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28 November, 2020

Australian cocoa first ready to go global

Chocolate makers are rejoicing with the release of the country’s only locally produced cocoa butter and cocoa powder, further cementing Far North Queensland’s status as the chocolate capital of Australia.

By Nicole Gibson

The brains behind the products are Gordonvale chocolate growers Laurence and Ginetta Marmara who own Australia’s largest cocoa farm, East Trinity Cocoa.

Two years ago they saw a niche in the market due to the volume of chocolate makers and home hobbyists using overseas forms of the products to make chocolate.

They embarked on a process which resulted in the establishment of a $1.2 million manufacturing facility, opening their doors for business last month.

“I could see what we needed to do was to multifunctionalise and give Australia something other than just a chocolate bar and to cater for all the other people who wanted to make chocolate,” Mr Marmara said.

The introduction of the products means it is now easier than ever before for businesses and chocolate enthusiasts to produce their own 100% Australian made chocolate.

Since launching the husband and wife team have sold about 500kgs of the products to producers across the country and received significant overseas interest from countries like America, Europe and Brazil.

Mr Marmara said he believed the attraction to Australian cocoa was due to farming practices and product quality.

“They (clients) know how strict we are with our farming practices,” he said.

“(On our farm) they know how strict we are with our water quality and manufacturing practices.

“We’re aiming for an excellent product, we don’t want to settle for a good product.”

Like most industries, COVID-19 caused significant impacts for the farmers who, prior to the pandemic, had a list of international clients waiting to receive their other products which include cocoa beans, cocoa paste and cocoa tea.

“I can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” he said. “We’re ready to go global.”

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