Last day of our Kickstarter!! And we made it!!

By Sera Price
Woohoo everyone it’s the last day of our kickstarter!! It finishes at 5pm today¬†so don’t miss out on coming on the voyage with us and thanks again to all that have supported us so far. Here’s a special message from James himself,
Thanks Paul and James for this. And thanks everyone for your support!! We will update you shortly on the next steps and will keep going with this blog to tell the rest of this very exciting story!! So watch this space! ūüôā Thanks!!
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The Future of Chocolate and Flavour

The Wellington Chocolate Voyage is now live! Go to our Kickstarter page to become a backer, follow us on Facebook, and help spread the word!

By Rochelle

Rochelle here – Wellington Chocolate Factory co-founder. I’d like to take you on a brief journey about how important cocoa has been to humans, and how we need to keep this relationship vibrant and healthy.

Cocoa has unexpected variety, all the way from the pod

Cocoa has unexpected variety, all the way from the pod

Chocolate’s¬†original use was as an alcoholic drink made from cocoa bean pulp. It was key to ancient Mesoamerican religion and culture – they treated it like holy water. By the 14th century cocoa beans were the preferred form to eat, and and were used as a natural male enhancement pill in Mesoamerica!

Through the Aztecs and the Spanish Empire chocolate became tied into complex economies and military conquests. The Aztecs actually had a huge counterfeit chocolate problem, while the Spanish spread cocoa varietals across their vast empire.

The Industrial Revolution changed chocolate forever. By the late 18th century industrialisation was well underway and massive amounts of cocoa were being harvested. To meet demand, farmers turned towards higher yield beans Рthis resulted in many varieties and flavours being lost. Over time this also dropped the price of cocoa, which made the already horrible working conditions (slavery) even worse.

Chocolate powered the Allies in World War 2.¬†Every soldier in the US military was issued a chocolate bar¬†(the ‘D Bar ration’) as a part of their daily food. It was made with milk solids, vitamins and very little sugar. They used 25 million bars a week.

That’s just a tiny piece of chocolate’s history, and you can see it’s connected with people in many ways. Our relationship with cocoa is complex and always changing: imagine the world if it had just stayed as a bean pulp drink used by priests.

More broadly, where there is cocoa there is life. Cocoa plantations are rich ecosystems, forming part of the environment which supports rain forests and hence oxygen for the entire planet.

Our relationship with the rain forest ecosystems is complex...

Our relationship with the rain forest ecosystems is complex…

The question for the future is diversity. Chocolate can have an astounding variety of complex flavours – at least as many as wine or coffee – and the last thing we want is to be forced into monochromatic, monoculture tastes (how gray). Farmers currently are encouraged to grow hardy, mass-produced types of cocoa, and don’t get a sufficient premium for trying rarer, finer flavour beans. This also leads to decreased biodiversity, which has proven troublesome across many staple crops.

We Рchocolate makers and consumers Рneed to change that. Fine flavoured chocolate varieties should be preserved, protected, and propagated, with economic incentives for cocoa farmers worldwide to push beyond the lowest common options. Businesses like the Wellington Chocolate Factory, and projects like the Voyage are key to this, but ultimately it comes right back to every one of us and our relationship with chocolate.

Can we all learn to slow down, taste, and value the complexity of fine cocoa? There’s a huge world of chocolate out there – weird, interesting, diverse, and linked to humans throughout history – and it’s time to become explorers and voyagers again.

The Wellington Chocolate Voyage is now live! Go to our Kickstarter page to become a backer, follow us on Facebook, and help spread the word!

What are we trying to achieve through the Wellington Chocolate Voyage?

The Wellington Chocolate Voyage is now live! Go to our Kickstarter page to become a backer, follow us on Facebook, and help spread the word!

The Wellington Chocolate Voyage aims to:

  • Source local ‚Äď Pacific grown cocoa!
  • Nurture unique cocoa varieties ‚Äď encouraging farmers to grow highest quality crops and paying a premium price for their effort
  • Support Bougainville ‚Äď recovering from a 10 year civil war, the¬†Autonomous Region of Bougainville¬†in PNG is trying to develop its own economy and future
  • Support a local legend ‚Äď James Rutana helped build Bougainville’s cocoa industry, only to see it get destroyed by war and neglect. He is committed to rebuilding and we want to help him
  • Support a local business doing the right thing ‚Äď Wellington Chocolate Factory is a values driven company who make highest quality bean-to-bar chocolate
  • Do it by sailboat! ‚Äď let‚Äôs promote windpower as a low-carbon¬†alternative. Plus, sailboats are fun and romantic in all the right ways.

We are deeply passionate about this project: it brings together everything we love about making great food, building a great business, and connecting with people round the world. If you have any questions or feedback please leave a comment or send us a message via the contact page. Please support us on the Kickstarter launch date Р6th November 2014 Рto turn this awesome idea into a reality.

WCV poster

The Wellington Chocolate Voyage is now live! Go to our Kickstarter page to become a backer, follow us on Facebook, and help spread the word!