Asian Chocolate: Meet 17 Of Asia’s Best Chocolate Producers - By Tatler Magazine
Thailand has long grown cacao, but with neither a market nor buyers, it was a crop that had rarely been nurtured until the recent bean-to-bar movement, which has encouraged farmers and seen the rise of homegrown brands such as Kad Kokoa. Founded in 2018 by Thai lawyers Nuttaya and Paniti Chunhasawatikul, Kad Kokoa works with four farms across Thailand––in Chiang Mai, Cantaburi, Chumphon and Prachuap Khiri Khan––not only using their cacao beans for its single origin chocolate bars––and products which also incorporate local flavours such as Cantaburi pepper, salted tamarind and shiso seeds––but supporting and ensuring a sustainable livelihood for farmers.
“There’s nothing that makes Thai beans specifically different, but there are some characteristics of them, like the acidic flavour,” says Leo Sebag, COO of Kad Kokoa. “Some have bright acidity that gives a lot of depth to desserts. But we have four origins or our chocolate and they all have very different profiles––they are all slightly acidic, but some have more red berry, some more exotic fruits, some more citrus.” Whatever the profile, the Thai chocolate brand is gaining renown––Kad Kokoa won two accolades from the Agency for the Valorization of Agricultural Products (AVPA), a non-profit organisation that recognises agricultural products showcasing terroir, this year: a silver for its Kad Kokoa Chantaburi single origin 70% and gold for the Kad Kokoa Chumphon single origin 70%. The brand has also been embraced by chefs across Thailand, who incorporate the local chocolate into menus in the nation’s luxury hotels and Michelin-starred restaurants.
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