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.
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.
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.
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:
Or just sit back and enjoy the view:
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
- (34 days)