Indonesia is one of the world’s top cacao producers, after Ghana and the Ivory Coast, but until more recently, you would have been hard-pressed to find quality chocolate made in the archipelago. In the last few decades, a number of entrepreneurs have decided to change this by setting up chocolate operations close to bean plantations. By basing themselves close to cacao producers, the chocolatiers have been able to support sustainable and organic agricultural systems, rewarding local farmers with top rupiah for higher quality beans. With this shift, Indonesia is now producing some of the world’s best chocolate from rare and magical cacao sourced from many of its islands.
Last week we had the pleasure of meeting one of the first artisan chocolate producers in Bali. Pursued by his passion for chocolate and the ethical treatment of farmers, Italian Architect Giuseppe “Pepe” Verdacchi, and his Balinese family, established PRIMO chocolate in 2008. PRIMO was inspired by the centuries-old tradition of cold pressed chocolate, made using only crushed cocoa beans of the highest quality. Their philosophy is simple: when you eat chocolate, choose the best and relish the experience.
They source the finest cacoa beans from the mountain plantations around Bali and across the Southeast Asia’s Malay Archipelago. The beans are then slowly dried at low temperature and ground with stone grinders at a slow pace (for up to 80 hours using special equipment designed by Pepe) in order to keep the temperature of the paste as low as possible. This preserves the complexity of the aroma and taste; creating a truly unique chocolate experience.
PRIMO proudly creates an exceptional range of chocolate products. Get in touch with us if you are interested in purchasing their single origin chocolate or some truly magical Indonesia cocoa mass, cocoa butter and nibs. Whether you are a chef or a chocolate lover, you will taste the difference integrity and freshness makes!
We're taking a little break from the Brittle & Bark kitchen to travel around Asia. Here's the chocolate news from Thailand....
Thailand can be hot. Sticky, melty hot. It’s not the country that you normally associate with chocolate, but Thailand has been growing cacao for over a century. The crop was brought to Asia via the Spanish territory of the Philippines, in the late 17th century. Despite the availability of cacao, it wasn’t until recently that the country started to see significant development of the beans. In the last year or so, Thailand has burst onto the fine chocolate scene with artisan chocolate producers opening up shops in Bangkok and in the northern city of Chiang Mai. The year was also marked with big wins for Thai cocoa at the International Chocolate Awards Asia-Pacific Competition and the UK based Academy of Chocolate Awards, that showcases the very best in everything chocolate-related from around the world!
While in Thailand, we had the opportunity to meet with the owners of two boutique bean to bar shops - Siamaya, and Aimmika.
Siamaya Chocolate was founded on the idea, that Thailand needed quality all-natural chocolate product, with no additives or chemicals. They believe in fair trade, and in fair opportunities for their bean suppliers, most of which are small family owned farms that have been owned for generations. Their handcrafted chocolate is produced in a small workshop in Chiang Mai where every aspect of processing raw cocoa beans to final chocolate bars is control for premium quality. They collaborate with local artists for packaging, branding and even some flavour development. In this way, they are close to the pulse of Thailand - and they promise that you will taste the magical flavors of Thailand in their chocolate. Our favourite flavours: Milk chocolate with Mocha, Thai tea, and their 75% Dark Chocolate with chili
Aimmika chocolate blossomed from a chance interaction with the owner of an organic vegetarian ImmAim Vegetarian Café and a famous chocolate maker from Denmark, Friis Holm Chocolate. Mr. O, owner of Aimmika has become a passionate producer of pure organic bean to bar vegan chocolate with a focus on creating quality chocolate for everyone who cares about his/her health, as well as the environment. “Aim for chocolate happiness” Our favourites: 72% Dark and 80% Dark
Are you interested in tasting Thai Chocolate?
Contact us directly and we will arrange to bring some back to the UK for you.
Are you interested in traveling to Thailand?
Balance Bound is organising an immersive chocolate experience which includes visiting local cacao farms, an end to end chocolate making workshop and chocolate pairing event. Register your interest here.
We've just made mornings a little better! Introducing Cocoa Nola our grain and refined sugar free, cocoa infused granola. We love it with milk, on greek yogurt or topped on home made chia seed pudding.
Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
3 tbsp chia seeds
1 cup blueberries
1 cup strawberries
1/4 tsp organic cocoa
1/4 tsp local organic honey or maple syrup
Blend almond milk with blueberries and honey (in a mixer). Then add chia seeds and tie it manually, removing all clumps
Put it in a fridge, covered with cling film or a cover, and let it stay at least for a couple of hours.
Remove from the fridge, serve with fresh berries and Cocoa Nola granola.
This delicious creation is well suited for breakfast or a portable mid-afternoon snack filled with healthy fats, omega 3s and protein.