Wellington Chocolate Factory is New Zealand's first fair trade, organic bean-to-bar chocolate factory. The team spoke to general manager Miriam Ramos.

What is your company background, how did you start the business?

“Co-Founders Gabe Davidson and Rochelle Harrison started WCF in 2013. Gabe had just returned from Melbourne after 13 years starting up coffee shops and a coffee roastery, as well as a drinking chocolate company. Rochelle had been working as a pastry chef for many years in some of Wellington's top restaurants and had been researching making the bean-to-bar chocolate. They teamed up to open Wellington Chocolate Factory, New Zealand's first Fair Trade Organic bean-to-bar chocolate factory. WCF is the first bean to bar chocolate factory opened to the public in NZ. We are open 7 days for anyone who wants to see us roast, crush, winnow, conch, age, temper and wrap each chocolate bar, taste our products, grab a hot chocolate or get geeky and attend the chocolate tours offered every week.”

What is the current product range and variants and how do these products stand out in the market?

“We have a core range of around 10 x 75-85g bars, with some seasonal changes. We stand out from the confectionary chocolate industry because we are not making confectionary chocolate. Instead, we are using just 2 ingredients (the cacao beans and sugar) and we use artisan methods to unlock the amazing flavours that encased in the bean. Each cacao variety and origin gives you a distinctive tasting note (pretty much like wine and coffee). We are not interested in using additives or anything that can tamper with the flavour. All our single origin bars are gluten free, dairy free as well. We use some of NZ's best illustrators and artists which feature on our wrappers, which have a re-sealable stickers so people can keep the beautiful art!”

Has there been any recent company news?

“We now have a Board of Directors and Miriam Ramos has been our general manager for two years now, managing the company successfully. We have been working closely with local businesses into making special edition bars (ie. La Cubana Bar, coffee and chocolate bar using fresh roasted coffee beans from Havana coffee works). Currently we are about to launch our latest collaboration with a big brewing company and we are pretty stocked about it! We are looking forward to getting some more equipment to help us keep up with demand and are working on expanding capacity and territory. We currently have achieved distribution in Canada and are exporting to Belgium, Hong Kong and the UK.”

Where are your products currently available to buy, and are you looking at or wanting to expand your availability? 

“We are actively expanding our current New Zealand customer base, currently we are available in all major cities and most towns in New Zealand in places like Farro Fresh (Auckland) Common Sense organics, Moore Wilsons (Wellington) and independent providers, gift stores etc throughout New Zealand. People can contact us to find their nearest stockist or order our bars online through our website www.wcf.co.nz.”