Ausie Chef says local ingredients have high potentials to produce top grade chocolates
BY GARY HATIGEVA
REPRESENTATIVES from Cocoa Farmers Associations in Guadalcanal and Makira Provinces, along with representatives from the Guadalcanal Council of Women, [email protected] and the JJD Women’s Association were again selected as participants of the cookery sessions that came as part of the SolChoco Festival currently underway here in Honiara.
This comes as a side event from the SolChoc Festival that is currently underway, held for local cocoa farmers to help promote and market their products, which according to experts, carry high quality and rich in organic.
Just like last Wednesday, participants were again given the opportunity to learn the methods and various form of chocolate products from local cocoa beans, which according to session’s instructor, Chef Jessica Pedermont, are of high quality.
The participants according to the side event’s co-facilitator, Grace Hilly, learnt the correct and proper ways to handle chocolate from the Sydney based Chef who also did some technical instructions.
Saturday’s session had included three demonstrations on the type of products that can be produced with our local cocoa, and they include cocoa pulp granite, cocoa brittle using local ingredients and chocolate with peanuts.
Participants also learnt a lot of techniques and other tricks including how to melt chocolate without burning it.
Ms Pedermont is a Sydney based chef who owns and runs a cooking school including a business, who came under the invitation of the SolChoco Festival organized by Strongim Bisnis with a collaborative partnership with government through relevant ministries and key stakeholders.
This is her first time in Solomon Islands, but the Australian Chef had already been amazed by what she described as, the organic richness in local and fresh produces.
Pedermont also pointed out that opportunities here in the country in terms of its produces, especially on cocoa, are endless, that they can produce top quality for the high end market.
Last Saturday’s session according to all participants, was another eye opening experience for them they not only learn how to properly make chocolate using local ingredients, but so as proper methods of ensuring quality end products.
Participants are very grateful for the opportunity and expressed their biggest thanks to the organisers of the festival especially the initiative to include such a segment, which most agreed has already empowered them.
Meanwhile, Ms Hilly stressed that these sessions are very important because it really dag deep into the resources and products that are available locally, with the encouragement for the utilisation of local ingredients, but also for better products.
“Events like the SOLCHOC Festival is crucial in creating the networks for our local farmers to be recognised for their hard work producing good quality cocoa beans,” she added.
Meanwhile, organisers of the SolChoc Festival acknowledged what they described as a very important partner, the Solomon Islands National University who has a top standard kitchen facility, which Pedermont as a very well experienced and top chef was amazed with and highly commended.
As party to the organisers of event, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock was also pleased with the feedbacks from international experts, whose independent opinions are of importance to the government as it works to further improve its policies for the sector.
Ministry officials stressed that these feedbacks will really help the government come up with better programmes and confidence, especially the stakeholders involved in the cocoa industry on its importance to the economy of Solomon Islands.