Wellington Chocolate Factory

I did not see one person lick a spoon at the Wellington Chocolate Factory, which must be hard work because the smell in there is so damn good. Looking at the creamy, runny chocolate being churned, it was all I could do to stop myself from diving right in and start lapping it up. But I’ve seen what happened to Augustus Gloop so I restrained myself. The factory is open to the public and everyone can go in and see the whole chocolate making process, try some of the delicious bars or get a hot chocolate. Miriam Ramos manages the joint without any Oompa Loompas and without bursting into song at all, so I was curious to find out a bit more about this real life chocolate factory.

Tell us about the new Bougainville bar
The Bougainville Bar was born from a crazy idea to help James Reutana in Bougainville restore his drying house and keep his Cacao Plantation productive as he was about to lose it due to many years of Civil War. A kickstarter was created and so the funds were raised to achieve that. The craziest part was when Gabe Davidson and Rochelle Harrison decide to also go to the plantation and buy a tonne of the cacao beans directly from Bougainville on a Waka from Fiji to there and all the way back to Wellington. So it took them 10,000 nautical miles and 3-4 months to achieve this. This makes the Bougainville Bar a Zero Emissions bar!  (Read about the whole story here)

What’s an ANZAC cookie?
Is a biscuit that was sent to Australian and New Zealand troops (ANZAC) during WWI. The biscuit was made to last for many months and keep the troops’ morale high. It became a symbol of ANZAC and part of the commemoration.

Which Willy Wonka movie do you prefer?
Gene Wilder!!! Is the ORIGINAL Willy Wonka!

Who does all the cool artwork on the wrappers?
We have a collaboration of many local artists from many different backgrounds, from tattoo and street artists, to established painters and digital artists. This was organised by Inject Design, our brand designers.

What stages are involved in bean to bar?
Buying (beans from Sustainable and Fair Trade sources), Sorting, Light Roasting, Winnowing, Conching (stone grinding), Ageing, Tempering and Hand Wrapping. Our bars are Single Origin bars with only two ingredients: cacao beans and sugar, that’s it!

Anything we might not know about chocolate?
Chocolate has its own tasting notes and varieties just like wine and coffee.  When it’s over roasted quickly to make it bitter (as the current chocolate industry does) it becomes a dark bitter mass. So in reality Chocolate is not DARK naturally. Is made that way to create a mass product.
Cacao beans are the richest source of magnesium, potassium and are rich in iron and antioxidants if its processed in a slow, natural and artisan way without adding extra nasties (like, lecithins, emulsifiers, fat, milk solids and liquid sugar, etc.) like in the current confectionery chocolate making industry. So it is a superfood.