After establishing themselves in 2013, Gabe Davidson and Rochelle Harrison have put their passions for chocolate and coffee together to produce organic, ethically traded, bean to bar chocolate of the highest quality. Harrison brings to the table 20 years of experience as a pastry chef, while Davidson utilises skills learnt from a previous Melbourne coffee and chocolate business.
What is your company background, how did you start the business?
"Our founders, Gabe and Rochelle both came from a hospitality background and met in 2013 to open the first bean to bar chocolate factory open to the public in New Zealand.
"Since opening in late 2013 at Eva St in the heart of the city, Wellington Chocolate Factory has been featured in the Dominion Post, Capital Magazine, Mindfood, FishHead, and won many awards including Supreme Cuisine Artisan Awards for 2016."
What are the current product range and variants and how do these products stand out in the market?
"Our chocolate story starts with meeting the farmers and bringing the best single-origin beans into our factory from across the globe. Then we roast, crack, winnow, conch and temper, producing batches of strong, luscious organic chocolate. Legendary New Zealand artists add their dash of inspiration, infusing our wrappers with original designs. Every bar has a story to tell. Our chocolate is made just with real roasted single-origin, Fair Trade Certified cacao beans and Organic cane sugar, no milk, no cocoa butter, no additives, no emulsifiers, just real ingredients sourced locally."
Has there been any recent company news?
"We have many exciting products in the pipeline! Our very first drinking chocolate range and a few products in collaboration with amazing local brands."
What are the plans for the business moving forward, is there any expansion on the horizon?
"We have been in constant growth since we started. We opened December 2013 with only five staff making just about 200 bars per week and in 2 years we are a whopping team of 25 passionate people making 2000 bars weekly!
"All hand made and wrapped. We would like to make a tonne of chocolate a month but keep our artisan practices so quality remains the same."
Where are your products currently available to buy, and are you looking at or wanting to expand your availability?
"We are now stocking nationally to almost 200 places, including Intercontinental Hotels. In Wellington, you can find us in Moore Wilsons, Commonsense Organics stores, NW Thorondon, Miramar, Iko Iko, Te Papa, City Gallery, etc.
"In Auckland, we are stocking Farro Fresh, Nosh and many cafes and speciality stores and all around the country. We have also started to export to Australia, Honk Kong, Belgium and UK."