Forget the Dairy Milk and the Old Gold, put aside your supermarket chocolate and take a bite out of a block from one of these delicious Australian-made chocolate businesses. Celebrate national chocolate day in style!
When husband and wife team Maurice and Helen Curtis bought iconic Tasmanian chocolate company Federation Chocolate in 2014, the couple decided to take the brand in a new direction. Rather than produce chocolate for a mass-market they switched tact to transform Federation into an artisan chocolate brand that hand selects beans sourced from ethical and sustainable cacao farms to produce a quality stone-ground chocolate product renowned across Australia.
“One of the difficult things with supply chain is you can never really tell where something comes from – and a lot of difficulties with chocolate is a lot of farms where cacao is grown, deal with unethical farming, child labor and aren’t sustainable. So, for us, it became paramount that if we were to sell a product everyone enjoys, it couldn’t cause harm.”
#2. Mildura Chocolate Company – VIC
A social enterprise, the Mildura Chocolate Company is a community based organisation that is supporting services and opportunities for people with disabilities. It is an adjunct to the Christie Centre, a not for profit Disability Support Organisation.
This successful small business has an amazing team that makes chocolates using regionally sourced ingredients and sells locally from their shop and nationally using their online store. The business is focused on producing high quality chocolate products while creating a place of support, employment and career training for adults with a disability or experiencing adversity.
“We are fortunate to be able to source chocolate from arguably one of Australia’s most sublime chocolate producers, Kennedy & Wilson. They produce chocolate at their premises in the Yarra Valley using the best local and imported ingredients to create the most divine chocolate.”
Mildura Chocolate Company is proud of local producers and partners which include Murray Gourmet Salt, partners in product development and suppliers of their amazing pink salt Australian Premium Dried Fruits, suppliers of locally grown sun muscats, OLAM, suppliers of locally grown almonds, and Go Just Nuts, grower and supplier of the locally grown oranges that they dehydrate for dipping in the signature blend, blood orange chocolate.
Cyan Ta’eed’s ethical sustainable chocolate brand is on a mission to change the world one chocolate bar at a time. Ta’eed created Hey Tiger because she wanted to make a chocolate that not only tasted fantastic but was great for the cocoa industry too.
“When we created Hey Tiger we didn’t want you to buy it because you felt like it was the right thing to do… we wanted you to buy it because it’s amazing! Our mission was to make an amazing brand that just happens to be a social enterprise under the hood,” she says on the brand’s website.
Ta’eed says the cocoa industry has some big problems. “There’s a lot of child trafficking and child labour, and the industry is responsible for a lot of pain and suffering for children and families in West Africa. It felt really wrong that something that gives us so much pleasure and joy could be such a negative force in so many lives. So we decided to do something about it.”
As such Hey Tiger donates a minimum of 50c per full size bar and 25c per mini bar to The Hunger Project Ghana to fund cocoa farming communities and put an end to child labour.
#4. Noosa Chocolate Factory – QLD
Launched in 2008, Noosa Chocolate Factory began by looking after the chocolate coating needs of wholesale customers. In 2009, they began their own retail line and now they handcraft some of the world’s best chocolate pairings. With locations
“We have partnered with incredible Australian farms and use cutting edge techniques to create chocolate pairings that will simply blow your mind!” say founders Chris and Amy.
Some of these exciting products include their vegetarian Valencia orange pectin jelly slab, freeze-dried whole Victorian Strawberries, Kingaroy cocoa dusted peanuts, semi-dried chocolate coated cranberries, chocolate-coated young Queensland ginger and chocolate-coated South Australian pesticide-free Almonds.
From dark chocolate to milk and white, customers are spoilt for choice. All ranges are palm oil free and they have gluten-free options. They don’t have an online store as everything is made fresh!
#5. Cravve – QLD
Cravve’s specialty is artisan chocolate crafted from Pacific cacao. This family business produces chocolate with unique flavours from the caramel flavour of “light breaking’ Bali, the mango/banana flavours of Daintree cacao or the spice flavours of Fijian.
Each bar is a special flavour journey of the palate says Peter Mengler, the man and chocolatier behind local company who runs regular chocolate-making classes at his factory in Burleigh Heads.
#6. Lixie Chocolaterie – NSW
Located in Sydney’s Surry Hills, Lixie Chocolaterie has a boutique shopfront on Crown Street that boasts their range of organic chocolates and desserts that they make on site. On the counter you’ll find squares of brownie and truffles piled high on vintage cake stands.
Walking in you are greeted by the sweet nutty smell of chocolate and a warm smile from the lovely founder Miga Aboulian. The service almost surpasses their delicious treats – our favourite is a mug of their hot chocolate.
#7. Bahen & Co. – WA
Based in Margaret River, Bahen & Co makes stone ground chocolate from bean to bar.
“We are on a continual search for fine flavoured cacao. Building long-term relationships with farmers based on solid principles of mutual benefit, transparent and fair. By paying direct and cutting out the middleman, we exceed Fair Trade and pay prices that respect the farmer’s efforts.”
“Our chocolate can only be as good as the quality of the cacao we source. We spend a lot of time searching for these rare varieties of heritage cacao that produce the finest of flavours. To secure these sources we work hard to build relationships with our growers. Farmers dealing with farmers – we strive to deal 100% direct.”
Their beans come from Papua New Guinea, Madagascar and Brazil.
Want more chocolatey goodness? Check out this podcast with Regional Heroes’ Federation Chocolate