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Come with us on the voyage to make a unique artisan chocolate bar and a better tasting world. This is the new chocolate revolution.
449 backers pledged NZ$ 37,272 to help bring this project to life.

About

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NZ$ 37,272

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WE DID IT!! What a team effort, thank you ALL so much for being a part of this!

The Kickstarter pledge period has ended, but the real fun is just beginning! Visit http://thewellingtonchocolatevoyage.wordpress.com/ for the most current info about progress on the Wellington Chocolate Voyage.

If you missed out this time on being the first to experience real Bougainville chocolate fear not - we will be posting updates on when chocolate will become available so stay tuned by reading our blog or visiting our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/thewellingtonchocolatefactory.

Cheers!

The WCF team xx

Can you imagine the most beautiful tropical paradise on earth? 

And the most mouthwatering, delicious chocolate you’ve ever tasted?

We're going to bring them together and help make a better tasting world. 

We are Gabe Davidson & Rochelle Harrison, co-founders of New Zealand's Wellington Chocolate Factory, and international development worker Sera Price.

We are Kiwis with mad passions and big hearts. 

We're going to make a delectable artisan chocolate bar with rare cocoa beans from Bougainville, a South Pacific region devastated by civil war. The bar itself will be a unique taste experience of the highest quality: the voyage of making it will connect us and you with a cocoa-farming legend, a better way of doing business, and a sailboat journey across the mighty Pacific. Plus you can get chocolate!

We see this as part of a new chocolate revolution, and we want you with us on the adventure. 

Rochelle & Gabe
Rochelle & Gabe
Sera in Bougainville
Sera in Bougainville

The Wellington Chocolate Voyage will: 

1. Upgrade a South Pacific cocoa plantation – a farming community in Bougainville, led by legendary grower James Rutana, will be able to improve their drying sheds and grow a high-quality crop of unique Criollo varietal cocoa.

2. Buy a tonne of beans – literally. The Wellington Chocolate Factory will purchase 1 tonne of the resulting bean crop at a fair, premium price.

3. Sail the sparkling seas – in the tradition of legendary ocean voyages and historical trade routes, we will transport the beans from Bougainville to Wellington harbour ourselves via sailing ship!

4. Make amazing chocolate – once the beans arrive, we will use our master chocolate-making skills to produce the ‘Bougainville Bar’, a highest quality artisan treat with a unique flavour. 

All Kickstarter backers at the $24 tier or above, along with our Bougainville partners, get an 80 gram bar sent to them anywhere in the world. 

James Rutana - cocoa growing legend and our good friend
James Rutana - cocoa growing legend and our good friend

Why be part of this?

The short version: because you can get a  mouth-watering criollo-based chocolate bar in your mailbox and share in the adventure of making a better tasting world. Check out our backer rewards for some of the other goodies on offer including places on the WCF Wall of Honour, bilum gift bag packages, personalised factory tours, and even a place on the sailboat. 

(Please note the tiers are in New Zealand Dollars (NZD). You can check approximate exchange rates here.)

The Wellington Chocolate Voyage combines everything we’re passionate about: making great food, supporting ethical development and trade, connecting with people across the globe, and going on an adventure. We see this as part of the new revolution in artisan food, where mega-industrialised production takes a back seat to skill, care, and people.

By backing us you will be part of:

Supporting Bougainville and a local legend – recovering from a 10 year civil war, the Autonomous Region of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea is trying to develop its own economy and future. James Rutana helped build Bougainville’s cocoa industry only to see it get destroyed by war and neglect. He is committed to rebuilding and we want to help him.

Making truly great food – the Wellington Chocolate Factory are a values driven company who make highest quality bean-to-bar chocolate. You'll be invited into our world and get to share the inside story of creating the Bougainville Bar. Then you’ll get your very own bar to try or share or hoard!

