We grow cocoa beans in Cambodia and will eventually either create or support a Cambodian bean-to-bar brand. What Cambodia is still lacking—local chocolate brands—has already taken off in many other countries in Asia. Chocolate really is a rising star in Asia, and this is most certainly due to the region’s rapidly growing middle class. The famous Michelin Guide has also taken notice of this remarkable phenomenon, especially in Southeast Asia.
We kicked off this series by discussing chocolate brands from the Philippines. Now we will continue with local chocolate brands from Malaysia. However, purely looking at the numbers, the Malaysian chocolate adventures are a bit disappointing when compared to the explosion of bean-to-bar initiatives in the Philippines.
According to the Malaysian Cocoa Board, Malaysia has between 15,000 and 18,000 hectares of cocoa trees, but not all of them are highly productive. Currently,Malaysia still produces only 25,000 to 30,000 metric tons of cocoa beans per year.
The founders of Seniman Kakao, Michael Wilson and Amirah Mohammad, began by importing cocoa beans from Ecuador, Vietnam, and Papua New Guinea; but now they are able to use the best beans from Malaysia itself to create their own local Malaysian bean-to-bar chocolate. They not only produce chocolate bars but also hot chocolate that is actually liquid chocolate (and not cocoa powder) mixed with hot water or hot milk.
Ong Ning Geng is the founder of Chocolate Concierge. He is not only a chocolatier but also a small-scale cocoa farmer himself, making his chocolate basically a tree-to-bar product. He planted his first trees in 2013 but was forced to replant after a flood swept away all of his seedlings. His best seller is the Caramelised Hazelnut in Milk Chocolate.
These two chocolate makers are focusing on beans grown by cocoa farmers in Malaysian Borneo. Their beautiful website is a bit misleading though. Thomas Delcour and Bo San Cheung announced that the chocolate is not actually crafted in Malaysia but in Singapore, while their base seems to be in London. Their online shop is currently offline, citing that they need some time to scout new farmers in Borneo.
Dareo began halfway through 2012 and claims to be an integrated one-stop center for cocoa, treated cocoa mass, couverture, and chocolates for chocolatiers, bakers, and confectioners. In addition to this, they pride themselves on their great variety of original chocolate dragées, such as pineapple dark dragée, coconut milk dragée, and orange two-layer dragée.
Back to our Cambodian cocoa: If you are interested in learning more about the first Cambodian cocoa, feel free to message our company at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at kamkavfarm.com.