New Zealand recently welcomed an exciting new craft chocolate maker to its ever-growing bean-to-bar industry. Named after their fun-loving and inspirational grandparents, Shirl + Moss is created by Simon and Aimee Godsiff, a brother-and-sister team who three years ago decided to teach themselves how to make chocolate from scratch.

“It was a huge learning curve! I don’t think we fully understood what we were getting into,” says Simon, a cinematographer from Wellington who decided to convert his suburban garage into a tiny chocolate factory, where he crafts small batches of delicious chocolate using some of the finest-quality cacao in the world.

Simon and Aimee were raised on a sustainable family farm in the Marlborough Sounds and this experience has heavily influenced their approach to chocolate making. They make ‘single estate’ chocolate that expresses the terroir of the land where the beans grow, connecting the consumer to the farm and offering a unique and revelatory tasting experience. A lot of consideration was put into where to source their first shipment of beans, with the eventual decision to work with Fazenda Camboa in Brazil, a certified organic farm where workers are paid well above fair-trade rates and profits are invested back into the community.

“We were really impressed with the support Fazenda Camboa offer to the local school and bus network. Finding a farm that shares similar sustainable values to us is really important.”

Shirl + Moss are currently offering three bars made with these beans – a 70% Single Estate bar (containing just cacao beans and sugar), a 67% Stoneground Espresso bar, made with Flight Coffee’s Bomber Blend, and a Hazelnut, Orange & Marlborough Sea Salt bar. All of these bars are presented in stunning packaging that features contour lines from a map of the Marlborough Sounds, another nostalgic nod to the Godsiffs’ childhood. These topographic lines are incorporated into the embossed chocolate wrapper and the mould of the bar, giving the chocolate a tangible sense of place and history.

It’s rare to find chocolate that offers such a beautiful and connecting experience from the moment you pick it up to the moment it melts in your mouth.