We are having troubles with our local cacao supplier ensuring we get the same product (Northern NSW Australia). Thus we are looking for something better and with more "local" origins. We currently use raw Cacao powder. Organic and fair trade is important as is carbon miles. Raw is not hugely important as we are more concerned about taste, but having as pure and natural product as possible is important (as is ethical packaging).
I've seen good things about pacific cacao (Vanuatu), Papua New Guinea (Markham Farm?) and Indonesia (Bali). There is also some fledgeling Cacao farms up in Cairns?
Any ideas from the experts and enthusiasts our there? We would love to help some farmers who are producing some high quality cacao for our mutual benefit. We don't want to get into bean processing at the moment and are not chocolate experts. http://www.iceblocks.name/
The cacao farm up in Mossman you may be talking about is very fledgling and I haven't heard about them shipping any beans yet, let along pressing them for cocoa powder. Can you use whole chocolate in your pops instead of powder? You may have better luck finding whole chocolate couverture from some of the local chocolate makers like Haighs or the others mentioned in this post:
and these guys Chocolate Farm
I'd prefer to use some form of 100% powder or blocks.
My experience with couverture (e.g. Rapunzel) is that they contain soya lecithin and added sugar. The first is unacceptable to me as Soya is a common allergen and I would like to be completely in charge of additional refined sugars. I guess cocoa butter separation and recombination that seems to be a common practice is to facilitate easier grinding to the correct size?
Do any couverturs contain 100% bean i.e. is just ground conched fermented bean maybe lightly roasted to bring out flavour if necessary? Thus the ingredient would be "Ground conched fermented [roasted] country variety cocoa bean"
I've got a couple of email to hear from yet but if they don't come through I may give Zokoko a call and see if they can produce someting from their PNG beans.
Here is some notes I've collected.
Pacific Spices Ltd. PNG www.pacificspices.com.pg
Bris Kanda PNG www.briskanda.org.pg.
They are currently working with around 1500 cocoa growers and are distributing seedlings to a larger group.
Vanuatu Organic Cocoa Growers Association (VOCGA)
VOCGA was established in 1989 and is an umbrella cooperative for ten primary processing cooperatives that supply organically-certified dry cocoa beans.
VOCGA BP279 Luganvile Santo. Vanatu. Phone. 00678 36337 / (687)7747345. Fax. 00678 36337. Email email@example.com
Alternative Communities Trade in Vanuatu (ACTIV) (www.activ.com.vu);
TradeAid in New Zealand has given them a letter of intent to begin importing cocoa value-added products (cocoa butter, powder and chocolate) once they obtain the certification.
MARALUMI 64% from Markham Plantations at Lae, Papua New Guinea. Sell to Chocolaterie Michel Cluizel (Paris, France). Markham Farm
about 30km outside Lae City along the Highlands Highway. Po Box 3419 Lae 411 Morobe Province Papua New
Nicely researched list of Pacific cacao suppliers! If you're willing to look further afield, check out Whittaker's and Shoklade in New Zealand. They may have some pure chocolate liquor available for you, which is what you were describing as "Ground conched fermented [roasted] country variety cocoa bean".
Guittard makes a product like this called "Oban" but that'd be a long way away (California) to get chocolate for you.
Another interesting little company wholesaling organic chocolate ingredients. http://www.organictimes.com.au/
How much do you make Tom? I probably dont need that much initially, we get through about 30 kg raw Cocao powder a year currently projected to rise to 80-100 kg. But obviously if it's liquour that will be more.
I've not used liquour for making ice blocks yet though which is another unknown. I guess the thing to do would be start with a kg or so and make a trial batch or two.
No replies for the hippies up north either, ive tried a "yummy" "cocao & almond" bar that contains some Australian cocoa, it was nice, but the taste of dried fig over powered the cocao and I don't personally like unroasted almond.
