Way back when I started Perth Food Journal, I endeavoured to showcase local produce available in Australia and promote local businesses. As much as I loved food, I felt like my knowledge was lacking when it came to the local Australian food scene and I wanted to know more about what is available. During the years I’ve been blogging, I feel as though this food scene has been consistently growing and the gap between local producers and consumers is becoming smaller and smaller, with excellent local produce becoming easily available.
I was contacted by Matale Chocolates, an artisan chocolatier based in Victoria, to sample their quality dark chocolate a few months ago. Matale Chocolates is a relatively new business (opening in May 2013), which was initially inspired by the US “bean to bar” movement that refers to the process of converting cocoa beans into chocolate bars. In America, there are an impressive number of artisan chocolate companies, whereas in Australia it’s a relatively new concept which Matale Chocolates is hoping Australian’s embrace.
When it comes to chocolate, I have to admit that I don’t often branch out from my usual favourites (Cadbury and Lindt) and was interested to try the Matale Chocolates. Before I received the bars, I read that Matale Chocolates aim to produce a range of quality chocolate made from cocoa beans as ethically as possible, which is an aspect I particularly admire. Matale does this through sourcing quality cocoa beans, mainly through co-ops and farmer’s associations (which offer training for good post-harvest processing, better quality beans and often higher wages). Matale also believe in promoting the creation and development of co-ops to ensure a better future for the farmers and the chocolate industry as a whole – something I am happy to support through my chocolate consumption!
Matale have four bars of chocolate currently available, including:
- 70% blend 1, Madagascar and PNG ($8.50)
- 72% dark Malekula plantation, Vanuatu ($8.50)
- 74% dark Kulili plantation, PNG ($8.50)
- 68% dark Somia plantation, Madagascar ($8.50)
I was lucky to receive the 68% dark somia plantation (Madagascar) and 72% dark Malekula plantation (Vanuatu).
I opened the 68% dark Somia plantation block first and loved the simplistic packaging. When A and I sampled our first piece of chocolate, we were pleasantly surprised with the fruity undertones we could taste. At 68% cocoa capacity, it was a little less than what A usually chooses to eat but she thought that it still had an intense cocoa flavour with minimal bitterness.
When we opened the 72% dark Malekula plantation block a few nights later, we noticed that the 72% looked a lot darker than the 68% block. A loved this block, as it had a very rich flavour of cocoa but the bitter aftertaste wasn’t overpowering like other dark chocolate can have sometimes. This bar was definitely the favourite of A and I.
Not only is Matale Chocolates locally made with ethical processes in place, it is also dairy, nut and gluten free – perfect for those who have dietary restrictions.
If you’re interesting in trying Matale Chocolates, you can buy their chocolate from their online store, with postage being an additional $4 for one bar, $5 for 2, $6 for 3 or $8.50 for 4. If you buy 5 or more, there’s free shipping (an incentive for the hardcore chocolate lovers!)
Alternatively, there are a few stockists in Australia, including ACT, NSW, SA, VIC and TAS.
Special thanks to Thibault and Eloi from Matale Chocolates for providing me with these gorgeous samples!