Spotlight: The sweet taste of success


Australian chocolatier Dean Morgan of Zokoko is one of an increasing number of gourmet chocolate makers discovering that the fine cocoa flavour of Papua New Guinean cocoa makes excellent gourmet chocolate.

credit: Zokoko

credit: Zokoko

Dean Morgan’s search for PNG cocoa started with a call to Pacific Islands Trade and Invest to source coffee beans for his coffee roasting business. Soon he was looking at other PNG spices and then cocoa for his ‘bean-to-bar’ chocolate-making business, Zokoko, which supplies high quality chocolate to Sydney’s top restaurants and cafés.

‘Pacific Trade and Invest were fantastic. We’re looking for something a little bit different—fine flavour cacao which is either organically certified or at least sustainably produced,’ says Morgan, whose company already manufactures chocolate with cocoa sourced from countries such as Bolivia and Ecuador. ‘PNG cocoa has a dominant cocoa note on the finish and a nice fruit note up front. It makes good plain chocolate and even better milk chocolate.’

Morgan has now sourced cocoa from PNG suppliers such as Agmark, the Komgi organic community in East New Britain and Induna Cocoa and works closely with growers to ensure that the fermentation and drying processes in PNG produce cocoa of a consistent quality.

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The Papua New Guinea name features prominently on the chocolate bar label. The origin of the cocoa used in the finished chocolate bars is a clear selling point with connoisseurs, as Morgan explains: ‘The market for PNG chocolate is definitely there. We’re not in a position to compete with the Cadburys and Nestlés of this world, so we focus on quality. All our labelling is down to plantation level, like wine. We even include the vintage and batch numbers on the label.’

The higher price Zokoko is able to charge for its premium chocolate has not only allowed investment in additional plant to boost production; it also means there is more money to share with the PNG grower. This will undoubtedly help encourage even more farmers to grow this increasingly important agricultural commodity.

This article first published in Business Advantage PNG 2011/2012

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