Koko Loa: Chocolate made in Samoa

By Sina Sevaaetasi ,

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INSIDE THE FACTORY:  A sneak peek of where the magic is made

INSIDE THE FACTORY: A sneak peek of where the magic is made

The sultriest rich chocolate infused with hints of tropical flavors that only Samoa is known for has just hit the market.  

Yesterday, Wilex Samoa launched its first line of hand-picked premium line of chocolate and cocoa products: Koko Loa.  

The name Koko Loa was inspired by the Samoan legend of Tagaloa, the Samoan mythical creator of the universe and the heaven, and it’s connection with the aiga (family) of the founders of Wilex-Samoa , Tagaloa Eddie Wilson- hence “Koko Loa- Heaven Sent with Alofa from Samoa. 

The Koko Loa line consist of the Samoan Origin 72%, Fruit and Nut which is infused with locally grown products like mango and papaya and the lama nut.  Finally, the most popular, Coconut Milk Chocolate.  The line also features exquisite cocoa powders: Premium and Pacific Brand Cocoa.  

Wilex Samoa is an award winning, locally family owned business, and has overcome massive obstacles to be the pioneers of the koko industry that they are today.  Before moving to their factory to Lelata, the family started their journey of making award winning chocolates in Moata’a.  

However, in 2003 the factory was destroyed by fire.

Being the headstrong ambitious business man that he is, Mr. Wilson picked up and moved the factory to Lelata to start anew.  Again, tragedy struck in 2012 when Cyclone Evan ravished the facilities. 

The official unveiling of the new line of chocolates conducted by the  mother and daughter duo.
The official unveiling of the new line of chocolates conducted by the mother and daughter duo.

For a weaker person, this may have been a sign to give up, but not for Mr. Wilson.   

He regrouped and started from scrap as he did before.  He cited that another meaning behind the name Koko Loa, was that it was the mighty strength of Tagaloa that pushed him to continue to pursue his dream.  In his own words , Mr. Wilson said, “You would think anybody else would give up, Tagaloa Lagi said, “No, continue to do it.” And 13 years later, the dream is revived.  

Just recently, Wilex received a “ Business Accelerator Award” under the Pacific Cooperation Foundation in New Zealand as well as the Exporter of the Year back in 2003. 

Wilex Samoa proves they are just as invested in growing the local farming industry as it is in making succulent chocolates.  A long term dream for the founders is to better the lives of local farmers by offering them a sustainable market.   As his lucrative koko Samoa continues to prosper, Mr. Wilson unselfishly encourages other local farmers to plant more koko.  He is working   in conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture  as well as local farming associations to build the production of koko in Samoa. 

“In the not so distant future, we are going to come up with a 100% Samoa made chocolate and all the ingredients will be from here,” said Mr. Wilson. “We can never grow enough koko Samoa.  The whole world wants what we produce.”  

The delicately crafted chocolates are available at the Sheraton Hotels, Wilex Factory in Lelata, and will soon be available online and at exclusive boutique stores. 

 

© Samoa Observer 2016

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