Water Cooler: NZ’s best chocolates, Ararimu School Agriculture Day and we wage a war on stickered fruit

This week in the water cooler: We announce NZ’s best chocolates, meet a very special creche at Ararimu School and wage a war on stickered fruit. 


A former seaman has won the NZ Life & Leisure Bean to Bar category at the NZ Chocolate Awards. Karl Hogarth of Hogarth Chocolates in Nelson launched his chocolate at the Nelson Farmers’ Markets two years ago while working as a second officer on a supply ship. He now exports his delicious creations to England, France, United States, China, Japan and Australia. The Bean to Bar category includes only chocolate made in the maker’s own factory and starting from the whole cocoa bean.

Always experimenting new flavours, new origins #craftchocolate #beantobar #ethicallysourced

A post shared by Hogarth Craft Chocolate (@hogarthchocolate) on

Hogath’s winning Gianduia, Dark Hazelnut, uses cacao from Puerto Cabello, Venezuela. Gianduia is a soft hazelnut chocolate traditionally from Northern Italy.

A husband and wife-owned chocolate business is the Supreme Award winner. Nico and Emily Bonnaud of Honest Chocolat in Snells Beach, won the Supreme Award for Best Chocolate Bar, for a Salted Caramel & Buckwheat Milk Chocolate Tablet. Jo’s Sublime Chocolates of Petone, Wellington was the Supreme Winner of the  Best Filled Chocolate category, for a Chocolate Salted Sesame and Caramel Bonbon.

The public will have a chance to sample some of the winners’ creations at the NZ Chocolate and Coffee Show on 23 and 24 September at The Cloud in Auckland.

Full List of Winners


Marvellous Marketing Best Chocolate Bar, Honest Chocolat Salted Caramel & Buckwheat Milk Chocolate Tablet

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Chocolate and Coffee Show Best Filled Chocolate, Jo’s Sublime Chocolate Salted Sesame and Caramel Bonbon.


  • NZ Life & Leisure Best Bean to Bar – Hogarth Craft Chocolate; Gianduia, Dark Hazelnut
  • Saint Clair Family Estate Best Chocolate Bar – Honest Chocolat; Salted Caramel & Buckwheat Milk Chocolate Tablet
  • Fresh.co.nz Best Filled Chocolate or Bonbon – Jo’s Sublime Chocolates; Salted Sesame and Caramel Bon Bon
  • Auckland Barista Academy Best Chocolate Truffle or Ganache – Chocoyo; Garden Mint
  • FMCG Business Best Bark or Brittle – She Universe; Sassy Sesame Snap
  • Hospitality Business Best International Chocolate – Ara Chocolat; Tolita 72%
  • Best NZ Product Made Using a Premium Chocolate Brand – Fix & Fogg; Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter


  • Most Unique Flavour Combination – Swiss Bliss Chocolates; A Taste of Rodney, Hibiscus Flower and Macadamia Nut
  • Label & Litho Best Packaging – OCHO, Otago Chocolate Company
  • Children’s Favourite – Bohemein Fresh Chocolates; Chocolate Fish

Emma Rawson
thisNZlife, Editor

PS –Learn how chocolate is judged in our story here


Lots of schools have after school care, but country schools have something that’s way more fun. This is Beth, Mikayla and Grace from Ararimu School, about an hour south-east of Auckland.The ‘students’ they’re feeding are on time for roll call every morning, but they don’t have to worry about lessons or homework or even going to class.This is a rural version of a crèche, a playpen for the lambs and kids which will be part of the school’s Agricultural Day on Saturday, September 30.

Managing the required feeding regimes for young pets can be tricky for working parents.So Ararimu School provided a solution by setting up a pen for lambs and kids, allowing its students to take care of daytime feeds. Older students supervise feeding sessions and the whole school gets to enjoy watching their four-legged playmates.Their Ag Day will include calves and chicks too, and best garden, worm farm and compost bin competitions for students who can’t have animals.

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fruit stickets

We’re waging war on fruit stickers – well, I admit, it is mostly my private obsession to rid the world of stickered fruit. I KNOW it’s an apple, I recognize a mandarin when I see one and don’t need to be told on a sticker what it is one. Stickers, apparently, make the produce traceable – but the theory doesn’t hold much water with me because piles of the produce in supermarkets and fruit shops is not stickered and there’s no sign of stickers at the grower markets. Whatever it is, I know that many stickers are not biodegradable. How do I know? Every week I see them come out the end of my worm farm as colourfully bright as they went in – stuck to the skins of the former Lord Lettuce’s fruit peels (I do not eat stickered fruit). Amidst the piles of deep black soil that my faithful slaves, millions of busy tiger worms, have created from chewing up our fruit and vegetable waste are the dratted stickers still pristine and perfect.

So when the world’s great mover of bananas, Dole, proudly announced recently that sustainably produced bananas were labelled with a little green frog sticker I suspiciously emailed off a query:“Can you confirm if the Green Frog seal sticker is biodegradable, and advise from what material it is made? Thanks, Kate”

Pead PR’s Louise helpfully replied:“I’ve checked this with Dole for you and Ecuador have provided this:  “Dole’s current label on bananas are printed on semi gloss paper, with a layer of hot melt adhesive, label will degrade in open environment in less than 90 days, faster if composted (perhaps 3-4 weeks)”.

This green frog signals a Rainforest Alliance Certification.

Thank you Louise. So the little Green Frog labels can go into the worm farm and I’ll report on whether – as promised – they’re compostable in 90 days. And, meanwhile, purchasing stickered bananas does mean eating sustainably produced fruit. The Rainforest Alliance Certifiedᵀᴹ seal, represented by a green frog emblem, reinforces Dole’s commitment to sourcing its fresh fruit products from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms.

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Dole’s senior marketing manager in NZ, Kamilla Camilo: “The company has worked diligently over the past years to ensure they are providing sustainable fruit to Kiwi consumers. The goal is to help conserve natural resources on banana farms and promote the wellbeing of workers and local communities in South America.” Credit to Dole.

Kate Coughlan
Editor, NZ Life & Leisure

NZ Life and Leisure This article first appeared in NZ Life & Leisure Magazine.
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