Behind the scenes at Haigh's chocolate factory

From bean to basket, we take a tour of the factory that produces the much-loved chocolate, and see how their chocolate is made from bean to basket.

By David Sly
Speckle chocolates in production at Haigh's chocolate factory.
Chocolate starts with the beans. At any one time the Haigh's storage warehouse might hold 250 tonnes of cocoa beans from plantations in equatorial countries including Ghana, Venezuela, Ecuador and Grenada. These are roasted, ground and blended in the Haigh's factory according to family recipes, which have been in development since the company started in Adelaide in 1915. Today, Haigh's produce eight different chocolate blends, each with their own flavour profile, as well as single-origin varieties; in total Haigh's roasts almost 10,000 kilograms of beans every week.
The process is a long one. First, the cocoa beans are roasted to a specific profile then broken so that the cocoa nibs are separated from the husks. The nibs are ground into a thick paste, called cocoa mass, and mixed with cocoa butter, vanilla and icing sugar, with milk powder also added for milk chocolate. The resulting slurry is rolled to ensure smoothness, and then mixed and aerated in a heated conch machine during a 10-hour process to remove excess moisture, develop flavour and caramelise the milk powder. More cocoa butter is added and the chocolate is then pumped into holding tanks. 20 tonnes of chocolate a week are shipped to the Haigh's finishing factory at Parkside.