Jacqui from the Local Rag caught up with Simone from Raglan Chocolate to talk about their involvement in the Pacific Cacao and Chocolate 2022 Show in Auckland at Mt. Smart Stadium, 23 July
When did you start the chocolate journey?
Raglan Chocolate was established in 2017 after Mike decided he had had enough of working as a Food Technologist for ‘the man’ in a corporate job. After discovering the Bean-to-Bar ethos, he thought he could make better and more sustainable chocolate than where he was working. Raglan is very supportive of entrepreneurs and the encouragement he got to start the business was amazing. Five years in and the chocolate is selling well, instore at 3o shops, Air BnB’s and online. Selling most in our own beautiful community.
Tell us about the Bean to Bar concept
Bean-to-Bar is where the Cacao Beans are direct from Grower to Maker. The maker then is part of the entire process of creating their bars of chocolate, in house. The beans are not sent away to make the chocolate elsewhere then back to be packaged as a NZ made product. For Raglan Chocolate, we make the bars right here in Raglan, up at Dreamview, in their original food grade container where they started out from – then the bars are wrapped and sent from our house on Cambrae Road.
Tell us about the blind tasting session at Rock-it cafe last month and the show in Auckland.
We were privileged to be asked to be part of the Pacific Cacao and Chocolate show, in the capacity of Maker, not as a Competitor. Mike our maker made all the bars for the competitions – 700 of them. This meant bags of cacao beans arriving to our house from Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Bougainville, Fiji and Samoa.
It was weeks of trial roasting to get the best flavours out of the beans. Flavours such as dried fruit, caramel, nutty, creamy, liquorice, floral… so very interesting, just as you would do a wine tasting.
The judges came to Raglan to do the official judging last week, 21 July. They spent most of the day at Rock-it Kitchen, led by international Cacao Judge Grant Vinning, following international standards for their judging.
Then everyone was off to Auckland for the set up for the Show. Over 500 people came through the door, everyone leaving with bags of goodies.
The VIP night shone the light on the Winning countries:
For the overall Pacific Cup, the winners were:
GOLD to FIJI
SILVER to PAPUA NEW GUINEA
BRONZE to BOUGAINVILLE
For the Samoa Friendship Bar, the winner was Suela Cook and her daughter Tausala and their family’s Cacao Farm in Samoa.
This was very special to us as part of that prize for them is a one year Cacao deal with Raglan Chocolate. We met Suela and we look forward to working directly with this family. They supply good quality Cacao beans and we pay a good price for them. We hope to see video and pictures of the Cacao farm and would like to visit them. A true Bean-to-Bar story.
The artwork for the Samoa Friendship Bar has been created by local Raglan Artist Denise Fort. We look forward to the release of this Bar once we get our first shipment from the Cook Family in Samoa. Exciting times ahead.