A taste of Paradise: the journey of PNG’s first commercial chocolate

For over 100 years, cocoa has been a driving force behind commercial agriculture in Papua New Guinea. But until now there has been little local use of PNG cocoa; instead, large quantities have been exported. In 2011, Paradise Foods Limited embarked on a new project to process PNG-grown cocoa beans into world-class single-origin chocolate couverture, investing in the establishment of a pilot plant in Port Moresby.

Packaging the chocolate. Credit: Paradise Foods

Packaging the chocolate. Credit: Paradise Foods

‘Our chocolatiers have been developing fine covertures using recently developed equipment that is able to process PNG’s unique rich cocoa beans to chocolate from a single source,’ says David Peate, Managing Director of Paradise Foods. ‘This means we are able to use the whole bean without any additional cocoa butter, which has resulted in a very pure, rich taste.’

The finished Queen Emma chocolate

Paradise Foods, through its Queen Emma Chocolate Company, has developed three types of chocolate: Dark Couverture, Lovina Milk chocolate and Queen Emma Gold, each with a distinctive taste profile.

100% pure PNG product

The Dark Couverture is produced from a single-source Cocoa Bean from plantations in New Britain, Bougainville, Sepik, Kokoda, Madang and Morobe. Peate says ‘It is 100% pure PNG product. It is made out of 75% cocoa liquor, Ramu sugar and organic vanilla that is all grown here in PNG. Even the box is made from local kunia grass!’

Executive Chef of Port Moresby’s Crowne Plaza Hotel, Gavin Wilcock, has been testing the Queen Emma dark couvertures: ‘The PNG dark couverture has a very distinct taste,’ Wilcock declares. ‘It has a biting, beautiful flavour that makes the palate beg for red wine.’

In contrast to the dark chocolate couverture, Lovina Milk chocolate and Queen Emma Gold display light and delicate chocolate flavours.

Quality assured

The process begins with the sourcing of highest quality cocoa beans from the growing regions of PNG. After initial post-harvest processing, the beans are brought to the plant in Port Moresby, which converts them into fine dark covertures.

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‘We would like to ensure that PNG gets international recognition and benefits from the crops that we use’

The Queen Emma chocolate brand is building on PNG's excellent reputation as a producer of full-flavoured cocoa.

The Queen Emma chocolate brand is building on PNG’s excellent reputation as a producer of full-flavoured cocoa.

Beans are cooled and checked before being transferred to a winnow, where the shell is separated from the cocoa. The cocoa is then ground to a fine paste and transferred to the ball mills where the sugar and other ingredients are added The chocolate is milled for a number of hours to develop a fine texture before being transferred to the chocolate temper. After tempering, the chocolate is poured into moulds to cool before the packaging process can begin.

‘We would like to ensure that PNG gets international recognition and benefits from the crops that we use,’ Peate emphasised. The project also represents a new career opportunity for Papua New Guineans, as well as contributing to the development of other PNG-made products.

This article first published in Made in PNG 2012

 

Comments

  1. Ephraim Kavon says:

    Thank you Queen Emma chocolate for making a break through in the chocolate industry in Papua New Guinea..
    It is by now that the agriculture department put more emphasis on the cocoa sector to improve the quality of our very own organic cocoa to suit the quality taste which will than brand our cocoa as one of the best cocoa in the world..please can you give me the price of a carton chocolate if I were to place an order.?

  2. This really a way forward for our cocoa farmers and I am so glad to read this great initiative by Paradise Food PNG.

    The PNG Cocoa farmers are behind Queen Emma Cholote. You have gone a direction where there is untapped benefit. You have long way to go but you alone will be there and no others. God will surely bless you for helping His people.

  3. I am overwhelming excited since something is done now for our farmers for a gain in there sweat in cocoa husbandry.

    I work for Cocoa Boards project development division and I really appreciate the steps taken by Paradise foods with coming up with the queen emma company. I fully give my support for their initiative to add value to our own produce and make it a unique and world class chocolate.

  4. Tracey Masing says:

    Congratulations Papua New Guinea and the Queen Emma Chocolate Company for the initiative to produce our own chocolate from our own locally grown cocoa beans. I am so impressed and supportive of the PNG – made products; however, it is very sad to see the prices of PNG – made products sold at higher prices in the shops. To promote our own products, why can’t we sell them at a reasonable price that is affordable for Papua New Guineans to purchase. Currently, chocolates imported are selling at K12 – K30 approximately. I wonder how much would the PNG – made chocolate be selling for?

  5. Benjamin Sipa says:

    To have chocolate bars were use to be the case of importing from elsewhere. It is such with enthusiasm to have local company to go that far. If we can grow cocoa here, what’s stopping us from producing chocolate bars on shore?
    I remember, the Queen Emma chocolate was on the Paradise Magazine and I am hoping that things may have gained momentum by thus far.
    Thanks to Paradise Food for taking such an initiative to venture that far. It makes a lot of difference when taping into an un-taped area locally. It does not necessarily raise the profile of the the company but it also prints a different picture of the country in attuning to cope with the know how.
    From what I read, Queen Emma chocolate seem to have the characteristic to be among top, I will be happy to see it venture farther and have the top cocoa beans to produce here on shore. Not sure whether we have exported the manufactured bars yet, however I am hoping that it should be what I wish to hear.

    Let me end here, thanks!

    Benjamin Sipa

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