Where it all began
The Chocolate Bar is based in Wellington, New Zealand, and was founded by Luke Owen Smith in 2015. After years of working in the hospitality industry, with a particular focus on craft beer, Luke was excited to discover the world of craft chocolate when he met the owners of Wellington Chocolate Factory in 2013. Luke had always had a passion for deliciousness and an interest in high quality raw ingredients, so when he discovered that cacao beans could offer a huge range of flavours, just like grapes in wine or hops and malt in beer, he fell down the rabbit hole and started tasting as much bean-to-bar chocolate as he could. After a couple of years of fervent exploration, Luke realised that chocolate was his raison d'être and decided to start The Chocolate Bar, in order to spread the word of the bean-to-bar movement and help introduce people to a whole new world of chocolate pleasure. Today, The Chocolate Bar is New Zealand's premiere craft chocolate retailer and subscription service, and offers the largest collection of bean-to-bar chocolate in the Southern Hemisphere.
To learn more, check out Luke's interview with Dish Magazine.
What's special about the chocolate we sell?
The Chocolate Bar offers a range of the world's finest chocolate. We source our chocolate from small-scale artisan producers around the world, all of whom are crafting their chocolate from scratch, from the bean, using rare and heirloom varietals of cacao. These fine flavour beans account for just 5% of the cacao grown around the world, and within that 5% there's a huge spectrum of flavours to be discovered - flavours you would never find in cheap industrial chocolate. Craft chocolate makers use less sugar and unnecessary filler ingredients, making cacao the star of the show. Once you've gone craft, you can't go back!
Learn more about why we focus on bean-to-bar craft chocolate.
We believe that quality and ethics go hand in hand. All of the chocolate makers we work with use ethically traded cacao and sugar, often forming direct trade relationships with small-scale specialty farmers. Our suppliers are paying well above the commodity and Fairtrade prices for their cacao - usually two or three times more than the current Fairtrade price. This price is reflective of the high quality beans they are buying. As the craft chocolate market grows, more and more farmers are looking to grow specialist cacao varietals, as it can lead to increased income and a much better quality of life.
To learn more about quality and ethics in chocolate, have a read of Luke's article from Stone Soup magazine.
Curating a new chocolate experience
Luke takes his chocolate curation seriously. From the range of bars we stock online to our monthly subscription boxes and gift boxes, a lot of care and consideration is put into creating an unforgettable chocolate experience for our customers. Over the past five years we've featured hundreds of the world's best chocolate makers and Luke has sampled well over a thousand bars of chocolate (very hard work). We love blowing people's minds with delicious and unforgettable chocolate, and the fact that we can make a positive impact on the world whilst doing so... well that just makes this whole project an absolute dream.