When Michelle Morgan returned from Central America in 2004, she held much more than memories in her back pocket.
She returned with a love and appreciation for cacao beans, and spent the next five years researching, experimenting and sourcing equipment to set up her very own boutique chocolate factory. In 2009, her vision came to life with the opening of Zokoko.
Located in the troughs of the breathtaking Blue Mountains, Zokoko is dedicated to producing bean-to-bar chocolate that is reflective of its origins. The artisan chocolate makers source unique cacao from places near and far, including Bolivia, the Solomon Islands and Tanzania, working directly with growers to ensure the exchange of ideas is beneficial for all stages of the chocolate- making process.
Responsible for the first stage of transforming the precious beans is Michelle’s husband, Dean Morgan. He has an extensive background in coffee roasting and has transferred this knowledge to cacao, gently craft roasting the cacao beans using a vintage Barth Sirocco roaster. The nibs are then crushed to release their natural cocoa butter, with oral and fruit notes retained. This process is completed between the giant granite rollers of Molly, the vintage Lehmann melangeur–broyeur, which is a prized possession at the Zokoko grounds.
From Molly, it’s onto refining and conching, where organic sugar and additional organic cocoa butter are added and refined. This reduces the particle size of the chocolate, ensuring the soft, velvety smooth texture of the end product.
The final preparation revolves around tempering and moulding, before each bar is carefully wrapped and packaged, ready to be enjoyed.
Sourcing the best beans and roasting them slowly in small batches allows the inherent flavours to emerge. They are then combined with ethically sourced and organically grown ingredients to produce truly unique chocolate treats that are made with love and respect.
Head to the cafe located within the factory to sample these creations. Watch the chocolate makers in action from the large open window while munching on one of the famous Zokoko chocolate crackles and sipping on an indulgent hot chocolate. If you’re looking for the perfect start to your day, pair the multi- award-winning Alto Beni 68% dark chocolate bar with a house-roasted coffee.
If you want to take a taste of Zokoko home for yourself or a loved one, there are plenty of products available, including the Pure Origin Tranquilidad, which features 72% cacao, or the Chale Milk, with 45% cacao. You’ll also be able to take Zokoko’s famous organic drinking chocolate home, perfect for those cold winter nights.
At Zokoko, there is no hiding the passion for chocolate and quality. The experience here is a celebration of these two things, combined with exceptional service and unmatched knowledge. With an abundance of great food, wine and adventure in the region, try something a little different and end the day on a sweet note.