Temotu – the remote islands

The Temotu province (formerly known as the Santa Cruz islands) is the easternmost province in the Solomon Islands. A ship will take three days to get from the Temotu province to the main shipping port of Honiara.

Temotu Province (Source: Wikipedia)

Our Temotu Dark Chocolate bar is made from cacao beans that come from farmer Philip Lepping on Santa Cruz island (marked with red star on the map) in the Temotu province. The photos below are the ship that carried his bags of his cacao beans and show how they are being unloaded at the port in Honiara. These jute bags filled with cacao beans are regularly 80-90kg each and can be very heavy work moving bags around of this size.

Preparing the bags to be lifted off the ship.

The beans are taken by truck to the cocoa storage facility. There they are weighed, inspected, quality checked (using a bean guillotine to check fermentation quality and and checked for moisture content using a moisture meter), hand sorted to remove dried pulp, flat beans, double beans etc), rebagged into Grainpro hermetic storage bags and then placed into storage until ready for export.

For exports to Australia, they are exported in 25kg bags, while for exports to Europe they are exported in 62.5kg bags.

Once the beans arrive in Australia, then Jessica and the team in the South Pacific Cacao shop will again hand sort the beans, carefully roast them and allow them to cool, then put them into the special winnowing machine which cracks and winnows the nibs to separate them from the bean husk. Then the cacao nibs and sugar are stone ground in the chocolate melanger for a number of days, before being decanted from the melanger and aged.

Once the aging is complete, the chocolate is melted, tempered, poured into chocolate moulds, once the chocolate is ready it is released from the moulds then each bar is carefully hand wrapped.