Monsieur Truffe looks like they're selling their bean to bar now
Thought you Aussies might be interested, Bean to bar classes being offered by Savour Chocolate School http://www.savourschool.com.au/classes.php?cPath=110_257 I hear Gap has been instrumental in getting this happening.
Here is a nice article about John Marshall and his chocolate making efforts.
Just wanted to add Matale Chocolate to the Bean to Bar list.... www.matalechocolate.com :)
I have started Matale Chocolate in June this year after leaving monsieur truffe last year.
I am based in Melbourne. check out www.matalechocolate.com
Cool stuff, yeah I had heard you had left. I shall get on the website and order some bars. Always keen to taste more chocolate!
I noticed on the Matale Chocolate website another bean to bar producer and cocoa supplier - Spencer Cocoa (http://spencercocoa.com.au/)
So I think the new list stands at:
Bahen and Co Chocolate Maker
John Marshall's Chocolate
The list is growing . . .
I have actually been curious to know about the smoky flavour of PNG beans too Tom.
The beans I used were selected by a friend who is now retired but very experienced within the industry in PNG and has worked with the growers his whole career. I also lived in East New Britain where the beans come from but I'm not certain whether I really have the tested knowledge to know 100% just yet but I do have a few theories that I hope to test eventually.
What I do know of my current beans are that they were fire oven dried however my understanding is this process if done correctly should not cause the smoke flavour. Beans are only tainted by smoke if the farmers do not replace the kiln pipe regularly or repair it correctly and this then leads to lower quality that they have to sell for less. This practice also isn't unique to PNG. In East New Britain there is an active volcano in Rabaul although I'm also uncertain what impact this may have, if any at all. Volcanic ash is certainly nothing like smoke.
In buying my beans I did attempt to get some sun dried beans although at the time the area had been flooded out so it was going to take too long to arrange. There are also other areas of PNG that grow cocoa which may eliminate the environmental factors which I can also get sun dried beans from. So, next time I purchase some PNG cocoa I will look at getting some of those to test whether they taste the same or not!
However I suspect that it is actually just the flavour of the beans and there will be little difference in taste as cocoa processing across PNG is rather standardised. In addition to this suspicion you can supposedly remove the smoke from smoke tainted beans by steaming them which I also tried with my beans. However I would imagine this practice means you lose some control over the traditional "roasting" part of manufacturing so its not something you want to do as a fine chocolate manufacturer because you should just get better beans. Anyway tried steaming them and it didn't work or at least they still smelled/tasted similar and obviously I wasn't game to make chocolate with excessively steamed beans!
In any case I feel my PNG bars are well balanced, smooth and delicious. Obviously they're not everyone's cup of tea but its interesting in that people who don't have a liking to my other bars have enjoyed the PNG bars and vice versus. I guess everyone has their own tastes but what I enjoy most is that they are so wild just like the country.