Chocolate, one of the worlds favourite foods can be very confusing to buy because of the terms and claims that many chocolate manufacturers make.
That’s why at Charley’s Chocolate, we make sure that you know as much about the chocolate making process as possible. We believe that the more knowledgeable you are about how chocolate is made, the better you’ll be able to appreciate what makes ours some of the best Australian chocolate available today.
Not surprisingly, to make the very best dark chocolate, you have to start with the highest quality cocoa beans and then use the best and most natural process possible. Charley's Chocolate is 70% cocoa and is handcrafted on site in Mission Beach from cocoa bean to chocolate bar, or from cocoa pod from the trees through to the chocolate bar.
We use only traditional granite stone conches in a slow labour intensive batch process. The end result is well worth it. It’s awesome chocolate and the judges the Australian Food Awards agreed, awarding us Gold, Sliver and Bronze Medals as well as the overall trophy for the best chocolate bar in 2016 and 2017.
We’re confident that our Charley’s Chocolate will be some of the finest chocolate that you’ll ever taste.
THE SECRET TO BUYING GOOD CHOCOLATE
Buying chocolate online or in person can be confusing because of the terms and claims that many chocolate manufacturers make. That’s why at Charley’s Chocolate, we make sure that you know as much about the chocolate making process as much as possible. We believe that the more knowledgeable you are about how chocolate is made, the better you’ll be able to appreciate what makes ours some of the best Australian chocolate available today.
SO WHAT ALL THIS SINGLE ORIGIN STUFF ABOUT ?
“Single Origin” means that the beans used to make the chocolate are grown in one specific area, estate, or farm. This produces chocolate with a more distinctive taste, showcasing the unique flavour notes peculiar to that region or estate. Everything – from the quality of the soil in that specific area to the weather conditions of that particular season – can be reflected on the batch of beans used to make the chocolate. This results in chocolate that’s richer, more natural, and undeniably “special”.
On the other hand, bulk beans used by mass producers and most commercial chocolate manufacturers have few discernible flavour notes at all. In fact, individuality is deliberately “blended out” by these manufacturers in order to produce a standard, uniform taste for every single bar that they produce. Although mass produced commercial chocolate may indeed have a more uniform taste, the way they’re usually made also takes away most of the beans’ natural flavours.
In many ways, this makes chocolate similar to wine. In the same way that fine wine relies on the quality of the grapes that it’s made from, so does fine chocolate rely on the quality of its cocoa beans. Simply put, the better the beans used, the better the resulting chocolate.
At Charley’s Chocolate, all our chocolate is Single Origin Bean to Bar or even rarer "Tree to Bar" and completely Australian made. Our Australian Origins are Shannonvale northwest of Port Douglas, King Ranch from the Tully River Valley and from Mount Edna at Mission Beach, Queensland – where Charley’s Chocolate calls home. We also use cocoa beans sourced from our Pacific Island neighbours, namely Solomon Island, Vanuatu, and Papua New Guinea.
If you want chocolate that’s closer to the way it was meant to be made, then Single Origin chocolate like ours is the way to go.
IS THE COCOA CONTENT PERCENTAGE THE BEST GUIDE ?
Not only are our premium chocolates produced from Single Origin beans, but it’s also made of 70% cocoa.
At first glance, this may seem ordinary or perhaps unimpressive. After all, you’ll often find chocolate in grocery stores to have as much as 90% cocoa content. But don’t be fooled by these high percentages. Many mass producers quote high cocoa content because they believe that you – the consumer – relates high cocoa content to high quality.
But high cocoa content is NOT necessarily a guarantee of quality. In fact, in most ordinary, mass produced chocolate, this is often just a ‘sales gimmick’. That’s because chocolate claiming a 90% cocao content can still be made with inferior, cheap beans with little flavour! So although it may indeed have 90% cocoa content, it won’t necessarily be any better than those with lower amounts of cocoa content. In many instances, it may even be inferior.
