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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.

Thanks.

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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.

cheers, Melanie

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.

You can get pure cocoa liquor from a little Spanish shop in Adelaide called El Choto, it is Luker brand. Or you can get the Willies Cacao from a few high end stores such as Jones the Grocer. The Luker stuff is ok, but no substitue for grinding your own cocoa liquor, the Willy stuff is good but super expensive and a little over roasted.

The trouble with the pure cocoa liquor is that Australians dont use it culturally, they just dont know what to do with the stuff.

I can understand your wanting to get your hands on some, there is no substitute for making hot chocolate drinks, cocoa powder just doesnt cut it.
Your test cae is Willies Cacao, he has entered the market with a high priced product and two cook books on the back of two TV series about his chocolate. The importer is Apromo Trading, I dont know that is tis doing that great? I see a cheaper product working better and maybe in the culinary area, you would have to do heaps of promoting the use of it though and exponding its virtues over cocoa powder. Not impossible but a lot of work to make it work I would think. Also Asian And Indian grocery stores might be good places to stock as the knowledge of its use is better and I did hear of a Brisbane Indian Grocer was stocking beans a while back.

Oh now I think of it Tava, a company that now isnt operating sold beans and cocoa liquor bars for cooking. They were doing quite well, but it wasnt huge business I dont think.
Personally I would love to see you get some product in here, I make all my own chocolate from the bean and use the liquor in all my cooking and drinks, there is no substitute!

Thanks, Tom.

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 have been getting a lot through a company called Nui who do a lot of coconut products, they import from Vanuatu and Fiji. Also I used to get a fair bit from the Australian farmers and still get some from ChocolateAlchemy website. I have also done the odd job for plantation owners in Samoa and the Philippines who want feedback on their cacao and how it translates to fine eating chocolate, i provide a critique of the beans and chocolate and send samples of the chocolate back so they can see first hand what I am talking about in my critique. I worked with some pretty outstanding cacao in 2010. All beans are fermented and dried, i prefer to roast myself, all is on a kitchen scale as a hobby, been doing it for on 5 years now.

As for nibs, they are pretty popular in health stores now and even supermarkets, they sell for a fortune, like $10 for 100 g, they are also great for cooking with if you wanted to sell them along with your cocoa liquor product.

There are only literally a handful of hobby chocolate makers around Australia, so dont know there is a huge market there. However there are some new companies that are bigger that might be interested in more volume such as Zokoko, Cicada Chocolate, Monsuire Truffe in Melbourne and there is some place in the Gold Coast too, they post on here sometimes.

Oh and Tava as i understand it ran out of money fighting with a local council about factory planning, then lost their mojo for the project I think. They havent opperated in about 3or 4years.

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.

http://www.askinosie.com/p-75-77-davao-philippines-dark-chocolate-b...

As for Tava, that's unfortunate. They have built up brand recognition already.

I have tried that bar and it is very nice, very different from the flavour of the chocolate from beans i used from the Philippines. That is proably not surprising as flavour varies so much with post harvest practices and roasting. That is a good recommendation, we used to have an importer bring Askinosie into Australia, maybe they still do? The nibs are done by a brand called Power Super Foods, hte website is a dot com dot au one, check it out. They sell raw stuff, tastes pretty horrible, cocoa needs to be fermented and roasted for me.

Do you press butter, because there is probably quite a good market for that, chefs use it a lot and if it is of good flavour with the cocoa aroma still the you might have a unique selling point. I would certainly buy cocoa butter, i use about 8-10kg of the stuff a year myself in chocolate making, i just use the Callebaut stuff or Felchlin deodorised.

There is also Haighs in Adelaide but they may be worth a try?

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!

Hi, Ernesto.

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?

Thanks!

Hi Jason,

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.

Regards,

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