Chocolate now is like what coffee was in the ’90s, when consumers first began to learn about premium and organic beans, as well as different styles of coffee beyond the instant and mass-produced varieties.
Slowly, through retail pop-ups, workshops and tastings, people have cultivated an appreciation for the value and quality of single-origin chocolate, and how each type of chocolate can possess a distinct flavour profile depending on bean origins and processing methods. At Fossa Chocolate, we have the same creative approach with each bar.
Currently, we manufacture a total of six single-origin chocolates and around 14 artisan chocolates. Our range of local flavours, such as Nanyang kaya and salted egg cereal, have long been our bestsellers because people are curious about how their favourite dishes can be presented in chocolate form.
Admittedly, our price point (S$8 for a single-origin bar and S$10 for a special flavour artisan bar) was challenging at first, but as consumers learned about our brand, they began to understand why our chocolates are slightly more expensive than what they are used to purchasing from the supermarket.
“People are curious about how their favourite dishes can be presented in chocolate form”
We make everything in-house with no substitutions, no artificial flavourings and no preservatives. People know that a product made with care and quality ingredients should be priced accordingly, but affordability is still key to creating something everyone can enjoy.
One of the biggest challenges we face is getting access to consistently high-quality beans. Though we import some beans from Africa and South America, our primary focus is on beans sourced from Southeast Asia: from Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia. Some cacao producers in the region are still learning about how aspects such as the weather and fermentation affect the finer flavour of the chocolate, so we work as much as possible with small producers who have complete control of the growing and processing.
For chocolate makers, to work together with growers and producers in developing an effective process is exciting. It allows us to be more experimental with flavours, but also motivates growers and producers to be more innovative. channel that knowledge towards improving techniques, pushing boundaries and raising profit margins.
Craft chocolate and cacao is still a pretty new concept in Singapore, so a goal of ours is to open people’s minds to the different ways chocolate and cacao can be used in cuisine. For instance, bartenders could create a cacao distillate and make cocoa “gin”, while cacao nibs, the cotyledons of the cacao seed, can be used as a flexible garnish for desserts or cocktails and to make cocoa tea. They can also be ground and cooked in a savoury dish such as a traditional Mexican mole.
Illustration by Kouzou Sakai
SEE ALSO: Opinion: Food is a fluid concept
This article was originally published in the September 2019 issue of Silverkris magazine