Nurturing unique cocoa varieties –  rare and unique cocoa varieties are being lost to the dominance of lower value industrial strains. We’re encouraging farmers to grow higher quality crops and earn a premium price for their effort.

Doing it by sailboat! – Sailboats are fun and romantic in all the right ways, and there is a proud tradition of great Pacific sea voyages throughout history. Imagine being in Wellington Harbour as the first sail-driven shipment of cocoa beans in over fifty years arrives. If you’re super-keen, imagine coming on the boat with us!

Wouldn’t it feel good to be part of a better tasting world?

 What's the Wellington Chocolate Factory?

We're snuggled in the heart of Wellington city in New Zealand. We have 11 staff and are open to the public. We make organic, ethically traded, bean-to-bar chocolate of the highest quality.

Check us out, doing what we do: 

Here's Gabe giving a Tedx talk about his journey to Bougainville: 

Here's a bit more about bean-to-bar chocolate making, and why we believe chocolate is the gateway to a better world

Or just sit back and enjoy the view:

Hand-sorted cocoa beans
Hand-sorted cocoa beans
Ash, our bean master, pouring cocoa nibs into a refiner
Ash, our bean master, pouring cocoa nibs into a refiner
The Salted Caramel Tiger, our most popular bar
The Salted Caramel Tiger, our most popular bar

Why Bougainville?

Bougainville is a beautiful tropical island cluster just north of Australia, with a troubled history. Geographically part of the Solomon Islands but politically part of Papua New Guinea, Bougainville is now an Autonomous Region with its own government and economy.

In 1970 Bougainville had the world’s largest open pit copper mine. The mine contributed significantly to the development of the region, but also to its collapse. A civil war followed that lasted 10 years from 1989 – 1999 and killed 20,000 people.

The Bougainville people brought about peace with assistance from the New Zealand and Australian governments, and the new Autonomous Region hasn’t looked back! There are many challenges in rebuilding the economy and raising business confidence: cocoa growing, for which Bougainville was once internationally renowned, is a way forward.

We want to help put Bougainvllle cocoa back on the map! Making the world class artisan Bougainville Bar will help shine a positive light on the region's potential, and demonstrate that this is a great place to work and do business. 

Back The Wellington Chocolate Voyage and be part of all this!

Risks and challenges

First off, do we have the capability and resources to achieve this?
Yes we do.

Chocolate - we run a successful artisan chocolate factory with established expertise in all aspects of bean-to-bar chocolate making. Gabe has fifteen years experience running establishments in Wellington and Melbourne, including importing and exporting cocoa and sugar. Rochelle has fourteen years experience as a pastry chef in top Wellington restaurants such as The White House and Matterhorn, and is a master chocolatier. We have demonstrated capability to produce highest-quality chocolate on the production scale needed for this project.

Bougainville - Sera has extensive experience living and working in Bougainville as an international development worker. We have a strong relationship and firm agreement with James Rutana in place. There are several potential challenges - delays in upgrading the drier facilities, weather issues, political difficulties. Most of these would delay rather than halt the project, and we'll be sure to keep open and honest communication flowing with backers.

The Sailing Voyage - we are experienced in shipping commodities internationally, and have been working with officials in Papua New Guinea, Bougainville and New Zealand to finalise exact details around moving goods between the two countries in this way. We have been talking with several boat captains and owners (most of whom approached us), and are currently looking at a 42 foot ship, but can sail significantly larger vessels if the opportunity for more beans and passengers arises. The voyage itself will most likely be in May 2015, Pacific weather permitting.

Budget - our budget includes the estimated cost of upgrading the drier facilities at James Rutana's plantation, buying a tonne of beans (we have agreed the price in advance), travel to Bougainville for Gabe & Rochelle, travel for James, the ship voyage, and direct WCF production costs for making the bars. There is also a small budget for marketing and communications support. We are contributing a significant amount of our time and business resources. If we receive more backing than the initial goal, the extra will go into making more chocolate and further Bougainville projects.

