5 Delicious Australian Bean-to-Bar Chocolates you Simply Must Taste
Susan M. Stokes, Chocolate Addict
12 October 2019
Chocolate is a word that conjures up so many mouth-watering mental images from hot chocolate drinks, cakes and bars – we all have our favourites! And when you’re having a rough day allowing a piece to chocolate melt in your mouth is the perfect therapy.
Chocolate holds a very special place in our hearts, think back to childhood eating your favourite chocolate, all those memories and emotions triggered. Or the waves of nostalgia washing over you when you remember begging your parents for your pocket money just to buy a bar.
Big brand chocolate popularity has been holding steady over the years with over 14 million Australians admitting they’re chocolate lovers. But artisan chocolate or bean-to-bar chocolate has really picked up steam in Australia over the last few years. As a result, many passionate, creative and ethically conscious chocolate makers have entered the market, carving out their own identity alongside our favourite brands.
They’re not just chocolatiers either, some are going a step further by sourcing cocoa beans direct from farmers, importing, roasting, cracking winnowing and conching the beans into deep rich chocolate. Phew who knew so much effort went into making a simple chocolate bar.
Chocolate(or cocoa) beans, like coffee beans or wine, has it own unique flavour profile depending on where it’s grown (also called terroir, by wine folk). So when craft bean-to-bar chocolate makers are looking for flavour, they will source beans from South America when they want something more fruity than their African counterparts.
So who are some of these passionate Australian craft chocolate makers? We have created a list of five Australian Bean-to-Bar Chocolates you simply must try.
5 Delicious Australian Bean-to-Bar Chocolates you must try:
BAHEN & CO Chocolates
Bahen & Co – Margaret River, WA
Bahen & Co, based in the beautiful Margaret River region of WA only a few hours south of Perth, makes stone ground chocolate from bean-to-bar. They use a traditional approach to chocolate making one that returns to a slower pace of a previous time.
This sense of stepping into a previous time is further cemented by the restored old-world machines and the faded plantation names on the jute cacao bags giving you an insight into the deep curiosity Bahen & Co has about cacao.
They build long-term relationships with farmers based on solid principles of mutual benefit, transparent and fair. By paying direct and cutting out the middleman, exceeding Fair Trade and paying prices that respect the farmer’s efforts.
Their chocolate factory operates from the family farm in Margaret River, a beautiful region with raw natural beauty and strong community that supports the efforts of its small producers. The bean-to-bar journey producing exquisite chocolate with regional varieties like Vietnam and Madaccar using only 2 ingredients (cocoa beans and organic raw sugar).
“Chocolate comes from cocoa, which is a tree. That makes it a plant. Chocolate is salad.“
Cailo Chocolate – Perth, WA
Cailo Chocolate is Perth’s premier bean-to-bar chocolate company, freshly awarded Silver at this years Perths’ Royal 2019 Food Awards and not forgetting the Gold they won at last years 2018 Australian Food Awards. Their passion for chocolate shines through in their dedication to sourcing only the highest-quality cocoa beans, essential for making high-quality chocolate.
Along their journey, they discovered that making the finest quality chocolate starts in the rainforest. Like good winemakers say: “Good wine is made in the vineyard, not the winery.” The same applies to great chocolate.
They rely on cocoa farmers in Panama and on the Solomon Islands to nurture these fascinating cocoa trees and their coloured pods. The beans are then harvested and fermented according to methods handed down over many generations. Once the beans arrive in Perth, they combine them with the finest Australian ingredients to create Cailo Chocolate.
They firmly believe that producing excellent chocolate requires great ingredients and attention to details that can’t be achieved in a large-scale industrial environment. That’s why they hand-craft their chocolate in small batches here in Perth to the delight of their customers.
Birdsnake Chocolate Bars
Birdsnake Chocolate – Fairﬁeld, VIC
From the farm to your face, Birdsnake chocolate proudly proclaims from its packaging. Their chocolate manufactured from bean-to-bar in Melbourne is smooth, intense and rich with a deep and complex flavour profile. The flavour is nuanced and addictive in all the delicious ways it should be. Based in Fairﬁeld, Melbourne they roast cacao seeds and process them into chocolate in-house as opposed to sourcing pre-made liquor from overseas.
Because of this, they have more control over the flavour of the bars, knowing where the beans came from, who produced them, the process during the production and most importantly, how much the producer was paid.
There are serious problems in the Cacao industry, at Birdsnake Chocolate, their goal is to assist by sourcing cacao from producers they have direct communication with, paying a sustainable price, not related to the commodity market.
As they grow they can work with more and more producers, oﬀering delicious alternatives to cheap, non-ethically sourced chocolate. They are proud to only use 3 ingredients in their Dark Chocolate (Cocoa mass, Sugar and Cocoa Butter), occasionally producing bars with inclusions e.g. nuts or dried fruit.
Living Koko – Braybrook, VIC
Living Koko is a family run business who wants to promote the health benefits of Koko (Cacao) by providing an alternative to confectionary based chocolate. How, you ask? By creating indulgent, guilt-free bean-to-bar chocolate with premium cacao, made from the richest cacao beans from the tropical paradise of the Pacific.
To get these tantalising flavours Living Koko works closely with local and Pacific-based organisations to understand the ways in which we can support local communities through ethical trade and event sponsorship.
Each of their vegan, allergy safe and gluten-free chocolate bar and products are handmade and lovingly wrapped in Braybrook, Victoria. The rich flavours enlighten your senses, leaving you energised, deeply satisfied and dreaming of island life. So enjoy your cacao guilt-free knowing Living Koko supports and empowers the communities they buy beans from.
Zokoko – Emu Heights, NSW
Zokoko, is the home of award-winning, mouth-watering, bean-to-bar chocolate. Their chocolate has a rich depth of flavour that’s intense but incredibly satisfying. They source only the finest cacao beans from around the world using traditional artisan methods, which makes their chocolate unique.
Cacao beans have a crop or vintage, not all that different to wine or coffee which is the essential ingredient to perfecting an artisan handmade chocolate. And making chocolate from scratch is a hands-on process that takes time and attention to detail. That way you bring out the true flavours from each cacao bean requires passion and expertise to retain the unique heritage.
Their bean to bar production techniques ensures the chocolate pays homage to the distinct and delicate flavours of its own unique terroir. Whether it’s their 48% milk chocolate or the 78% handmade dark chocolate bars.
That’s a Wrap of Australian Bean-to-Bar Chocolates
There you have it, our top 5 Australian Bean-to-Bar Chocolates you simply must taste, we’ve featured 2 each from WA and VIC and one from NSW. They really stood out to us as delicious high quality(even award-winning) chocolate with passionate founders. If you’d love to discover new chocolate each month simply join our chocolate subscription box.
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