Sourcing beans? No problem.. just give me 7 years
Yep, surprising as it may be... we did not just lob up to Lambubu Bay, Malekula and ask to buy some beans.
I first picked up a cocoa pod back in 2007 during a 'save-the-world' stint in the Solomon Islands (teaching Agriculture)... I remember cutting the pod open for the first time, inspecting the strange fruit, smelling and tasting the vegetative source of chocolate.
Coming from a viticulture (wine-grape growing) background, I was familiar with how soil and locality influence the flavour and quality of fruit... and could see cocoa being no different.
And a little bean-of-a-thought was sown... "think I'd like to make chocolate one day".
That year in the Solomons was a fairly steep learning curve: working in a Pacific Island culture, learning language and living in a community so far and so different from my own.
But, in addition to being a challening and brilliant experience in itself, turned out to be invaluable preparation for a cocoa plantation in Vanuatu a few years later..