Local Canberra entrepreneur and chocolate makers Li Peng Monroe and Peter Channells of Jasper and Myrtle Chocolates have been working with the Australian Government’s Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) to source the unique Trinitario cocoa beans from The Autonomous Region of Bougainville.
This weekend the chocolate makers will launch three new products made using the Bougainville beans: the Black Opal (80 per cent dark), Twilight (63 per cent dark milk) and their 66 per cent PNG dark chocolate now with Bougainville beans.
Canberrans can taste the new chocolate bars at the Canberra Region Farmer Market at EPIC and The Forage Market in Barton this Saturday, and at the South Side Farmers Market on Sunday.
Sacks of the Trinitario Bougainville beans arrived at Jasper and Myrtle Chocolates in February—perhaps the first direct shipment of cocoa to Australia from the island of Bougainville in more than twenty years.
Ms Monroe said ‘we were delighted to receive these beans, in particular those from a gold medal cocoa farmer we met at the 2016 Bougainville Chocolate Festival. Two of the new lines launching this weekend are from this specific farmer—Black Opal and Twilight.’
Ms Monroe added ‘it has taken a constant effort and involved many people, especially those working on the ACIAR Bougainville project, to make the first shipment of Bougainville cocoa beans possible, and we are very grateful to all. Bringing together individual cocoa bean growers and boutique chocolate makers such as Jasper and Myrtle Chocolates provides direct feedback to growers on what the market wants and stimulates both industries. A win-win.’
Dr Richard Markham from ACIAR explained that this Australian Government agricultural research project, is giving more Bougainville cocoa growers access to the technical assistance, training and technologies they need to develop the industry and link to new markets.
The chocolate festival can be seen as a turning point in the re-birth of the cocoa industry in Bougainville. Historically, Bougainville cocoa had an excellent reputation. However, after many years of dislocation, Bougainville’s cocoa producers had lost their links to buyers and the market. At the festival, chocolate makers from Australia could meet the producers personally and discover at first hand the rich diversity of cocoa available. Through this event, cocoa growers were able to talk directly to chocolate makers and understand exactly what quality attributes will earn a higher price.
The Australian Government’s aid program has a strong focus on economic development to help bolster security and livelihoods across Bougainville. The program works in partnership with Papua New Guinea and the Autonomous Bougainville Government to strengthen primary industry production, investment and trade.
Pictures available to download here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BzFIuynBAyTdd05z…
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