Gaston Chocolat: A Taste of Vanuatu

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By June Ramli

During my visit to Port Vila, Vanuatu, I had the pleasure of meeting Lea, a staff member from the Vanuatu Tourism Office whom I had been corresponding with prior to my trip.
To my surprise, she accepted my invitation to meet for coffee and even offered to pick me up from my hotel, taking me to a delightful chocolate factory cum cafe in Port Vila called Gaston Chocolat.
On the appointed day, Lea arrived at my hotel, and we made our way to Gaston Chocolat.

Gaston Chocolate: A Taste of Vanuatu
Gaston Chocolate: A Taste of Vanuatu

There, I had the opportunity to meet Oliver Fernandez, the owner of the store.
Oliver, who has been in Vanuatu since 2006 and is married to a local, shared his experiences of running two chocolate factories in the country. He even sold one of them to a competitor a few years ago, though the details of the transaction remained undisclosed.

The hot chocolate that I sampled during my visit to the cafe recently.

As we conversed, Oliver’s thick French accent transported me back to my days of extensive travel to Paris for work. His passion for chocolate was evident, and despite the challenges of setting up a business in Vanuatu, he emphasized that it was indeed possible.
One of the challenges he faced was the lack of specialized training courses in confectionery, which meant he had to personally train his staff to meet the required standards.
While Lea mentioned that Oliver’s cheesecakes were highly recommended, I chose to only try the hot chocolate during our meeting to avoid burdening her with a large bill.

Oliver is seen here with his best-selling product.

However, later on, Oliver kindly offered me three chocolates to sample at my own leisure.
Although the ones he gave me were not his best-sellers, they still provided me with a delightful taste experience.
One of Oliver’s most popular creations is chocolate infused with Kava, which he proudly held in his hand during our conversation. I later sampled his chocolates back at my hotel and was pleasantly surprised by their unique flavor.

What you can buy at the Vanuatu airport.
One can also purchase Gaston’s Chocolat on their way back from the Vanuatu International Airport.

Unlike Australian chocolates, they had a distinct cocoa taste and were not overly sweet.
I appreciated the simple packaging, with the chocolates individually wrapped in newspaper cuttings, adding a charming touch to the presentation.
I must mention that Gaston Chocolat’s products are exclusively available at the café, with also the option for online purchase.
If you find yourself in Port Vila, I highly recommend visiting Oliver’s café.
The great ambiance, friendly staff, and unique chocolate offerings make it a memorable experience.
So, be sure to drop by Gaston Chocolat when you have the opportunity, especially if you’re seeking a break in a swanky cafeteria in Port Vila as I can guarantee you that you won’t regret your visit there.

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