Friday, April 13, 2012

Cocoa beans grown in Australia making commercially produced chocolate!

I didn't even know that was possible! Well... to be fair... it wasn't until recently. Cocoa beans grown in Australia, and made into commercially produced chocolate IN Australia. There are of course other places in Australia that make chocolates, but the ones locally that I queried, are not Fairtrade certified.

Daintree Estate

how awesome is that! Of course, I've yet to try the product but I am keen. I found Daintree Estate after a comment on my post 'What Does your chocolate stand for?'. The comment prompted me to search and as it happens, Daintree Estate has only been up and running for a few months and it's the first of it's kind in Australia.

I then contacted Daintree Estate to ask them a few questions:

Hi there at Daintree Estate

After a comment by someone in the US on my blog, where I posted about choosing Fairtrade chocolate for Easter HERE, I did an internet search.

As far as I knew no one in Aus had grown cocoa beans to make chocolate commercially. Until very recently I would have been right but you guys are here!
Am I right in thinking you're the first and currently the only Aus-grown-cocoa-bean chocolate making people?

If so, first can I say that is very awesome and secondly, I'd love to know more especially on the sustainability side of things/carbon neutral etc
I will still support Fairtrade but am more than happy to equally share my support with Australian-grown and made, especially if it's high up in the sustainability stakes.

I see you don't yet have an Easter range but I am guessing that retailers do buy your chocolates and melt to make Easter products?
this was what I was planning to do if I couldn't get Fairtrade hunting eggs.
I am in WA and see from your website that no one over here sells your chocolate BUT I think that once word gets out, you'll be sending a fair bit of chocolate over this way, especially to the more 'aware' stores that seek to support local and/or organic where they can.

With Kind Regards and thanks
(and family who just had a Fairtrade Easter)
and received this reply (and was given permission to share it)

Hi Kristy,

Thanks for your email and interest in our Australian grown chocolate.

Yes, Daintree Estates chocolate is the world’s first commercially made chocolate from Australian grown cocoa.

You’re right, we don’t make eggs or other novelty chocolates just yet. Having only just launched a few months ago, we are still working hard on getting distribution across more of Australia, and developing our product range. We are also actively seeking more farmers in Far North Queensland to partner with us and plant cocoa so our capacity can increase. I’m not aware of anybody making Easter eggs our of our chocolate yet, but it can be done using our 1kg Chef’s Packs of 3g buttons in dark or milk.

Fair Trade is slightly irrelevant for us given that we are wholly owned and based in Australia and are bound by Australian labour laws anyway. We are planning to branch out into other exotic cocoa origins in the near future, so it will be something we will be paying attention to as we do that.

One of our plantations is certified organic, but we have yet to launch our organic chocolate products.




to which I replied:

Hi Tim

Thankyou for taking the time to reply and for adding me to your mailing list.

I realise being Aus-grown and made that Fairtrade doesn't really apply at this stage, but as you said if you branch out, it's something to pay attention to.

If I may, are you ok with my sharing your reply on my blog (or whatever parts of it you might like to share)?
I know there's quite a few people out there after a product such as yours and like me, they may not even know it exists.

Aus-grown&made is pretty awesome in itself. Local product, locally made from local products. Can't beat that!
I'm going to ask around and see who else might be interested in an order with me. A good product, fairly made and with an eco commitment, will become popular very fast these days.

If you ended up (after branching out) being Aus-grown and Fairtrade (from overseas) and Aus-made, that would pretty much score you top points all-round as well I would think ie not compromising to non-Fairtrade if you go overseas. Of course, that's my consumer point of view and there's much to go into any decisions to come, by people who know a lot more about it than me!

I look forward to seeing your product over here, but in the meantime will see about ordering online.

Thanks again for taking the time to reply.
Kind Regards
and Tim replied:

Hi Kristy,

You’re welcome to use any of my comments in your blog J

Your ‘consumer point of view’ is precisely where we are headed.



All up I think that's a pretty good response and I am happy to give them a go and try out the chocolate (hard task I know!). I think if my tastebuds enjoy the Daintree Estate chocolate, and if I am happy with their eco-approach and general customer service (in accordance with their values statements), I'll then split my support half/half and give half my custom to Fairtrade imported chocolate, and half to Australian made 'local' chocolate. That sits well with me. If you do get to try Daintree Estate please let me know!


Scott said...

Not so keen, are we going to be undercutting Africa now?

Anonymous said...

At their prices, they won't be undercutting anyone.

Anonymous said...

Africa has absolutely nothing to worry about, I promise you.

Australian commercialism has an unapologetically strong and unhindered history of charging through the nose for absolutely anything...and the more novelty value something has, the more they'll charge, just because they can and because there's no competition.

Africa's cocoa bean revenue will never be threatened by anything Australia manages to grow.

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