This is mostly a case of quality versus quantity. When it comes to chocolate and other fine food, the quality of the ingredients usually matters more than its quantity. That is, a small amount of high quality ingredients often produces better results than one with higher amounts of lesser quality ingredients. This is especially true if you want chocolate with richer and purer flavours. When it comes to making fine chocolate, you’ll always be able to discern the quality in its taste.
At Charley’s Chocolate, we believe that this balance of 70% high quality cocoa is just right. We’ve conducted extensive testing and experimentation for various cocoa content, but none have given the same balance of taste, flavour, and texture that our 70% cocoa content variety provides. We believe this percentage brings out the best in our chocolates, and our countless satisfied customers seem to agree.
Aside from this, we only use the highest quality ingredients, namely cocoa mass (also called cocoa liquor) produced from the cocoa beans, natural cocao butter, sugar and a small amount of lecithin. We strictly do not use any additives, artificial flavours, stabilisers, or preservatives. We know first-hand that the higher the quality of the ingredients, the better the chocolate will be. That’s why we see to it that the ingredients we use are as high quality and natural as possible.
SO WHAT ABOUT "BEAN TO BAR" AND "TREE TO BAR"
ALL our chocolate is handcrafted from “bean to bar”, or "tree to bar" which is all part of the ever growing world wide “paddock to plate” phenomenon. “Bean to Bar” is about producing chocolate directly from one type of cocoa bean that comes from a single source. This produces chocolate that’s more flavourful and unique in taste, making it different from most of the mass produced commercial chocolate in the market today. "Tree to Bar" takes this a critical and huge step further, where the cocoa is grown, the pods opened and the beans processed and made in to chocolate all in the one place. This is very rare and only a handful of places in the world do this. Charley's Chocolate Factory is one of them!
Here’s how we make our premium line of Charley’s chocolate:
The beans are carefully roasted and then winnowed to crack the beans, separating the shell from the cocoa nibs. These cocoa nibs are then milled ready for the next step. After this, it’s conched for up to 60 hours to produce outstanding fine quality chocolate for you to eat. This lengthy conching process is expensive and is therefore not used by the mass producers who are often driven by price. At Charley’s, however, it’s an expense that we’re willing to take in order to produce the highest quality chocolate that we can make.
When the conching process has finished, the final process of tempering then takes place. This stage stabilises the chocolate and prepares it for moulding into bars.
As you may have noticed, this entire process takes plenty of time, effort, and resources. But at Charley’s, we won’t have it any other way. We know that there are no short cuts to making great chocolate. By doing this as meticulously as we can and using only the best and purest ingredients, we let the chocolate “speak for itself”.
LEARN MORE ABOUT CHOCOLATE
Chocolate is clearly our passion at Charley’s, and we’re committed to spreading its joys and wonders to all our customers. That’s why we actively seek to educate people about how chocolate is made and show them how amazing fine chocolate can be.
Here is how we do this.
First is through our widely popular Charley’s Chocolate Tours. If you want to know more about what makes fine chocolate like ours so special, then you definitely can’t miss this tour. These tours give you a comprehensive experience of our entire chocolate making process, from walking through our cocoa plantation all the way to our production of the chocolate bars themselves. Simply put, it’s a complete tour of the “bean to bar” experience. There are only a handful of tours of this kind in the entire world, and ours is the only one in Australia.
See how we grow our own cocoa trees, learn how we produce chocolate from tree to bar, and, of course, taste freshly made chocolate. After all, there’s no better way to learn how chocolate is made than seeing (and tasting) it for yourself.
BUY CHOCOLATE ONLINE
For some of the best chocolate in Australia, you have to try Charley's Premium Chocolate. Our chocolate is a work of love, and we’re passionate about providing our customers with the most extraordinary chocolate that we can make. This means using only the highest quality ingredients and ensuring meticulous craftsmanship in every step of our process.
If you have any questions or enquiries, feel free to call us on 07 4068 5011. You can also contact us through our online form here on our website.
To buy chocolate online in Australia, click here.