If Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory did exist – and appeared to us like it did in the movies (the Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp versions, take your pick) – then it would probably be pure heaven for chocolate lovers and those with a sweet tooth.
Especially if you yourself could be like Willy Wonka, and create chocolate and candy just like that.
But the reality isn’t so bad. In fact, it might be even better. 😉
“Chocolate has brought us to places we’d never dreamt of visiting,” muses Jay Chua, one of the founders and chocolate makers behind Fossa Chocolate in Singapore.
“Sourcing for cocoa beans has brought us to rural villages and plantations. It has also connected us with artisans from other industries like top bartenders, baristas, coffee roasters, distillers, soap makers, designers, etc. It’s always refreshing to work with people who are passionate in their fields.”
What’s more, chocolate-making in the flesh engages your senses – you work with it, you taste it, and you even get to “play” with it. It’s all real.
“The senses are great measurement tools to evaluate products at various stages of sourcing and production,” Jay observes.
“Working with chocolate is very similar to working with coffee and spirits. It’s both an ingredient and a final product. Working with the ingredient source at the farms allows us to have a deep understanding of how various elements affect flavour in the chocolate. Making the chocolate ourselves allows us to understand how it will affect the physiological properties and flavour of the downstream products.”
The business side of things
Fossa Chocolate is an award-winning artisanal chocolate brand that creates unique, single origin, limited edition, and flavoured chocolates using quality, ethically sourced ingredients from carefully chosen cacao farmers and producers from all over the world.
The team also includes Charis Chia, a chocolate maker, and Yilina Leong, the business and marketing director. 😊
They are involved in every step of the chocolate-making process, from sourcing to sorting to roasting to cracking to refining, up to tempering and moulding. (Whew.)
Influenced by their collaborations and travels, Fossa Chocolate is known for coming up with amazing chocolate flavours such as Shrimp & Bonito Dark Chocolate, Duck Shit Dancong Tea Chocolate, Chilli Peanut Praline Dark Chocolate, White Sesame & Seaweed Blond Chocolate, Lychee Rose Dark Milk Chocolate, and Drifting Snowflakes Jasmine Green Tea Chocolate, among others.
“Being a chocolate maker, and starting a craft food manufactory in a market that is new to craft chocolate, has been a challenging but fun and fulfilling journey so far,” Jay says.
“There have been unexpected hurdles and rewards, so it’s definitely not exactly what I thought it’d be when I started out years ago.”
Having the right people with you helps. 😊
“Being a good chocolate maker and running a business require different skill sets and resources,” he states.
“I think the most important is to have a good team that can fulfil all roles. Without sales channels, there will be nowhere to sell the chocolates we make. Without good chocolate, there will be no demand.”
And there is a demand
Aside from their 22 outlets in Singapore, you’ll find Fossa Chocolate all over the US and Canada, as well as in Hong Kong, Australia, France and the Maldives.
And it doesn’t just end there.
“We provide options for customised chocolate bars for corporate gifting, wedding favours, birthday parties, and so on. Customers may either select from our existing templates for fuss-free options, or create a fully unique design that matches the theme they like,” Jay maintains.
“We also do our part to be environmentally friendly. Our packaging is made using eco-label paper containing 50% recycled paper and printed on demand.”
Plus they hold workshops for companies and groups.
Time to unwrap
Don’t wait any longer. All this talk of chocolate will make anyone excited to take that first big bite (and the next).
With such cool chocolate flavours and flavour combinations, is there a method to best savour Fossa Chocolate bars? Yes, as it turns out. Jay recommends his favourite ways to use, serve and eat their chocolates here. 👏
“Take your time to taste and enjoy the chocolate.”
“Try allowing it to melt gradually on your tongue to evaluate the melting properties, texture, and take in the aroma and taste as it melts and dissolves.”
“Then take another piece and chew on it for a different experience.”
“Try pairing it with coffee, tea and spirits.”
“Try tasting the chocolates in different orders. The order of tasting will affect the way your senses will decipher the flavour.”
With the team’s expertise, I thought it’d also be great to dig a little deeper into their experiences and their own world of chocolate. As expected, their stories are informative and entertaining. 😊
Favourite chocolate experiment gone wrong
“We have had a lot of experiments gone wrong. Our favourite one has got to be using different sugar to make chocolate. Some turned out disastrous and wrecked machines,” Jay recounts.
Favourite chocolate experiment gone right
“The tea chocolate series was the result of an experiment that turned out to be very delicious.”
Memorable chocolate destination
“Our first cocoa farm visit to Yogyakarta was the most memorable. Seeing the cocoa plant and its habitat for the first time was pretty inspirational.”
Underrated Fossa Chocolate flavour
“The Chilli Peanut Praline Dark Chocolate that was inspired by the satay sauce. Unlike just any other spicy chocolate with just chilli added, our rendition includes peanuts and a caramel-like crunch, which gives the chocolate more depth of flavour beyond that spicy kick,” Jay explains.
“Savouring this chocolate requires a process. When you first bite into it, you’ll get the strong creamy peanut flavour first, and the spice only comes at the end as you swallow the chocolate. We recommend washing that final burn down with soda or a pint of beer – just like how you would with satay!
“The other underrated flavour would be our White Sesame & Seaweed Blond Chocolate, which is a rich, savoury and sweet chocolate that’s packed with umami. This is great paired with sake and soju.”
Weirdest chocolate experience “Nothing is weird if it’s delicious.”
Fossa Chocolate fun fact
“Fossa is actually an animal that's native to the forests of Madagascar. The Fossa is nimble, agile, and well-known for its fierce and wild personality. Not that we are fierce people... though the Fossa does inspire us because its character is similar to our approach in chocolate-making, where we constantly challenge ourselves to create bold but mind-blowingly delicious flavours.”
Surprising dish to add chocolate to
“You can grate chocolate onto savoury dishes to add a layer of complexity. One of my favourites is lor bak (braised meat).”
You want this
I don’t know about you, but the idea of eating chocolate (and quality ones, at that) at this time can be a good thing.
So if you need a boost, feel free to do it with chocolate. ❤️
“There’s never a bad time for chocolate,” Jay believes.
“A bar of chocolate can cheer you up during tough times, and is a celebratory treat during good times.”
And we don’t need a magical chocolate factory to know that. 😊