Uto ni Yalo – meet the boat!

Posted by Gabe, Rochelle and Sera

Here it is folks, the AMAZING Uto ni Yalo!

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We are honoured and so ridiculously excited to be taking this voyage with a boat and crew who share our kaupapa. Here marks the first attempt of the Wellington Chocolate Factory’s sustainable cocoa bean shipping program. And isn’t she a beauty!!

A short and sweet post for now, more detail to come. If you can’t wait check out the Uto ni Yalo’s trust’s Facebook page here.

So exciting!!

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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 – this 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 – chocolate makers and consumers – need 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!

A bit about the Wellington Chocolate Factory

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 and GabeRochelle and Gabe co-owners WCF

This is us!

Believing in fair trade principles, and committed to high quality ingredients to create high quality products, we (Rochelle Harrison and Gabe Davidson) opened WCF’s doors in 2013 and have met with overwhelming success.

(Gabe) – I was all inspired after a trip to New York to open New Zealand’s first bean to bar small-batch chocolate factory but then when I was at Commonsense Organics I saw Cocoa Press and realised someone was already doing it – Rochelle! We got together, had a few wines and decided to build on what she’d already established.

(Rochelle) – Like coffee or wine, real chocolate flavour depends a lot on the source ingredients, in our case cocoa beans. Unfortunately a lot of cocoa farmers worldwide are taken advantage of. Part of building our business is to find solutions that get us the highest-quality single-origin beans while giving farmers a good deal.

WCF was the first New Zealand chocolate maker to sign up to the new Fairtrade Sourcing Programme for cocoa, connecting farmers with the growing number of businesses that want to buy cocoa fairly and sustainably. It’s a great way to ensure the supply chain isn’t contaminated – and it actually helps us make better chocolate, for the taste buds and the soul!

Check out the article here

Here’s us doing what we do:

And some yummy photos:

beans in sack making chocolatebig block silo

We are located on the Eva Street laneway in the heart of Wellington; 5 Eva Street, Te Aro, Wellington, New Zealand to be exact. You can also find us here.

WCF map 2

Opening hours
Monday to Saturday: 10am to 6pm
Sunday: 11am to 4pm
Email: info@wcf.co.nz
Shop number: (04) 3857555 

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!