fbpx

Chocolate Maker Interview: Elements Chocolate Co.

We’re delighted to catch up with sisters Penny McGrory & Hayley Clarke of Elements Chocolate Co. in Perth, WA.

Elements Chocolate Co. was founded in 2020 in a time of great change as a way of rebuilding hope and a sense of control in a year where there wasn’t much of either. Their creamy white chocolate (with Vanilla) & 70% Vietnam bars were featured in our September Mixed & Deeply Dark Subscription Boxes respectively. So… without further ado lets get to the interview …

1. Can you tell us about your background before chocolate and why you started making chocolate from bean-to-bar?

We have absolutely zero background in chocolate making or anything of the kind!

We dreamt up the idea of creating bean to bar chocolate back in January 2020 in part pushed by dissatisfaction in our current workplaces and just to try something completely different.

As it turns out, Covid was a great opportunity to learn new skills online 😊


 

Penny and Hayley Elements Chocolate

2. What’s the story behind/inspiration for your unique graphic brand name and packaging?


From the beginning we knew we wanted to work with Australian native bush foods as much as we could and although Elements could mean the weather, in our case it was more about the Elements that go into making our bars.

Keeping the bars free from additives and emulsifiers and letting the high quality ingredients speak for themselves. We are lucky enough to have a very talented cousin who is an amazing digital artist/ graphic designer and we worked with him for more than a year to come up with the designs and concepts of our packaging.

We wanted to create packaging that people would actually take the time to read and absorb the information and also include a little bit of education around what bean to bar chocolate is. If you ask the average person on the street, they often have no idea! As most bean to bar makers will tell you, our bars are best enjoyed slowly and savoured, so why not have something to read while you are enjoying the journey!

The packaging also makes our bars feel more like a gift, whether that is for yourself or for someone else doesn’t really matter!


Interview Elements Chocolate

3. What are some of the benefits of making chocolate from scratch on a small scale?

The ability to bring out the flavours that are unique to each bean-to-bar maker. Big chocolate companies can’t do this. They have to make everything as bland as possible so every bar tastes exactly the same. Having the ability to create our own roasting profiles, grind times, inclusions & textures really gives us a lot of creativity when it comes to bringing out certain flavours in each different origin bean & finished bar.


4. What origins do you work with and where do you source your cocoa from?

We currently work mainly with an organic Ecuadorian Bean and a lovely fruity Vietnamese bean.

Meridian Cocoa has been a great ethical source for beans and we are now working with Marou in Vietnam to source our Vietnamese beans.

Meridian Ecuador Cocoa

5. How would you describe the chocolate scene in Perth & how has it evolved over the years?

Currently there are only 5 bean-to-bar makers in Western Australia. Two of them have been operating for over 20 years, one for around 6 years and two of us for just over 2 years.

I wouldn’t say there is exactly a chocolate scene in Perth but when you are able to spend the time to talk to people and educate them about quality chocolate they are right into it.

West Australian retailers are also super supportive of locally made chocolate which also helps!

 

6. Why did you decide to focus on native Australian fruit/flavours and how did it come about?

We felt that so many Australians (including ourselves) were quite unfamiliar with eating Australian native bush foods and what better medium to introduce new flavours than with chocolate!

Australian natives are definitely unique and sometimes trying to find a flavour profile that is super delicious can be challenging, but we do love trying – bush tomato and salted caramel anyone? 😊

7. How do you convey high-quality chocolate (compared to re-melting/couverture) to potential customers, and is there anything in particular that helps people understand it?

At a store/retail level this is definitely a challenge so you have to find other ways to stand out such as educating the retail team.

Market stalls and similar maker events are a great way to be able to educate people on what makes our chocolate different from couverture chocolate and why people should value it and take their time.

At market stalls having aids on hand such as beans and nibs really helps people understand the process and many of them have never seen a cocoa bean before and enjoy learning about the process.

Birdsnake Colombia Ralito 70 percent

8. We featured your creamy white chocolate with vanilla in our September Mixed Subscription boxes. How did you source those beans and why did you decide to use them?

As this is a white chocolate, no cocoa solids are used, but we do use a high quality organic Peruvian Cocoa Butter. Matched with a high quality milk powder and longer grind time, we are able to achieve a lovely smooth and not too sweet white as a base.

Tasting Notes: Vanilla Aromas with subtle floral notes folded into a smooth and creamy indulgent white chocolate.

 

white stuff on your chocolate bar

9. What’s your favourite chocolate bars that you’ve tasted recently (other than your own)?

We found Willie’s Cocoa – Milk of the Gods, 44% Venezuelan very scoffable!


10. Throughout your chocolate making journey, you must have so many experiences; what have been your best, worst and funniest moments so far?

Starting out in Penny’s spare bedroom was a fun experience as well as attending our first market. We had no idea if people would like our chocolate and were so blown away by the response at that first market we didn’t even have time for lunch or go to the loo!

I guess the worst (or hardest) is having orders come in faster than you can make chocolate and trying to explain to customers that bean-to-bar chocolate takes time to make.

We love getting feedback from our customers though, and hearing how much they have enjoyed one of our bars is so special and we will never get enough of it.
 

Cailo Chocolate

11. Where do you see the chocolate industry in the next 10 years? Do you have any hopes predictions for the future?

There has definitely been a move in recent years to source local or support small businesses and for people to seek out food experiences and we only see this movement growing in the coming years which is great news for artisanal bean to bar chocolate makers!

12. If you had to sum up the craft chocolate industry in one word, what would it be?

Endless Variety (sorry two words!)

A big thank you to Hayley and Penny for taking the time to answer our interview questions!

 Join our chocolate newsletter for news, discounts and more!

!-- This site is converting visitors into subscribers and customers with TrustPulse - https://trustpulse.com -->