The feel-good guide to indie Australian chocolate | Australian food and drink

Chocolate brings happiness in the form of blocks, bars and Easter eggs, but it can have devastating consequences for the people who make it.

“Cheap chocolate may seem like a good treat, but other people and the planet are paying for it,” says Jen Lo, a chocolatier behind Meltdown Artisan in Sydney.

The chocolate industry is worth more than $ 100 billion worldwide, but cocoa producers I paid only 40c a day – Part of the $ 2.50 daily threshold for extreme poverty. That is when they are paid at all. Child slavery is widespread in West Africa, where most of the world’s cocoa is procured.Last month, the Human Rights Group International Rights Advocates Breakthrough proceedings For major chocolate brands such as Mars, Nestle and Hershey on behalf of former child laborers.

In this season of chocolate overconsumption, small local makers like Rho not only offer ethical choices, but also delicious treats.

Planet Furniture’s hand-knitted emu incorporates ethical chocolate. Photo: Guardian

Bahen & Co

Jacqui and Josh Bahen can track each ingredient used. Check out the cherry and coconut bars that taste like adult cherry ripe. The cocoa is from the ADIOESMAC population in Guatemala in the mountainous Cahabon, and the Margaret River duo adds cherries from Victoria and toasted coconuts from organic producers in Sri Lanka. 75% cocoa block from Vietnam? Single-origin beans are from the Mekong Delta Chogao Cooperative, which makes chocolate with a rich hint of licorice. “Grower direct means that the money we pay stays in the grower’s pocket,” says Josh. This makes a big difference if the average cocoa farmer earns only 6% of the final price of a chocolate bar and poor workers rely on logging to plant their crops.

Chocolate on purpose

Fiona Harrison, a woman from Willajuri, emphasizes indigenous culture with chocolate on purpose. “Did you know that less than 2% of providers across the indigenous food and plant supply chain are indigenous?” She says. Based in Millthorpe, New South Wales, Harrison sources local produce from the Aboriginal community. Her Rozella and Mountain Pepper Berry Chocolate prove that bush food belongs to blocks and bars. The Aboriginal Carbon Foundation offsets her footprints, and the Easter Box contains eggs that draw attention to the decline in bee populations.

Daintree Estate

Although you rarely find Australian chocolate, Daintree Estate in northern Queensland produces chocolate from cocoa grown near Australia’s iconic rainforest. Wayne Simmons, managing director, says local farmers are paid “much above” the world price of cocoa. The resulting classic dark block is creamy and smooth, more like milk chocolate than a bitter dark bar. Shiraz and Pinot Noir flavors are a fruity, sweet alternative boosted with currants soaked in wine. You can also visit the Whyanbeel Valley Estate, the grower of Daintree Estate, to see how chocolate is made.

Eye illustration and rapper hey tiger chocolate
Hey Tiger (pictured), Bahen and Co, Jasper & Myrtle are one of the waves of ethical and artisan Australian chocolate brands. Photo: Curly Earl / Guardian

A little tiger

Cyan Ta’eed has launched Hey Tiger in Melbourne to ensure that the West African agricultural community is paid fairly. Hey Tiger bought cocoa at a price above the market price, and its sales supported the Hunger Project, raising more than $ 250,000 for the agricultural community in Ghana. This season, Hey Tiger produced a series of Easter flavors inspired by hot cross buns and carrot cakes. The Melbourne designer offers a package suitable for candy-colored upcycling. Kitty Pallascus.

Hunting + collecting

Hunted + Gathered in Melbourne procures cocoa from organic farms around the world and outperforms fair trade prices. Based in the Dominican Republic, Charles Kerchner is a leading supplier.

“Charles uses cocoa production to [adjoining bird] Book to secure a place for the endangered migratory bird to nest in the winter, “says Harry Nissen, who runs Hunt + Gathered with the Charlie brothers. For Easter, they created a special edition bar with Kerchner chocolate and fused it with local walnuts from a Tasmanian family-owned farm and leatherwood honey to create a great effect.

Jasper & Myrtle

Li Peng Monroe regularly visits people in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea. They offer Jasper & Myrtle business in Canberra. She even knows the grower’s grandson behind the award-winning Nunukakao.

“It takes four to five months to procure bean shipments,” she says. “”[But] We are very happy and confident that we know where the cocoa beans came from. “

Her range includes outstanding blocks seasoned with Django Macadamias and Bent Shed Produce’s Lemon Myrtle. “We try to use as many local ingredients as possible.”

Jasper & Myrtle's colorful chocolate block wrapper
“We are confident that we know where the cocoa beans came from,” says Li Peng Monroe of Jasper & Myrtle. Photo: Curly Earl / Guardian

Meltdown craftsman

Jen Lo procures chocolate from Valrhona, a BCorp-certified supplier that guarantees farmers a constant living wage even when cocoa prices fall. Supporting single-origin cocoa sold directly by producers means “paying as much shipping as beans,” but the resulting chocolate is “not worldly,” she says.

Her Easter range includes savory vegan flavors (see Great Macadamia Coconut Pralin Eggs) and Asian-inspired pieces (richer eggs stuffed with peanuts, roasted green tea, and bananas).

“It’s very difficult to re-educate a market trained to buy $ 2.50 chocolate from a grocery aisle,” she says. Her extraordinary chocolate proves it’s worth the money.


Trevor Smith has moved from car repair in Sweden to award-winning chocolate production in Toowoomba, Queensland. He pays homage to the growers by naming his blocks after the area (Bellau, Indonesia, Tenaru, Solomon Islands). His outstanding milk chocolate uses 100-year-old textbook recipes, and Easter rabbits are also worth looking for. Stop by his physical store displaying footage of the cocoa farm he works with (and the trophies he deserves).

Bahen & Co chocolate
“Producer direct means that the money we pay stays in the producer’s pocket,” says Josh Bahen of Bahen & Co. Photo: Curly Earl / Guardian


“If we’ve never been to a farm ourselves, we only buy beans from farms visited by other bean-to-bar companies,” says Fat McKin of Melbourne’s Ratio Cocoa Roasters.

It’s a way to avoid her buying chocolates of slave labor origin. Her range includes a vegan-friendly freckle, coconut milk block, set in a dark chocolate square. Her Easter Bunny is made from Dominican beans and Peruvian organic cocoa butter, which are traded directly.

South Pacific cacao

“Cacao evangelist” Jessica Pedemon and entrepreneur Brian Atkin started cocoa in the South Pacific to create better opportunities for economically disadvantaged farmers in the Solomon Islands. It worked – they can order twice as much for single origin beans instead of bulk market products.

For Easter, try the extraordinary “ethical eggs” of cocoa in the South Pacific. Shaped like a cocoa pod, it is filled with an incredible praline-like paste made from Ngarin nuts native to the region. Don’t miss the chocolate block of cacao in the South Pacific. Seasoned with monk fruit, olive oil and fiery spices.

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