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Haigh’s and Warndu’s sweet collaboration champions Australian native food revolution

The Forager

The South Australian chocolate company that pioneered the Easter Bilby almost 30 years ago has teamed up with local Indigenous-owned company Warndu to develop products made with Australian native ingredients.

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In partnership with Clare Valley’s Indigenous-owned lifestyle brand Warndu, Haigh’s Chocolates has released a line of products with the aim to develop consumer appetite for native ingredients.

In February, Haigh’s unveiled two 100g chocolate products carrying the Warndu brand: milk chocolate with finger lime and dark chocolate with Davidson plum.

The products are the result of two years of development, overseen by Haigh’s Technical and Product Manager Ben Kolly, who worked closely with Damien Coulthard and Rebecca Sullivan — the couple who founded Warndu in 2014.

The project will see Haigh’s and Warndu continue to work together to further develop how Australian native foods and botanicals can be used with chocolate.

New flavours will be released in coming years.

Sullivan says being rainforest fruits, the Davidson plums and finger limes were sourced from farms located in the Byron Bay hinterland and were then freeze-dried to be added to chocolate.

“I spent some time in the Haigh’s factory working with Ben on flavours. It’s quite a complex process, because once you put things in chocolate that you think will taste good, often they don’t,” she says.

“These ingredients worked so well together, and the Davidson plum pairs perfectly with the dark chocolate.

“Haigh’s is a heritage brand, which is why we were excited to work with them.

“They’ve been around for 100 years and they’ve only done a couple of collaborations, so for them to work with us is quite extraordinary.

“Their transparency in sourcing ingredients ethically was really important to us.”

Damien Coulthard and Rebecca Sullivan.

Sullivan says the collaboration is about exposing consumers to native ingredients that have a major role to play in agriculture and climate change.

“We have a focus on environmental sustainability and we truly believe that Australian native foods need to be in every Australian’s pantry, for the sake of our environment, as well as culture and reconciliation,” she says.

A Rural Woman of the Year finalist, Sullivan has a Master’s Degree in climate change and sustainable agriculture and rural development.

She is currently working to set up the Climate Resilience Program at Clare. The program will feature a demonstration garden to show how Indigenous ingredients can be grown locally to help soil health, climate and the environment.

“Hopefully we will create a native food bowl here by getting more farmers to plant native foods — they need to be in our soils from a climate resilience perspective,” she says.

“Our mission is to regenerate culture, community, tradition, health and soil.

“The industry and demand is growing steadily and it is no longer a trend anymore.”

Find the Haigh’s and Warndu collaboration chocolates in-store, or purchase them online.

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