Manfred Drechsler fled East Germany in his mother’s arms when he was six months old. As an adult he left Germany for French Polynesia and a new life as a helicopter pilot. Then he moved to the mountains of Ua-Pou and began producing chocolate from home grown cocoa.
The “chocolate man of Ua-Pou” doesn’t advertise. He doesn’t need to as news of his amazing chocolate spreads amongst cruisers like a virus. We heard about him while anchored in Nuku Hiva and set off to search for the chocolate that even swiss cruisers admit “is something special”. Some one pointed out the correct anchorage on our charts and, once on land, a local pointed us up the track and told us to continue until we heard the dogs. The track wound ever upwards through the jungle but finally we reached a garden, rang the gong and were answered by barking dogs.
Manfred works like a drug dealer. He started by giving us free samples during a conversation about his exciting life and only then did he sell us the “stuff”. The chocolate is unbelievably good and has nothing to do with anything you ever buy in a shop. It is an absolute taste sensation. Everything is grown on his farm, water is piped from the mountains and the electricity is made with solar and a water generator. We were impressed.
We left not only with chocolate; Manfred also gave us a whole bag of fresh fruit from his garden and a tip to try pickling some of the green star fruit. It was a heavy load that we carried back to the boat but our fruit shelf now looks amazing. And the chocolate is buried in the fridge for special moments.