The delicious smell of chocolate.
This was what greeted me as I approached the door of Matt Chimenti’s small workshop on a quiet street in Orange, but as an avid chocolate lover, I was not prepared for what I was about to see.
Litres of yummy liquid dark chocolate swirling around in large tubs, aromatic cocoa beans grinding down, and lines of plastic moulds ready to be filled with the tasty finished product.
But this is all in a day’s work for the owner of Origin Organic Chocolate Makers, and for Matt, it is most definitely a labour of love.
Matt makes around five tonnes of chocolate a year, but there is something very special about his chocolate.
It only has two ingredients – cocoa beans and sugar.
And the unique flavours of the chocolate comes down to where the beans were grown, hence the name Origin.
“Chocolate doesn’t have to be bad for you,” Matt said.
“It is a natural, whole food. That is what it is all about.”
Becoming a fine chocolate maker wasn’t an obvious career choice for Matt. He used to be a baker and pastry cook, but then he became a fixed plant operator.
But when he and his family moved to Orange in 2014, something clicked for him.
“I really liked the food culture here,” he said.
He looked into different foods, and then came across fine chocolate. He started making his own chocolate in his home kitchen, and started selling it at the local farmers’ markets. He also attended the Naturally Good Expo in 2015. And from there his business evolved. He now supplies Harris Farm Markets with chocolate bars, and his chocolate buttons are used in the Clean Treats Factory’s products and in healthy snacks made by Nourishing Bites in Townsville. His chocolate is also a flavour of a gelato at It’s Vegan Gelato in Melbourne.
“Seeing Origin Chocolate on these products is pretty cool,” he said.
His chocolate has also won awards, including claiming silver and bronze medals in the fine food section at Melbourne Royal Show in 2016, and in an international food competition in Malaysia, won a sponsored booth at the Kuala Lumpur Food and Hotel Show.