David Herrick is the latest chocolate maker to emerge in New Zealand’s blossoming craft chocolate scene and he’s already turning heads with his exquisite and unique bars, all of which are created in his tiny home-factory in Mahurangi. Along with his wife Janelle, who looks after the design, illustration and branding, David has just launched Foundry Chocolate, a micro-batch chocolate company dedicated to producing high-quality, single-origin chocolate.

After sourcing cacao beans from all corners of the globe, from Ecuador to Papua New Guinea, David spent two years honing his craft and perfecting the art of ‘two ingredient’ chocolate (containing only cacao and sugar). “I love the remarkable flavours that can be accentuated with just two ingredients. People continue to be amazed that there are no other flavours added yet they are experiencing all these different tasting notes: from floral to citrus to honey to caramel to warm spices – which is just the personality of the cacao coming through and our healthy obsession for the preservation of provenance.”

These distinctive and vibrant tasting notes in David’s chocolate are a joy to discover, and the exceptional quality of the chocolate is the result of years of trial and error, meticulously testing different roasting profiles, grinding techniques and conching times. When you make chocolate in such small batches it allows for much greater control over every step of the process. “I’ve been known to set alarms to check how a chocolate batch is going in the middle of the night – factors like humidity, temperature and the beans themselves are all ongoing variables that on a micro level you can respond to very quickly.”

As for finding the best beans to work with, David sources certain origins from ethical distributors, such as Meridian Cacao and Uncommon Cacao in the USA, while others he buys directly from the source, such as his Papua New Guinea beans from the Goodyear family on Karkar Island. “Dealing direct is very rewarding as you’re dealing with the actual person responsible for growing the cacao, and you know you’re paying them a fair price for their cacao beans that reflects all the hard work put into growing and preparing it.”

Foundry Chocolate is one of several craft chocolate makers to launch in New Zealand over the past couple of years, and with an increasing public awareness of this new level of quality and deliciousness that’s available in the chocolate world, not to mention a growing demand for ethical and sustainable products, it seems like this little movement is destined for big things. There’s never been a more exciting time to be a chocolate lover. / Foundrychocolate.co.nz / Luke Owen Smith (thechocolatebar.nz)