A burst of flavour from bean to bar: Meet award-winning Canberra chocolatiers Jasper + Myrtle
The flavours on the menu of Canberra chocolatier Jasper + Myrtle are striking: Brandy and Orange, White Chocolate with Sour Cherries, and Spiced Rum are just a selection. As we got to know founders Li Peng and Peter, these flavours made perfect sense, the wide variety reflecting a spirit of experimentation that, for them, is a way of life.
Created by Li Peng Monroe, the name Jasper + Myrtle was chosen for the family-owned business because of its uniquely Australian origins. Jasper is a semi-precious stone found in Western Australia where Li Peng lived for many years, while Myrtle is commonly found around Northern New South Wales where Peter, her partner and co-owner, grew up. Li Peng and Peter scour the world for the best cocoa beans they can find and experiment with original flavours to bring customers the best bean to bar handmade chocolate.
Since launching their company in 2016, Jasper + Myrtle’s chocolates have won 19 global awards, including six in nationally recognised shows such as the Australian Food Awards and Sydney Royal Show, and 13 in prestigious international competitions, such as the UK’s Academy of Chocolate and the International Chocolate Awards.
Both Li Peng and Peter are well-travelled, with a history in public service. Both worked in national disaster, emergency management, and national security for the Australian Government, and Peter also worked as a marine biologist for Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). This brought him frequently to the Great Barrier Reef and also regularly to Papua New Guinea.
So how did they get into the chocolate business?
Li Peng had been considering different business ideas when on holiday they spent time tasting different cocoa bean varietals in Australia’s Margaret River region, and they were taken by the different flavours that could be harvested from cocoa beans. After a sleepless night weighing different futures, Li Peng woke up the next morning and told her husband, “we need to start a chocolate business.”
Longtime visitors to Papua New Guinea, it was kismet that they also found the country’s cocoa to be exceptional. “The beans there are so rich and earthy,” Peter says. “Then, when it comes to creating the flavour combinations, we didn’t want to do what everyone else was doing, we wanted to experiment.”
All of Jasper + Myrtle’s chocolates are handmade from cacao beans imported from Bougainville, Papua New Guinea.
It’s an experiment that always includes friends and neighbours. “Once we’ve made a flavour,” says Li Peng, “we test it with our friends, and then it goes through a couple of other iterations.”
A delicious variety of Jasper + Myrtle chocolates are available for delivery from the Wing app. For more information on Jasper + Myrtle visit jasperandmyrtle.com.au.