Bougainville chocolate coming soon
A project to create the World's first Bougainville chocolate bar is one step closer to reality with a crowdfunding initiative raising more funds than expected.
The making of the World's first Bougainville chocolate bar is one step closer to reality with a crowd funding initiative raising more funds than expected.
The brainchild of the Wellington Chocolate Factory's Rochelle Harrison and Gabe Davidson, the ambitious plan involves a local farmer, a sailing boat and one tonne of premium Bougainville cocoa.
Gabe Davidson and Rochelle Harrison told Koroi Hawkins their aim is to make good chocolate and help a small agricultural industry get back on its feet after a decade of civil war.
GABE DAVIDSON: Most craft "bean to bar" chocolate factories in the world use Central or South American beans and a little Madagascar. Beans like Venezuela and Peru, Dominican Republic and Ecuador are the superstars in the craft chocolate industry but very little is known about the beans of the South Pacific. So if this is a successful case study, which I'm sure it will be, then we can potentially replicate this in other South Pacific countries and showcase cocoa beans of the South Pacific to the rest of the world.
KOROI HAWKINS: There's quite a few islands to choose from?
ROCHELLE HARRISON: Yes there's quite a demand from farmers in the Pacific looking for producers to work with. We've been approached by numbers of farmers. In Samoa alone we've been approached by about five different farmers. We can only do so much, and take on so much but as we grow we'll be able to take on more and more as we do grow.
GD: There are loads of chocolate lovers out there who are very familiar with your Madagascars, your single origin chocolates. It's become very popular. It's very much like wine and coffee. There's hundreds of different varieties of cocoa trees like there's lots of different varieties of grapes and the soil plays a part and the climate, plays a part in what flavours you get out of your chocolate. So there's growing interest in finding rare and unique cocoa varieties and flavours out there. So if we can work with farmers in the Solomon Islands, Samoa, Vanuatu, Fiji then I'm sure we can find and partner directly with some farmers and find some unique and interesting flavoured cocoa to share with the rest of the world.
KH: And once it gets here, what's the process?
RH: Well we get the beans in obviously and we hand sort through every sack. Then we lay them out on perforated trays and give them a really soft roast in the oven. You could say a very soft roast, we want to keep all those fruity flavours in there like a medium rare steak and then we pull the beans down and we mill them so we break them up, and then we winnow them so we remove the skin off the bean and then we place them into big granite stone grinders. It's stone-ground chocolate and then we start refining the cocoa beans because they are about 50% fat and it starts to turn into a paste and we simply add some sugar and that's all we add, so just a little bit of sugar to bring out the flavour notes, so there's no vanilla or soy lecithin or dairy products going into the chocolate or even extra cocoa butter or vegetable fat. It's just the most purest chocolate you'll ever taste.
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