Keeping the craft in the community

From left: OCHO Chocolate Makers Olivia Trainor, Dan Trainor and Sari Robins-Laughton
From left: OCHO Chocolate Makers Olivia Trainor, Dan Trainor and Sari Robins-Laughton

A new chocolate factory has opened its doors to the public in an effort to set the record straight - they didn’t move into the Cadbury Factory.

OCHO, Otago Chocolate Company, made its way into the public eye in an effort to raise $2 million to expand their existing craft chocolate operation. It was a great success achieving the target in less than two days. Over 3,000 people from the community purchased shares and are now proud owners of a new chocolate factory near the waterfront. 

Sales and Marketing Manager Anna McDonald is on a mission to educate chocolate lovers about the sustainable business model they are building. “After we raised the money, everyone thought we bought the Cadbury Factory” she said. “That’s one of the reasons we opened for tours earlier than planned. Though we are continuing the tradition of chocolate making in Dunedin, we are far from an industrial producer, and want to show people that first hand”.

The OCHO tours were launched back in March and visitors to the OCHO factory are separated from the chocolate machines only by a glass wall. There are no secret formulas in this factory and the team is happy for chocolate lovers and aspiring makers to come and learn about how cacao beans are turned into chocolate bars. 

The tour includes a tasting session where visitors can try the raw ingredients used in chocolate making. It also highlights the factors that impact the flavour of chocolate, such as roasting the cacao beans, or where the cacao is sourced.

One part of the process is refining the crushed up cacao, and turning it into a liquid. Being able to actually show visitors the machines in action is part of the company’s effort to encourage people to be curious about how their food is produced. 

Traceability of ingredients is becoming increasingly important to consumers and OCHO is a great believer in maintaining an ethical value chain.

OCHO sources their cacao from our neighbours in the Pacific Islands. They not only acknowledge the place the cacao is from on the back of their chocolate wrappers, but they have personal relationships with the growers and travel regularly to see them. 

While there, they will visit the cacao plantations as well as the fermentaries to meet with the people who grow, pick, ferment and dry the cacao before it is shipped all the way to Dunedin. They also take back some chocolate for the local communities made with cacao from their villages.

Tour Guide Jared Smith educates visitors about OCHO’s value chain and craft philosophies. “We love showing people around our new factory,” said Smith. “Maintaining the transparency of the methods that go into craft chocolate is central to our ethos. Being able to show customers everything we do is a real treat.” 

OCHO Tour & Tasting sessions run Monday - Saturday at 11am and 2pm. Spaces are limited and bookings essential. Email or phone 034257819 to make a booking. Visit the OCHO factory at 10 Roberts St or go to for more information.

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