Homegrown Chef Wonderland Emporium owner Jodi Mann combines flowers, tea and treats

CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER: Wonderland Emporium owner Jodi Mann has created a whimsical space to enjoy tea and treats at Tawonga. The business name reflects her obsession with Alice in Wonderland. Picture: KYLIE ESLER
CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER: Wonderland Emporium owner Jodi Mann has created a whimsical space to enjoy tea and treats at Tawonga. The business name reflects her obsession with Alice in Wonderland. Picture: KYLIE ESLER

JODI Mann’s obsession with Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is delightfully at play in her new emporium at Tawonga South.

Wonderland Emporium offers stunning floral arrangements, original homewares and a changing menu of sweet and savoury treats.

There are 15 different versions of the Lewis Carroll classic for patrons to peruse.

“My obsession with Alice in Wonderland goes way back,” she said.

“I’ve read it at least 80 times from about the age of seven onwards.”

Having lived at Mount Beauty for the past six years, Mrs Mann said she had dreamed of opening a cafe for about a decade.

The building became available about 15 months ago before she trained as a bridal florist to complement the business.

“I’m a cook who does flowers,” she quipped.

“There was a niche in the market that needed to be filled.”

Together with her husband Scott Mann, Mrs Mann has three children, Lachlan, 13, Joshua, 11, and Caitlin, 10.

“I’ve had beautiful support from my family and the whole community,” Mrs Mann said.

What's your favourite dish?

Paella; it’s a good crowd-pleaser. I love to make it or I will order it if we go out.

What are the staples in your pantry?

Nuts, olive oil, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, chilli and cayenne. 

What's the biggest product discovery you have made in cooking?

Real blue corn tortillas from a little place in South Melbourne.

What's your secret vice?

Chocolate. Lindt, intense orange and dark chocolate. Chocolate and Champagne. 

What is your recipe standby?

My eight-hour lamb roast.

What is your most unforgettable meal and where?

Lunch in Tasmania at a winery adjoining MONA. Heston Blumenthal was also dining there. He let me take a selfie; he was an utterly beautiful human, I can’t remember what I ate but the company was amazing!

What's your favourite cooking utensil?

Thermomix 

What's in your kitchen toolkit?

Good knives and tongs. 

What did you have for dinner last night?

Vegan chilli con carne. It’s zesty, spicy and delish. 

What are you drinking?

Small Wonders, my coffee blend. 

Details:

Wonderland Emporium,

175 Kiewa Valley Highway, Tawonga South

Phone: 0409 235 550

Open Tuesday to Friday, 9.30am to 5.30pm and Saturday, 8am to 1pm. All-day breakfast is offered Saturday.