I am reading Bitter Sweet Chocolate; Investigating the dark side of the world’s most seductive sweet by Carol Off.
It’s the ‘blood diamonds’ of the chocolate industry and a very well written investigative account. I am half way through the book and am resolved to stop ignoring the provenance of my chocolate.
Is there 100% Australian chocolate made purely from Australian ingredients?
Cocoa beans, the key ingredient in chocolate, grow best in the wet tropics, require lots of water and thrive in temperatures of about 18 and 32ºC. Far North Queensland is the only region in Australia suitable for growing these plants but the environment is still not ideal. For a convincing argument as to why Australia should not grow Cocoa have a look through the Tava website.
Australian Raw Qacao (ARQ) operate a cocoa farm in North Queensland. If you can wade through the ‘food of the gods’ teachings of wisdom about the blessed cocoa on their website there is some great pictures of the raw cocoa bean pods.
I realised my chocolate research had gone off on a crazy tangent when I found myself on the Abundant garden website looking at the ingivients (that is not a spelling error, the raw whole foods ‘give’ and are not greedy hence called ingivients instead of ingreedyents ) in their sacred meal packs. Abundant harvest use the dried cocoa powder from Australian Raw Qacao.
Farm by Nature (you may have seen their product at the counter in various bottle shops) claim to be growing cocoa beans in North Queensland. Louise Jansen from Farm by Nature advised me that their Cocoa Farm in far north Queensland, is a pioneering program, which the company is committed to. They have been on a huge learning curve and despite setbacks caused by severe flooding in 2008-2009 and 2010, are making progress. They hope to be using some of this cocoa from 2011 in a limited release range, but there will be inadequate supplies to use for an entire range.
Fair Trade – Single Origin Chocolate
I really can’t wait until the cocoa crops in the Daintree produce consistent harvests and the beans are used by local chocolatiers. So, I looked to fair trade single origin chocolate.
I was excited to discover Loving Earth, an Australian company that takes fair trade a few steps further and not only pay a fair price for the beans but also invest in empowering the growers with skills and infrastructure. Their work is not limited to Cocoa farms. They work with small scale cashew growers in Indonesia, goji berries and walnut harvesters in China and even an indigenous harvest association in the Northern Territory.
Loving Earth makes its products from scratch in Melbourne using single origin free trade ingredients sourced mostly from Satipo, Peru. They stock a full range of raw organic cacao products including beans, nibs, powder, liquor and butter.
The Chocolate bars are truly unique and apparently healthy! The products are minimally processed with low temperatures to retain maximum nutritional benefit.
I wanted to make a flourless chocolate cake using the Loving Earth organic raw cocao powder. I went to Wray Organics in Indooroopilly to buy some of this seductive treat. For a full list of stockists of loving earth by state click here.
Desserts require a level of precision so I found a recipe for flourless chocolate cake on the Healthy Chef website.
The result was a soft rich cake that needed a bit of cream to really bring out its full enjoyment.