The world’s cocoa is grown between 0 – 20 degrees north and south of the Equator, with the majority grown in the Ivory Coast of West Africa and neighboring countries, as well as northern countries of South America. Surprisingly, small plantations are also found in places like Vietnam and Fiji.
The crew at Love Byron Bay Chocolate were keen to find out if there was a cocoa growing anywhere in Australia. To our surprise, we discovered cocoa plantations in a tiny pocket of the tropical Daintree region of Far North Queensland.
Farmers in the Daintree have diversified small areas of their farming land to establish Australia’s only cocoa plantations. Having formed a co-op to grow and market Australian grown cocoa under the Daintree brand, they have found that demand for this delicious fruity, raison tasting chocolate far exceeds supply.
We visited several of the Daintree estates to learn first hand the processes involved in growing, harvesting, roasting, fermenting and creating rare, delicious Australian grown chocolate. The same growers raise the cocoa trees from seedlings, harvest their cocoa crops from mature trees on their plantations and deliver the pods to a fermentary, located on one of the Daintree estates. Here, the cocoa pods are split and the pesticide free Cacao beans fermented and dried ready to be converted into Daintree Cocoa’s uniquely flavoured single-origin and estate-origin chocolates.
Realising a decade long dream, a group of dedicated researchers, farmers and entrepreneurs have mastered the world's first commercially produced chocolate made from Australian grown cocoa. It’s as rich and warm as the landscapes, beaches, rivers and forests of the Great Barrier Reef and the stunning World Heritage Daintree National Park, on whose fringes the cocoa is grown.
Come and taste Daintree Estates dark and milk chocolate blocks, or divvy up a pack of their mixed Napolitains….perfect little stocking fillers for the Christmas season.