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Daintree Estates - Australia gets another bean-to-bar chocolate maker

Very exciting news! Australia now has four bean to bar chocolate makers (I think I am counting correctly). Haigh's, Nui, Zokoko and now Daintree Estates (www.daintreeestates.com). Check out their comprehensive website for more info, the shop is not up and running yet but soon I am told.

 

I have had the good fortune to have worked with some of the cocoa from Mango Park run by Don and the chocolate I have made from it is amazing! The flavour notes are very unusual, I get liquorice and pineapple very strongly in this chocolate.

 

Well done guys!!

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I didn't work with Daintree Estates per se, I worked with Don Murday and just before that Rick Ray a bit on how their post harvest processes related to the finished chocolate, this started back in 2009. I worked for beans; Don kindly sent beans and I sent back chocolate. As well as trying different roasts over that time I optimised formulations (dark, dark milk and milk choc) to display the unusual flavour notes and did some 'product developement' too so to speak but never official. Don did show (let taste) some of the many shipments I sent over the years to some of the execs of the operation, so perhaps that had some influence. I had a great deal of fun and gained a lot of experience and importantly got to eat a lot of very nice chocolate. The finest beans I have worked with. Post harvest processing was so good I did a copy of Pralus' chocolate coated cocoa beans and they were sensational with dark milk chocolate. I had never felt game enough to try this on any other origin I have worked with because the shell is left on in this delicacy and quite honestly who knows where cacao has been and the shell needs to be nice and thin, free of placenta, sticks, bugs, rocks, dirt and fermentation extremely consistent.
Damn I'm jealous. Is the dark milk the 45%?

I think I was talking to the right person in the right place at the right time.

 

The dark milk that I make with the Aussie beans is a 55% but that is 40% beans, I like my cacao content quite high in a dark milk, this formulation I found best to my liking, just the right amount of milk to balance with the fruit. The Daintree Estates formulation I am not sure of but suspect it is more like a 45% like you have guessed (when I see the nutritional info on the bigger bars I will be able to work it out). This bean works well at a number of different formulations below the 55% I settled on, the flavour of the bean still comes through even down to a 25% cacao bean content. I found it more challenging to formulate it at this level because I wanted to maintain the origin flavour but at that level of milk you face a lot more challenges with the physical properties of the chocolate rather than getting the flavour you want. I got it pretty damn right in the end for the milk chocolate though, I was really quite proud of that one (with nibs in it it was killer!!!).

Loved it Tom that's the way milk chocolate should be.

Oh, you got that right! Dark milk chocolate is a seriously under-represented catagory in Australia and the funny thing is it would probably be the most popular (my experience over many years of giving samples to people). I love it, you can still taste the origin but it has the lovely milk to mellow just slightly the bitterness. There are a few bars out there but they don't really say DARK MILK CHOCOLATE like the Lindt 50% which is what my wife and daughter go for when they have eaten everything I have made......which happens a lot, have a safe box with a very stern note in it, which some how doesn't seem to make one ounce of difference!!?#$%#@. Well, if I was serious I would get a small safe!

 

Oh, I finally got my Daintree Vanilla and wow! You weren't kidding just the smell alone is so delicious and potent, not as harsh and 'green' (if that can be used as an aroma descriptor) as the Tahitian stuff you can buy in supermarkets now. I need to get some of the Queen planifolia for comparison, but wow, if that is how it smells I can't wait to put it in some chocolate this weekend. Mmmm mmmm!

 

One thing is intriguing me from the ingredients list on both the 70% and 45% mini bar labels is the inclusion separately of both Cocao Nibs & Cocao Butter. Is the butter from Daintree too? Is there then consequently left over Cacao powder? Are the nibs produced by a separate company? If your in control of the entire processing (bean-to-bar) "Cacao Beans" would be the obvious ingredient?

 

I also hate the "Made in Australia from local and imported ingredients." statement knowing the way juice manufactures abuse such labelling. i.e. the only "local ingredient" being water in some juices ...

Cocoa butter is not presently made anywhere in Australia, and not using Australian grown cocoa. Consequently our chocolate uses imported cocoa butter.  In the future we plan to produce our own butter and powders, but this is unlikely within the next 12 months.  We are obligated by law to disclose that the product is made from local and imported ingredients, but can assure you it is predominantly from Australian ingredients.  All nibs are from 100% Australian grown cocoa.  The sugar is from cane grown in the same region of Far North Queensland.
 

I was hoping you were producing powder. I've seen pretty simple setups for that i.e. basically a massive hydralic ram and somewhere for the butter to go.

 

Don't know if you have tried, it but Daintree Vanilla & Spice is maybe worth trying to up the local Ozzie appeal.

 

Best milk chocolate I've tasted in 10+years maybe 20. I love milk chocolate.

Hey, thanks for the tip off Ice Blocks, I didn't know they existed, I seem to remember searching for Aussie vanilla at one stage, don't know how I missed them. I have just ordered some beans and will try them in a batch of Aussie chocolate and compare with other vanilla, see if I can detect a difference. I also quite like making a version of the el rustico Askinosie bar which has chuncks of vanilla bean in the chocolate - should taste a difference there!

It's very different :-), you will not be dissapointed.

Ooooo I can't wait, hopefully it gets here for a weekend run!

Looks like the Daintree bars are packaged, this pic is off the website

 

 

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