Jodie Van der Velden just can’t help herself. As if running Josophans chocolates and Cafe Madeleine in Leura wasn’t enough, a year ago she took on a Sydney CBD retail Josophans outlet — which is breaking even — and has now launched yet another venture: the Gingerbread House in Katoomba.
Based in the 100-year-old restored church on the corner of Waratah and Lurline streets, previously home to a jazz club, a cafe and a French restaurant, the Gingerbread House is a fun trip down memory lane with creaming soda spiders, ginger beer floats and malted milkshakes.
There is coffee, tea and hot soup for adults, with cakes, muffins and scones, and lots of Australian-made lollies for the kids. Plus some Josophan chocolates, of course.
Ms Van der Velden said when she first saw the church she thought it already looked like a gingerbread house.
“I fell in love with it immediately and within two weeks had signed a lease and all of a sudden we’re opening,” she said.
As with her other businesses, she will try to source Australian-made products and/or those which are ethically produced.
She was so struck with the building and its large glass doors which allowed the sunshine to stream in, she believed it should be open to the community, so she will offer discounted tea or coffee for aged pensioners on Wednesdays and has installed a gingerbread house cubby and slide in the courtyard for children.
And she’s in for the long haul, having signed a 15-year lease. “We’re looking at it as a long-term family business,” she said.
The Gingerbread House will be part of the Providores Walk next Saturday, one of the Festival of Walking events.
The guided tour will reveal some hidden culinary treasurers of Katoomba, from the local honey available at Woolemi Gems to the new Indian spice shop, as well as take in established names such as Hominy, the Co-op and the Buttery. It starts with morning tea at the Paragon and finishes at the Carrington Cellars and Deli.
For more information visit the festival website: www.festivalofwalking.com.