Daintree Estates is the world’s first commercially produced Australian origin chocolate made from cocoa grown
in the world famous Daintree region of Tropical Far North Queensland. Daintree Cocoa is 100% owned
and operated by Australians passionate about making the finest chocolate in the world.
We chatted with Chief Chocolatier Thibault Fregoni.
What was your favourite chocolate treat as a child?
Incredibly when I was a kid you could buy chocolate cigarette packs! Very French indeed! The chocolate tasted like the paper it was wrapped in and was awful (probably compound) but it was lots of fun. It should have put me off chocolate but we also had some good quality dark 70% bars mum would buy at the supermarket to make cakes with. I remember it being wrapped in craft paper. It would look very hipster today!
How did you end up becoming a chocolatier?
I worked with a pastry chef when in Sydney 17 years ago and learned the basics of chocolate work. We worked with good quality chocolate and this was inspiring for me. At the time very few people in Australia actually knew about chocolate and it has taken a long time for the industry to develop to where it is now. I remember Simon Johnson being the only place where you could find good imported Chocolate! (French obviously!) . I then set up Monsieur Truffe in Melbourne specializing in single origins bars and fresh truffles.
White, milk or dark?
Usually dark but I love a good milk with higher cocoa percentage like the one we produce
which has 45% cocoa in it instead of the usual 35% and I also don't mind white as
long as the fat in it is only cocoa butter.
Describe your favourite chocolate in three words....
smooth, interesting, personality
Tell us about your most memorable chocolate experience?
My work now involves more plantation and post harvest work than confectionery. The first day I spent on a plantation pruning cocoa trees with one of our farmers was very special indeed. And also the first ferment really blew my mind. Chocolate involves a lot of science which I am passionate about and keen to learn more about. I am very fortunate to be instrumental in all the steps of our process from plantation to plate.
Where is your favourite place to indulge your choc-habit?
Being in the tropics I am limited to where I can eat chocolate.
You certainly can't carry any on you so usually in our cool kitchen.
Secretly solo or shared indulgence?
Often solo I am afraid.
What's the most unusual chocolate you've ever tasted?
A high quality dark chocolate from a specific plantation was a revelation to me. I think it was a 62% from a Caribbean Island which was fruity, complex and long lasting. No other flavours were added but the cocoa itself. Just like our Australian Single Origin bar, made with only two ingredients raw sugar and whole cocoa beans. I prefer a good Single Origin bar any time.
What is the mark of an exceptional chocolatier?
A good artisan master’s their instrument in order to create freely. An exceptional
chocolatier is like an artist. They need to have a strong personality and style to stand out.
I don’t consider myself as an exceptional chocolatier but I am happy to keep learning
which make my work so interesting.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
I haven't followed a traditional path so it would be hard for me to give any advice.
I am just following my passion.
Thibault Regoni is Chief Chocolatier at Daintree Estates.
Daintree Estates' delicous range is available from our Love Byron Bay Boutique,
or from our online store... love-byronbay.com/chocstore.