FIRST LOOK: Inside Toowoomba's very own chocolate factory
TREVOR and Magdalena Smith have one of the sweetest recipes for success.
The young couple is reviving their artisan award-winning Metiisto Chocolate brand from a small factory tucked away in Harristown on the city's western fringes.
It is the first bean-to-bar factory of its kind in Toowoomba and when the operation reaches full production, it will see a return of the chocolate bars first created in a Swedish basement in 2011.
"One of the reasons we stopped doing it in the first place was finding a suitable location," Mr Smith said.
"The expense was too high where we were.
"Coming to Toowoomba lets us bring the price down a bit, lets us make the chocolate at a price we can afford (and) to have the factory open.
"Toowoomba seems busy, bustling; it's growing. So hopefully that's a good thing for us, too."
Mass-production isn't the end game for the Smiths, but a return to artisan methods and a boutique bar sourced from individual farmers and sold as a premium product.
"It's not a fad or a gimmick," Mr Smith said.
"Chocolate has a bit of a bad reputation because of the treatment of farmers being the main thing.
"Chocolate has become a confectionery. Chocolate is not a confectionery so the only way that we can really get people back to that is do better quality and get people to understand the finer flavours, and treat it more like wine, treat it like fine coffee so it gets the respect it deserves."
The Harristown factory is a new beginning for the young couple, and a world apart from Mrs Smith's training as a dentist in her native Sweden.
But it's a chance for them to continue growing their global brand and sourcing methods.
Metiisto is grounded in the ethical belief in recognising farmers who grow the cocoa beans critical to the operation, and ensuring the on-ground producers get a return on their product.
It won bronze at the 2016 International Chocolate Awards for the Tanzania 85 per cent dark chocolate bar.
"Every cocoa comes from a specific farmer so we don't just do single country or single plantation; it's single farmer chocolate," Mr Smith said.
"They're very small micro-batches so lower yield but different flavours in every bean."
The beans are sourced from the Solomon Islands and, using Mr Smith's own recipes, the first bars are currently being created in self-designed machines in the artisan method.
Each bar will draw out the unique flavours of the three farmers, with the first batch expected to be ready by next month.
"Chocolate needs to get back to its roots as a luxury product if chocolate will ever survive," he said.
The factory will produce about 200kg a week, or about 600 bars of chocolate.
They will retail for $10.