the world to learn from the best chocolatiers, in Switzerland, France and Belgium. Their combined skills of artistic creativity with engineering practicality saw them open their own shop Mornington Peninsula Chocolates in 2003 and just five years later, they were holding aloft their first Chocolate Champion trophy at the 2008 Royal Melbourne Fine Food Awards. Three years on, and they took home the equivalent award from the Royal Sydney Fine Food Awards and so it went on…for 15 years, they were Mornington Peninsula’s professional chocolatiers.

Working through the night when required, they sculpted chocolate stilettos by hand, life size tropical fish and cute little frogs, opened privately for the rich and famous, and built a truly extraordinary business. And the best part of all – you’ll find an exquisite box of their chocolate cherry bombs, on the kitchen bench waiting for you at Tinderbox Retreat. Their cherry bombs use Morello cherries soaked in kirsch liqueur, sealed with kirsch fondant, then double dipped in dark couverture. Where else could you go to stay where your hosts have made to-die-for chocolates for you, by hand?

Your hosts at Tinderbox Retreat

TINDERBOX RETREAT

When it came time to sell up and retire – Milton & Isilda of course wanted another exciting challenge and decided to move from the mainland and make Tinderbox their home. Struck by the beauty of the area they had found, they knew they had to share it, and set about creating Tinderbox Retreat. As experienced luxury travellers themselves, they not only expect the best, they’ve now delivered it here, for you, at Tinderbox Retreat.

Throughout their lives and careers, excellence has underpinned everything they’ve turned their hands to, which is evident from the moment you turn up the driveway.