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Malekula Vanuatu: Limited Release Single Origin Chocolate

Malekula Vanuatu: Limited Release Single Origin Chocolate


Hi there, dark single origin chocolate fans! I hope you’re excited to try a new origin… Vanuatu! Currently, it’s only available for a limited time as a part of our new Single Origin Deluxe Chocolate Gift Box! Or if you are a member of our chocolate of the month club: the Ku’ia Club, then you can purchase any previous club boxes (like Vanuatu)!

Malekula Vanuatu was March 2024’s Ku’ia Club selection. Each offering comes with a description of the chocolate written by either Dan or Gunars. Here is Dan’s letter he wrote right before his visit to Vanuatu just after we made chocolate from the beans grown there! Learn all about this unique origin’s cacao:

“Vanuatu is a volcanic archipelago of 83 islands about 3500 miles from Hawaii in the South 
Pacific. Compared to Hawaii, Vanuatu has a much longer history of cacao production going back to the 1870s when British and French settlers sought to plant alternatives to cotton. Peak production in Vanuatu was reached in the 1930s and has dropped steadily to the current level of only 1,200 metric tons per year. To put this in comparison, the annual world production hovers around 5,000,000 metric tons. Due to the explosively high cacao prices this year with prices at an all-time high, buyers have been reneging on their contracts, leaving farmers literally holding the bag. Friends I’ve worked with before in the SolomonIslands called to inquire if I could help them find a market for a shipment of beans that were abandoned by the contracted buyer in Europe. This chocolate is made from the first shipment of cacao that just arrived two weeks ago, and I’ll be traveling to Vanuatu in two weeks to work with farmers at the start of the new harvest season and help expand their market to the US community of bean to bar chocolate makers. This cacao is grown by small farmers on the island of Malekula and since the initial introduction of the heirloom ‘Amelonado’ variety of cacao, no meaningful introduction of newer varieties has occurred. This means this cacao is not only single origin but also single varietal. Interestingly, ‘Amelonado’ is the traditional cacao of West Africa but has long since been replaced by mixed hybrids of a different heritage. Some long-time, multi-generational chocolate companies even lament the loss of this original flavor that is believed to come from this variety.


Although ‘Amelonado’ doesn’t have strong fruity or floral notes associated with some origins, including Maui, it’s incomparable for its presence of deep, classic cocoa flavor although it can come along with a naturally higher level of bitterness. In this case, we taste an immediately strong cocoa base, a hit of nuttiness, and a finish with a clean and balanced espresso-like bitterness. Like all Kuia Club special releases, this chocolate is fresh off the molding line and we’ve learned that it will absolutely change in depth and complexity over the coming weeks and months so be sure to save a bit to taste how it evolves.”



Dan O’Doherty

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