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Spencer Cocoa: Chocolate with an ethical Center (and a giveaway)

April 8, 2014 | Food, Food & Fermentation, Profiles | 12 comments | Author:

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It’s nearly chocolate season, my friends. But what constitutes ethical chocolate these days? It’s pretty hard to tell. Take a peek at this incredible family of chocolateers, doing it right.

In a backyard shed set in a lush vegetable garden in Mudgee is Spencer Cocoa, a single origin chocolate company with the best bean-to-bar story you’re ever likely to chew on. 

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Luke and Thea Spencer have been making chocolate for coming up to 2 years, but the story starts in 2010 when Luke was working to help rejuvenate a remote a cocoa plantation in Vanuatu.

Not surprisingly it was here that Luke fell in love with cocoa, and the idea of making really excellent chocolate.

To summarise the next four years, Luke went ahead and helped the local growers to set up a co-op of sorts that saw the growers bringing their bean harvest to a central fermenting and drying facility for processing.

From that little processing unit, situated in the middle of the plantation divided into the local growers plots, Spencer cocoa buys their beans directly.

No middle men, no bean brokers, no global supply chains.

Total provenance, and the growers get a much higher price for their beans as a result.

I’m pointing this process out because it’s incredibly unusual way for a artisan chocolate company to operate – with total provenance AND a much better deal for the growers than any currently available alternative.

Oh yes, and those beans all grown without any chemical inputs whatsoever. It’s beyond organic chocolate, with bonus community development. Yeehar.

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Cocoa beans in the pod
Harvest 2011
Local women (mamas) working together mid harvest
Drying the beans after fermentation, before packing them into sacks and shipping to Mudgee, Australia

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The end result of all this? Heaven in a bar, truly.

I’m not much of a chocolate person, but i think Spencer Cocoa just broke me.

So, who wants some?

Spencer Cocoa Giveaway

In celebration of chocolate season and these brilliant chocolateers, we’ve got a pack of 10 bars of Spencer chocolate to give away. Hooray!

To enter:

- make sure you’re joined up to our mailing list

- email giveaways@milkwood.net with the subject line “I need the sweetness.” Don’t forget to include your address in the body of the email!

We’ll pick a winner this Friday and send out the package next Monday, so you have it just in time for Easter. Australian entires only please.

Spencer Cocoa is currently available via mail order, as well as select joints in Mudgee and beyond: www.Spencercocoa.com.au

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Thea + Luke Spencer. Go team.

Disclosure: As I write this I am chomping on the offcuts of  chocolate that I came home from my visit with.

Other than that, we’re running this giveaway because we love holding up folks doing good stuff and going the extra mile to make clean short-supply-chain food founded on ethical grower relationships.



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12 COMMENTS


  • Meliors April 8, 2014 at 7:46 am | Reply

    It’s always chocolate season at my place.


  • Nicki Noo April 8, 2014 at 8:05 am | Reply

    Such a beautiful product and love that pattern on the choc block! :-)


  • Instituto Estelar Bilingüe April 8, 2014 at 11:01 am | Reply

    Mmmmmmmm
    My question though…when is chocolate season?? :p


    1. Kirsten April 8, 2014 at 11:28 am | Reply

      Now. like, right now. Or always, depending.


  • Tulitha April 8, 2014 at 11:10 am | Reply

    Mm. Yum


  • Cat Or Cas Smit April 8, 2014 at 11:52 am | Reply

    Any chance that we could source the raw cacao powder (or butter?) for our small not for profit organic food co-op “GoodLife Coonabarabran”? Would be great to source ethical, short supply chain cacao products.


    1. Kirsten April 10, 2014 at 5:37 am | Reply

      Nibs yes, not sure about powder… ask them!


  • Keryn April 9, 2014 at 8:55 am | Reply

    So wonderful to see this happening so close to home (Rylstone) I shall definitely be on the look out to buy some of what looks like wonderful and healthy chocolate thank you so much :o)


  • treadingmyownpath April 9, 2014 at 10:34 am | Reply

    Haha, I laughed when I read the opening sentence. It’s nearly chocolate season?! What does that mean? Surely it’s ALWAYS chocolate season? I’ve never heard of Spencer chocolate before so thanks for the post. I love what they stand for and what they’ve created : ) (I don’t just mean the chocolate product either) I will be off to their website for some further investigating!


  • Helen April 13, 2014 at 10:56 am | Reply

    Assuming, there is only one chocolate manufacturer in Mudgee, I heard Luke’s father on Australia All Over this morning. Sounds great and that chocolate looks beautiful.


    1. Kirsten April 13, 2014 at 2:39 pm | Reply

      hey yep, that’d be them!


  • syaztrous May 2, 2014 at 1:22 am | Reply

    Reblogged this on X_trous Notes.



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