For the second year in a row, Port Vila’s chocolate factory Gaston Chocolat harvested medals on the world stage at the Academy of Chocolate awards in London.
The Academy of Chocolate is one of the most prestigious distinctions in the world of chocolate making with over 1,200 competing in 15 categories.
This year Gaston received 3 bronze and 1 silver medals. These were won in the categories of; dark chocolate flavoured, dark chocolate with inclusion and white chocolate.
Gaston Chocolate’s team was thrilled to share the news of these international awards and welcomed Port Vila’s Lord Mayor in its new premises to take a celebratory photograph. These awards are a big step on this young enterprise’s goal to make a name for Vanuatu Cacao and Chocolate.
Gaston’s team has been working for several years now with the Cacao farmers of Malekula and developed its own training and support to the local cocoa growers to achieve high end results and quality, which is now been recognised on the world stage.
It is an example of value addition and has opened markets with USA, China, Australia, New-Zealand and as far as Europe.
The entire making processing is done locally and relies on a network of local companies with a strong commitment to buy local and invest in the local value chain.
The team emphasises on the benefits of working in close relationship with other local entrepreneurs and growing together.
Gaston has a commitment to source at least 70% of its ingredients and material locally and, when it is not available, get regional alternatives.
The chocolate bars are developed with passion to showcase the best of the Vanuatu products and artisanal craft skills.
The team is proud of its achievements and see this as a reflection of the work done upstream with the farmers.
The Bronze award bars were made with cacao from Larevat (Louis Ross and Ro-jon are the lead farmers) Dixon reef (Hon.Norbert NGPAN lead farmer), and the Silver award was for the Pinalum crew (The Buktan family) who’s oldest brother is also Gaston’s production manager Roy.
“It is an immense pleasure to see what we believe in being recognised on the international stage, but it would not be possible without the support and love of our local community, friends and chocolate lovers. 2020 has been challenging and we are thankful to the people of Vanuatu for their ongoing support,” says Olivier Fernandez.
“Lately we have been involved in a partnership supporting youth entrepreneurship and the mamas market and developed a local product that sell on streets, frozen chocolate coated bananas have been very popular and we will stick to our commitment to support youth and women in business.
“We believe in synergies and knowledge sharing to develop the manufacturing sector of Vanuatu and connect it to its agricultural roots.”
The Gaston crew will be on the deck for the Christmas time, selling at the Christmas market at Tana Russet Plaza until Saturday (today) and the Handicraft market at the Seafront or at its factory shop downtown Port Vila. Go visit the Gaston crew and share more chocolate stories.