Definately keener on PNG, Vanuatu or Bali cocao too. It seems silly importing stuff from Peru when great stuff (in PNG's case) is on our doorstep.
I am just a hobby chocolate maker at this stage.
So your in the business of making ice blocks is that right or is that just the brand name for you chocolate?
I just realised you are not a member of the 'Chocolate Down Under' group. You might find some more info in those threads especially about Nui which makes raw chocolate bars from Vanuatu beans - they are my primary source of beans also - though I roast mine. They may be interested in helping you, Andreas is a member on here.
Which cocoa liquor you want is going to be flavour dependant, they are all quite different in this region. Vanuatu is boozy and chocolatey in flavour the Australian cacao have strong notes of pineapple and liquorice, Fiji (which Nui are also importing) are mild and have really nice honey and nut notes (similar to the beans in Samoa), Bali beans have a more orange citrus note and Papua is fruity and chocolatey - I haven't worked with beans from there myself though.
Using cacao from this region is best in my opinion, there are a range of flavour profiles, it helps our neighbours, lowers your businesses carbon footprint and saves on shipping.
We make a milk chocolate ice block. I'd like to make a vegan chocolate ice block / sorbet too. It's not our greatest seller but something we feel we need to do and a recipe we can improve upon. Current ingredients milk, cream, raw cocao powder and sugar. I'm hoping that upping the cocao butter will allow the lowering / elimination of cream. We are also experimenting with a aussie classic vegan chocolate / banana recipe but will probably blend the entire thing.
Vanuatu beans sound excellent. Papua too. Do you have a conche / melangeur? I've been instructed by my partner I've got to focus on on ice blocks and diversifying into bean processing is too far off course.
Nui is these guys? http://www.nuicoconut.com/categories/Nui-Food/
They are the ones!
Ah, I have found a few minutes to cruise the web. Love the ice blocks concept, reallly appeals to the scientist in me - I'd like to try them all, the muslie one last though I think. You should so do a rasbery and cocoa sorbet one, my wife made one one day and it was amazingly good! I experiment a lot with cocoa liquor as an ingredient and found that the cocoa butter does make for super creamy ice-cream but I haven't re-made the killer sorbet with cocoa liquor yet. I have been slowed down this summer by breaking my wrist which makes most things difficult let alone making chocolate. 22 days in the cast to go.
I have a small Spectra 10 machine which I use as a grinder and a conch, I do 1-2 kg batches at a time. All other machines or devices are the common or garden variety and I built my own winnower. It is extremelly time consuming! Also have you approached Big Tree Farms in Indo - they do raw choc and cocoa powder - Ben Ripple is on here. Just check me friends list for a quick way to find Ben and Andreas (Nui).
Good luck, hope to see some ice blocks around SA soon.
Cheers Tom that's really useful. I've got some samples from Nui coming and have tried again contacting Big Tree Farms but have yet to get a reply.
Normal ice blocks in Australia seem perfect examples of product "incremental degradation" i.e. the slow replacement of ingredients by cheaper replacements until the product is a sad parody of the original. The leading Lemon / Lemonade "flavours" don't actually have lemon in them at all.
Cacao butter sounds promising I hope it also increases the stability and makes an ice block less drippy. Can't go wrong with replacing cream with cacao butter health wise either.
Any tips on your raspberry cacao sorbet? Raspberry seeds usually need straining but I have good local supplies of the European and some access to the two Australian native raspberries. I'm betting blackberry or sour cherry would work well too. I've recently tried partly candied sour cherry and orange which was great.
It would be great to get them down to SA...
Glad to be of help, I agree on the degradation point, it is really dissapointing.
The recipe was 2 cups water, 1 cup sugar, 4 tbs cocoa powder, 3/4 cups frozen berries, 1 tbs jam of the same berries. As I said I haven't played with this but the levels of ingredients seemed good taste wize. Any berry will do, we used rasberry but the recipe actually indicates blueberries.
I look forward to partaking of an ice block when I get up to QLD next.