Chocolate has always fascinated me and lately I have gravitated to much darker varieties. In fact, I now normally eat bars with at least 85% cocoa content. Recently, I wrote several articles about chocolate makers in Australia. Some of the micro brands I featured are so small they only sell via local markets. However, their products have really heightened my passion for this amazing craft. This is why I have become very intrigued in the manufacturing process and what differentiates it from supermarket confectionary. One person who has recently educated me is Marie Monmont owner of Wellington (New Zealand) based company Wildness.
As a trained chef Marie has travelled the world and appreciates very fine food. Like me she is also pretty obsessed with healthy living and definitely believes less is more. By that I mean savouring much more intense flavours in smaller quantities. That is why it is not surprising she decided to establish her own micro food brands called Wildness Chocolate. However, this is a chocolate company with a very interesting difference.
Over the last few months I have had the privilege of tasting some the of the finest chocolate money can buy. Certainly all the brands featured in my ‘Art of Australian Chocolatier’ articles take this craft to different level than I have previously experienced. Many of them are using unusual ingredients like Wakami Seaweed, medicinal mushrooms, rose & black pepper, bush foods and many more exciting combinations. However, Wildness are using a fruit (I have previously never heard of) called Cupuaçu. This exotic fruit is native to the rain forests of Brazil and is often used by cosmetic industry in hand lotions. It also contains many other health benefits due to antioxidants, digestive qualities and pain killer properties. Although the taste has a rich sweet density and works in perfect harmony with the cacao bean.
Certainly Marie is very passionate about good food and experimenting with different flavours. However, because of her formal training as a chef and love of French cooking she has been able to strike exactly the right balance. Simply put, her chocolate is absolutely delicious and definitely should be consumed slowly. All the bars are absolutely moorish but my personal favourite is Cupuaçu chocolate with cashews.
Interestingly Marie Monmont employs prisoners (via New Zealand’s Department of Corrections) from Tawa and Rimutaka prisons to package all her chocolate. This radical environmental and social initiative called ‘Behind Bars’ is designed to employ prisoners who otherwise would have difficulties finding jobs. As well as getting paid, it also teaches them crucial entrepreneurial skills that can later be used in industry.
Not surprisingly Marie Monmont has got enormous recognition for Wildness, her ‘Behind Bars’ project and of course her exquisite chocolate. In fact, her delicious products are now being bought by Intercontinental and Accor hotel chains, Supermarkets and many up market restaurants.
For more information about Wildness Chocolate follow this link