In October for our email subscribers we were very excited to share the opportunity to sponsor the A1 Games, an important sporting community event on the island of Makira in the Solomon Islands!
Community activities such as Sport are vitally important in Solomon rural areas as they are constructive healthy activities that protect many young people from falling under the influence of alcohol and drugs, especially over the Christmas period.
The A1 Games, are an annual community event in the district of Arosi 1, West Makira that is hosted by a different village each year.
Over 1,000 male and female athletes from twenty two villages are coming together in late December to play netball, soccer and volleyball at the A1 Games.
The event creates positive community vibes and economic benefits around the district. This year co-founder of South Pacific Cacao, Brian’s home village of Tawatana was looking for sponsorship to help raise funds for soccer balls, netballs, netball posts and rings, soccer goal nets, and team uniforms.
By hosting sports tournaments, their village will continue to attract people, and this is an opportunity for there local people to sell their produce/products and make money for school fees and other family needs. You can follow all the updates of the games on Facebook, Click here
The games have been scheduled to commence on Boxing Day.
During October and November, our supporters purchased Makira A1 Packs from South Pacific Cacao. The results of the fundraising activities meant that we have been able to purchase iron goal posts, soccer balls, netball nets, trophies, some sporting uniforms and have had some welding work completed.
Pictures above: referee training underway in Tawatana.
Photos: construction of new netball court, picking up the newly made netball rings.
Balls and trophies sponsored by South Pacific Cacao.
The efforts to construct the sporting facilities in Tawatana have been significant. Materials need to be purchased on the capital Honiara on another island, transported by ship for nearly 2 days then landed by dinghy on a small beach.
We look forward to being able to provide further updates of the A1 Games!
I’ve written an article describing at a high level the steps that a cacao farmer / producer takes to produce cacao beans for artisan chocolate markers. I hope you find this informative. Each of the steps could be unpacked into many more articles of their own.
For those living in these local areas, our chocolate is available for purchase in person at the following locations in Sydney this weekend. It may be worth calling first to check stock. Practice social distancing and follow Government guidelines relating to Covid19!
Kingsmore Meats at 22 Plumer Rd, Rose Bay on Saturday (8am-3pm) and Sunday (9am-2pm). Phone is 9363 4971.
Paesanella Cheese Haberfield, at 88 Ramsay St, Haberfield on Saturday only. Opening hours are 7:30am – 2:30pm. Phone is 9799 0077
Dear all, we have had an amazing response from Jessica appearing on the Today show this morning. Thank you all so much for your support!
Please note that we are experiencing a lot of demand for orders and many of our products are now out of stock on the online store but are still available to order. We will be able to work through any backorders but we would hugely appreciate your patience as we do this.
Our shop at Haberfield is not open for retail, however we do have a small number of specialty shops who are stocking our chocolate bars. We will provide you with this list shortly if they have stock available.
Earlier this year I achieved one of my long term social enterprise goals when I opened South Pacific Cacao, my own boutique chocolate factory in Haberfield, Sydney with my business partner the amazing Chocolate Artisan Jessica Pedemont.
This was the culmination of a five year cacao journey, which included supporting farming communities in the Solomon Islands to produce award-winning cacao beans and establishing premium supply chains into Australia, New Zealand and the competitive European craft chocolate market.
A few years ago Jessica and I decided that we would team up to create a new social enterprise pathway that linked my work in the South Pacific with the fine artisan markets in Sydney that was front and centre for Jessica. Cacao and chocolate would be the start but the sky was the limit!
South Pacific Cacao has been a while in the crafting, but we softly opened in the beautiful foodie destination of Ramsay St, Haberfield early this year, which is Jessica’s local neighbourhood. We’ve had some lovely online shoutouts in the first few months already, including Not Quite Nigella and Timeout with a few other exciting opportunities in the pipeline.
You may be aware that after working for nearly 20 years in the IT industry, I took a break a few years ago to work fulltime on my cacao social enterprise in the Solomon Islands, supporting my local farming communities on my home island of Makira to access premium markets and earn a better and fairer income. It was very exciting at the time, however it very nearly sent my wife and I bankrupt and came with significant personal stress for the both of us. On a positive note it sufficiently accelerated my work in the Solomons so that two years ago I returned to earning a regular income in the Technology scene in Brisbane and back to spending my nights on cacao.
While time poor, this provided enough financial security again to progress another opportunity – this time with Jessica on our boutique chocolate factory!
Now the bad news which should be no surprise, we have chosen the worst time in the last 100 years to open a food business! We had planned to open before Christmas 2019, however this got delayed to January 2020 and by mid March we had to close our physical retail presence due to the Coronavirus pandemic. We also don’t qualify for any of the government assistance as we haven’t been trading for long enough.
Our short term goal at this point is simply to generate enough sales through our online channel and with our existing wholesale customers to pay our expenses (mainly rent!) so that we can keep afloat for the next 3-6 months during this uncertainty. Although Jessica runs the factory day to day, we aren’t expecting to pay any wages for some time, which is very challenging for her and her family.
Like many other local businesses, we really need your support to help us get through this time! I know that many of my IT colleagues across many industries are hurting right now, so only if possible in your circumstances, could I please ask for your support with any of the following:
5) Support the other local chocolate makers in Australia who make chocolate themselves from cacao beans, many of whom are struggling at the moment. I personally know many of these wonderful people. The full list of them here. You will pay three or four times the price of a chocolate bar from Coles or Woolworths, but this is the difference between a beautifully crafted wine and a very cheap, poor quality cask wine. Your standard chocolate bar from the supermarket will have a dozen ingredients (with high percentage of cheap sugar). A high quality craft chocolate bar only needs 4 or 5 ingredients at most, with the unique flavour in a dark chocolate coming from the single origin / single estate / smallholder farm cacao beans. Plus these chocolate makers can pay farmers up to double what they earn from supplying the Nestle/Cadbury supply chains. They certainly do if sourcing through Makira Gold.
South Pacific Cacao is co-located at 74 Ramsay St, Haberfield with Jessica’s Chocolate Artisan brand. The shop is currently closed for retail due to current coronavirus regulations however we are taking online orders on our website www.southpacificcacao.com
You can still see my Solomon Islands cacao social enterprise, Makira Gold at www.makiragold.com (Photo above at one of the cacao farms we support in Makira – Lenard Nahurua)
We are currently trialling some new technology for drying cacao beans. We introduced the Grainpro Solar Bubble Drier (SBD) to the Solomons and we arranged for a Grainpro rep to attend the Solomon Islands chocolate festival so they could demonstrate the unit. Post festival we were kindly provided with a unit by PHAMA and we have set it up in Togori village, Makira in what is the first trial for the Pacific. After the first trial we will send it down to our cacao farms at Waimarae, West Makira.
These SBDs are better than existing solar driers for a few reasons:
They still dry the commodity in rainy and overcast conditions (common in Solomons)
They are easy to ship to the end destination, packed inside a few boxes (approx 50kg total) and can be setup in 2 hours
They are easy to pack away in case of cyclones
As well as those benefits, they are even better than the usual artificial driers used for the bulk market beans due to:
Don’t need to chop firewood and maintain a fire for the 3 days+ of drying
More cost effective
We’re very excited to be leading this innovative new technology within the Solomons and also leading this for the Pacific.