From a coffee geek to become a cocoa enthusiast - though a bite of Madagascan-origin chocolate he had 3 years ago, Jay Chua is the crafter behind the success of Fossa Chocolate, one of the earliest bean-to-bar chocolate maker in Singapore. His story has been widely shared on the internet and social media from a special interview with The StraitsTimes. Today, we’ve got an opportunity to invite him over to share his story and passion of making chocolate with us.
Hey Jay, tell us a bit about yourself, what brings you to the single origin chocolate scene?
I’m always very excited about food and love to seek new flavours. It's funny I was never a chocolate person because growing up, the only chocolates available here were bitter and bland tasting chocolates from the supermarkets. It was only when I had my first taste of new age craft chocolates about 3 years ago that changed my mind about chocolate. Never knew that chocolate can taste so complex!
What was that chocolate bar that changed your life then? Must that be a kind of life-changing experience?
It was a Madagascan origin chocolate that I first tasted and it was just packed with unmistakable raspberries notes even though it was just cacao and sugar. Slowly, I began tasting more and more craft chocolates and eventually started making them at home. I have a habit of researching about stuff I like and then try to make them. I've geeked over coffee, beer brewing and fermented food so far and now chocolate.
Coffee and craft-beer culture are getting popular in Thailand too, but then the development of bean to bar scene is quite early. How about in Singapore, do you see a lot of people already understood the concept of it?
It's still in the very early stage now but food culture in Singapore is very strong. It'll be a matter of time before people start seeking out better tasting chocolates. We have a pretty established specialty coffee drinking crowd here. Chocolate being very similar to coffee, should be very natural for coffee drinkers to understand.
Let’s talk about your chocolate brand, what’s the story behind Fossa Chocolate?
Fossa Chocolate is about exploring wild flavours to pique the palette and is a platform for my team to experiment and share delicious flavours with customers through chocolates. I started the company proper in March 2017 after researching for 2 years. Our cacao beans were selected for their flavours and I try to have a wide range across the flavour spectrum, ranging from nutty to fruity to floral etc. We work with pastry chefs, cheese mongers, specialty tea sellers, coffee roasters and craft beer brewers to develop interesting and fun pairings with chocolates.
Sounds interesting, what's your current products available? Any chance we can see your chocolate in Thailand soon?
We're currently working on our first blend in Singapore. It's not easy to get it right but we are nearing there! We'll also have a few interesting flavoured bars that will be released for the festive season. They will be available for purchase on our website www.fossachocolate.com. While for Thailand, we are currently looking for a partner to introduce our products to the market.
Last question, what would you recommend to people who've just interested in this chocolate tasting?
For proper chocolate tasting, I'd recommend people start with blind tasting of at least 3 different single origin chocolates, each with distinctive flavour profiles. It's more interesting this way and allows one to get even more curious how various factors affect the taste. It's important to also keep an open mind about flavours and origins.
If you've tried a chocolate from for example Indonesia that you didn't like, that doesn't mean you wouldn't like all other Indonesian origin chocolate. Tasting the chocolates blind allows us to put behind our pre-perceived thoughts about the origin and really focus on the tasting.
As the chocolate scene in the region continues to evolve, we will be looking forward to the next exciting bar from Jay and his Fossa Chocolate. Stay tuned with our upcoming updates!