We asked three chefs which chocolates stand out in their minds
Indonesia, the world’s third-largest exporter of cacao, boasts a clutch of fledgling bean-tobar players such as Pipiltin Cocoa and Pod Chocolate. In Malaysia, Ong Ning Geng, the founder of Chocolate Concierge, not only purveys chocolates made from local cacao beans, he’s also gone ahead and bought his own cacao trees. Vietnamese chocolatier Marou Faiseurs de Chocolat is already a well-loved brand around the Asian region, while in the Philippines, Hiraya Chocolates sources its beans from Davao. Having their bases located close to the cacao farms they buy from means these chocolate makers have an active hand in their raw materials—so the flavour and quality of their chocolate is generally world-class.
Unsurprisingly, chocolate finds an excellent flavour partner in another third-wave product: coffee. The lush, bitter undertones complement one another delectably, as seen in the most basic of desserts: chocolate cake, chocolate mousse and tiramisu, to name but a few. Try it in your own rendition of coffeescented chocolate truffles. Simply mix half a cup of heavy cream with a quarter-cup of espresso and bring to a boil, and pour the boiling mixture over 280 grams of roughly chopped dark chocolate. Stir until smooth and refrigerate for 30 minutes before scooping teaspoon-sized balls of the resulting ganache onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate for another 30 minutes and roll the truffles in cocoa powder before serving.
JOSEPH YEO, CHEF-OWNER, SPRMRKT KITCHEN & BAR
“The Temuan single-origin Pahang chocolate with cocoa nibs from Chocolate Concierge is my favourite because of its semisweet, nutty flavour and crunch. It goes well with unsweetened coffee, and I particularly enjoy it with Sprmrkt’s latte.”
ANGELA MAY, CULINARY DESIGNER, GLASSHOUSE
“Valrhona’s Cuvée Bali 68% strikes a chord with me because Valrhona works with 400 cacao farmers in Bali who use artisanal methods to blend the only Asian chocolate they make. Because the trees grow beside the rice fields, I would suggest making a plated dessert of Cuvée Bali chocolate mousse with a coconut tuile over roasted pineapple and puffed rice.”
PANG KOK KEONG, EXECUTIVE CHEF-OWNER, ANTOINETTE
“I love the complexity of Valrhona’s Manjari 64%. It has a strong cocoa profile, with hints of roasted nuts and a pleasant acidic finish of red fruit. I use it in our cakes and desserts.”
Coffee and chocolates are soulmates— match single-origin variants from Chocolate Conceirge with single origin cuppas