The Chocolate Bar
Local lad Luke Owen Smith fell in love with the Wellington Chocolate Factory’s bean-to-bar products, and decided to delve further into the industry.
In doing so, he’s created a business called The Chocolate Bar, sourcing and selling high quality artisan chocolate from NZ and around the world (Canada, Scotland, Vietnam, Mexico, Australia to name a few).
The website is well laid out with interesting information on all products and providers, and looks like it’d be easy to purchase from once you’ve got your eye in from tastings. Luke is at the Frank Kitts art and craft market every weekend, so there’s no excuse folks.
I tried several, and leaving our own lovely WCF bars aside which we can access easily, I was taken with the Spencer Cocoa Vanuatu 72% (smooth, smokey, bacony and hankering for a whisky – trust me, I’ve had deep fried bacon chocolate brownie, so have a benchmark!); the Taza Mexican old-style hand ground chilli chocolate (a lovely grainy texture and chilli flavour, not just heat); and the Ocho Dunedin Papua New Guinea salted caramel (not sweet and with a pleasant chewy texture).
The limited edition Marou Heart of Darkness 85% went home with me and might just be my favourite. The cacao grows on an island in the Mekong Delta (Vietnam) and although having no coconut, is alleged to taste like coconut. I didn’t necessarily get coconut, but did enjoy the creamily smooth and sweet toasty experience with a pleasing backnote (maybe what others identify as coconut), so can see why it was a gold winner at international chocolate awards.
Luke plans to do some events next year, so watch out for tea and chocolate matching, and tastings at venues around town. And whip down to the Frank Kitts art and craft market next weekend (and every weekend after that), to have a tasting and solve your prezzie dilemmas.