Chocstock returns to Wellington with legendary chef Peter Gordon

by | Mar 13, 2024 | News

Chocstock will return to the capital this June after its sell-out debut in 2021. The only Aotearoa festival dedicated solely to chocolate, let alone craft chocolate, will bring together more than 25 New Zealand, Australian and Pacific makers to celebrate bean-to-bar chocolate alongside legendary chef and 2024 Chocstock Ambassador Peter Gordon.

The weekend-long ‘chocolate festival for grown-ups’ promises to deliver a delicious adventure to delight all the senses. A celebration of New Zealand’s flourishing craft chocolate industry, people will be able to meet the makers of their favourite bars and take part in special events, including an ‘Ultimate Brownie Bake Off’ sponsored by Wellington Airport that will see eight beloved Wellington bakers battle it out for best single-origin Pacific brownie. There will also be beer and chocolate pairing sessions with Double Vision Brewing and coffee and chocolate Pairing sessions with Coffee Supreme.

Chocstock founders Matt Williams and Luke Owen Smith say since 2021, the number of local craft chocolate makers has tripled, meaning they’ve had to triple the festival’s size for its return.

“Three years ago, there were around ten local makers in New Zealand, and now there are almost 30. People can’t get enough of craft chocolate; it’s incredible to watch. We’re excited to bring these creative, innovative and adventurous makers to the capital so foodies and the taste-adventurous can explore the magic of bean-to-bar chocolate.

“While the craft chocolate movement is growing all the time, many chocolate lovers are yet to be introduced to this exciting new world – we’re hoping Chocstock will help spark fresh curiosity about craft chocolate and what’s possible from speciality cocoa beans,” says Luke.

Self-professed chocolate lover Peter Gordon champions food producers across Aotearoa and the Pacific through Homeland and says there’s so much for people to uncover when it comes to craft chocolate.

“New Zealand’s craft chocolate scene has incredible origin stories. These makers are bringing something new to the table – allowing people to understand where their chocolate comes from. As someone who can remember Woodstock and how that changed perceptions, getting to be part of Chocstock and helping tell this story drew me in straight away,” he says.

Matt Williams says many local craft chocolate makers are now sourcing their beans from Pacific growers, helping support a thriving ecosystem across the region.

“There’s something special about beans grown in the Pacific, and New Zealand is fortunate to have some strong connections with growers across the region. We’re excited to have the team from Gaston Chocolat at Chocstock.

“They work with Vanuatu farmers helping sell their cocoa, ensuring they are paid well above market rates and can implement sustainable farming practices that will set up their farms for generations,” he says.

Williams and Owen Smith say despite it being three years between festivals, they’re looking forward to making Chocstock an annual event.

“While Wellington is known for its beer and coffee, we consider it the home of Kiwi craft chocolate. Whether you’re new to craft chocolate, a seasoned pro, or simply curious, there’s something for everyone at Chocstock. We think people will be blown away by the impact that a focus on quality and ethics can have on flavour, and we can’t wait for people to discover the sometimes wild and wonderful creations that will be on offer,” says Luke.

Chocstock will run from 21 June until 23 June 2024 at Wellington’s Harbourside Centre. Tickets are on sale at Humanitix and start at $30. VIP early-access tickets are available from 11 March, and general sale from 18 March. Chocstock 2024 has been made possible due to support from a range of partners. You can view the full programme of events and find out more at www.chocstock.nz

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