In a project of this complexity there will inevitably be some unexpected setbacks and challenges. We're committed to having contingencies in place, communicating openly and honestly, and navigating the Voyage through to final success.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge NZ$ 10 or more About US$ 7

    No rewards needed other than joy at seeing this happen. You're part of the adventure with us, and we'll keep you updated through regular Voyage bulletins.

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    16 backers
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    Pledge NZ$ 15 or more About US$ 10

    Your name on the WCF Wall of Honour in our factory. Live in chocolate fame for eternity! We'll keep you updated through regular Voyage bulletins.

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    12 backers
    NZ$
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge NZ$ 24 or more About US$ 16

    Your very own Bougainville Bar (80 grams), complete with gorgeous wrapper artwork, mailed to you anywhere in the world. Your name on the WCF Wall of Honour. Regular Voyage bulletins.

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    192 backers
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    Pledge NZ$ 35 or more About US$ 23

    The Story of The Wellington Chocolate Voyage - a gorgeous e-booklet filled with photos, inside information, and deep dark chocolate secrets. Plus all previous reward tiers.

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    38 backers
    NZ$
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge NZ$ 50 or more About US$ 33

    Gift a bar! For Christmas give your buddy a delicious WCF bar and personalised Thank You card for supporting the Project. And because you're so awesome you get a bar too! And not just any bar but WCF's brand spanking new Chilli Lime Nut bar aka party-in-you-mouth!! We will send both bars to their new home in time for Christmas. We will need both addresses when the Kickstarter finishes.

    *****Please note this pledge is not included with the others. It was added later due to requests.******

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    Ships to Only New Zealand
    Limited 18 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge NZ$ 60 or more About US$ 40

    A beautiful WCF Bougainville Bilum (woven gift bag) to hold your chocolate, plus all previous reward tiers. The gift bag is ONLY available at this tier - grab yours!

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    Limited 88 backers
    NZ$
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge NZ$ 100 or more About US$ 66

    Two other delicious WCF bars of your choice, plus all previous reward tiers except the gift bag.

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    44 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge NZ$ 250 or more About US$ 165

    A full master set of 7 WCF chocolate bars, with a personalised, signed card from us all. Plus all previous reward tiers except the bilum gift bag (you get eight bars total: Bougainville bar + .master set)

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    10 backers
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    Pledge NZ$ 600 or more About US$ 396

    A private tour for two of our Factory, guided by Gabe and Rochelle (you must come to Wellington for this). Plus all previous reward tiers except the bilum gift bag.

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    Limited 4 backers
    NZ$
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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge NZ$ 1,500 or more About US$ 990

    Come to our Factory and learn the dark arts of chocolate-making! A masterclass, over a period of 3 days you will learn the craft of making bean to bar chocolate (hands on). hosted by Rochelle (you must come to Wellington for this). Plus all previous reward tiers except the bilum gift bag and private tour.

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    Limited 1 backer
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    Pledge NZ$ 4,000 or more About US$ 2,640

    The chocolate event of the year. Host your own after-hours function at WCF for up to 30 people. Your experience will begin with a guided chocolate tour, then you'll be wined and dined all evening. With all-local Wellington cuisine. You must come to Wellington for this. Plus all previous reward tiers (one set, not 30 :-)) except the bilum gift bag, private tour and the masterclass. Contact us directly to discuss different numbers of guests - and you can host the party any time from now until December 2015.

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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge NZ$ 8,000 or more About US$ 5,279

    Come on a legendary Pacific ocean voyage! Tour James's plantation with the legend himself, then join us on a sailing ship adventure across the Pacific ocean, from Bougainville to Wellington, with Pacific island stops along the way and VIP status at the arrival. This does not include airfares at either end or other related travel expenses. More spaces can become available depending on demand. Plus all previous reward tiers except the bilum gift bag, tour, masterclass, and party.

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Funding period

- (34 days)