Hi. I'm new to Australia (moved here in mid-2010).
Unlike the Philippines, a cacao growing country, Melbourne doesn't seem to have pure natural cocoa liquor stocked in grocery stores. Not even the organic / health shops have them. Why is pure unsweetened baking chocolate hard to find in Australia? Is it because there isn't much demand for the product?
In the Philippines, we brew pure chocolate drinks from cocoa liquor in tablet form. I grew up with having those with breakfast. We inherited this tradition from the Spanish, who took it from Mexico. They call the cacao tablets 'tabilla'.
Anyway, I am planning to import some (http://davao.com.au) if there is interest in such a product here in Australia.
It'll be a struggle I think, based on the efforts of other chocophiles here. Amongst my non-chocophile friends, cadbury's bournville cocoa powder is the traditional chocolate drink for hot chocolate at home. Milo is the traditional drink with cold milk. Milo has such a strong tradition in our culture I sincerely doubt that you will break into that market. Culture plays a big part in people's choices, so breaking with that tradition can happen, but over a long time period, think lifetime, not a couple of years.
For those who consider themselves connoisseurs of good taste, they will most likely buy Lindt drinking chocolate for home (available in supermarkets) or have choccocino when out. We are a nation of coffee drinkers rather than chocolate drinkers and we like our coffee from an espresso machine. The barista business is big and celebrated. It certainly wasn;t that way when I was a child, except in Leichardt, Sydney... don't know how long it took to become part of our culture but it is now. So yes, there is hope. But it will take time.
For the best drinking chocolate for home I would go online and look at http://www.zokoko.com/
I don't want to dampen your enthusiasm, but I do want to be realistic, so I hope this helps.
Thanks for your detailed reply, Melanie. I also had Milo as a kid, and have recently tried Lindt. And yes, they are both good. I have yet to try Zokoko. I have heard a lot of good things about them too.
Perhaps I should instead target the culinary market more than the beverage market. There may be demand for pure unsweetened baking chocolate from them.
I was trying to contact Tava but haven't heard from them. I was wondering how they're doing (and why they stopped operations). The cocoa liquor product we're planning to bring in may be similar to their Tava bar, but everything is prepared in the Philippines as it is cheaper to do so there.
If you don't mind me asking, where do you buy your beans from? Do you get them fermented / roasted?
What about bringing in nibs? This may be of interest to those who already have grinders but find the process of winnowing too tedious.
All we need is to be provided specifications - fermentation, roasting temperature / time, and method (direct roasted or centrifuged), apart from amount.
I haven't seen any nibs in the couple of the health stores I've been to here in Melbourne. I should try visiting more outside the CBD. I've seen raw cacao powder, though, from Loving Earth and Goodness. If that's the preferred form, we can do that too. We'll mill the ground nibs instead.
Thanks for listing those artisan chocolatiers. It is an uphill climb competing against the well-known cacao producers in Africa, Latin America and the Pacific. But it's worth a try. We have yet to characterize the flavor of our Trinitario Cacao variety, but one chocolatier in the US, Askinosie, has made an award-winning chocolate out of it.
As for Tava, that's unfortunate. They have built up brand recognition already.
Mabuhay! Jason good to hear that a Filipino is promoting Tablea down under. We hope you get to popularize our very own tablea in the world. We are from KABLON FARM a producer of Pure Tablea in Southern Philippines particularly Tupi, South Cotabato. Carry on!
As you may have already known and read in this thread, there is a lot of marketing required to popularize tablea in a predominantly coffee / hot choco (ie., cocoa powder) drinking market. I'm afraid I don't have enough resources to do that yet. For the moment, I might have to focus on supplying unsweetened baking chocolate as an ingredient to the culinary market instead.
Are you based in Australia? May I know where I can buy Kablon Farm tablea here in Melbourne?
I am currently based in Mindanao. I have sent some beans to Dr. Tom Avery (see above, our mutual friend) and he has good reviews about them. He sent me too samples of the chocolates he has made from our beans and coconut sugar. We own a farm and produces cacao beans at about 20t a year, 80% are made into tableas. We hope to add more value to our products and also diversify our products being offered. Very much interested to know how to extract cocoa butter from the beans.
Glad to know a friend in Australia who loves chocolates. Sorry we do not supply australia for our tableas.