Raise the bar this festive season.
By Aiden Jewelle Gonzales
They say confession is good for the soul, but I say confections are even better – for what can uplift your spirits more than locally-grown chocolate that’s both sustainable and ethical? With Thailand’s cocoa scene on the rise, you won’t have to worry about what to get your loved ones for Diwali — although it’s the Festival of Lights, that doesn’t mean you can’t wander into the dark side (of chocolate) with these local chocolate brands.
Kad Kokoa was started by a pair of lawyers-turned-chocolatiers who traded convictions for confections but are still putting people behind bars – chocolate ones, that is. With their iconic square paper boxes, the brand is renowned throughout Bangkok’s cocoa scene, serving up not only single-origin chocolate but bonbons and drinks too. Check out their two-storey café in Sathorn or their stall at Bangkok’s newest plant-based dining hall, Broc & Co, if you want to sweetch gears from the Bangkok buzz. Using single-origin beans from all over Thailand, their Thai-speciﬁc ﬂavours, such as their Salted tamarind dark chocolate, are a must-try.
One of the newer oﬀerings on the Thai choco-scape, PRIDI Cacaofevier was started by Daniel Bucher, Michael Hogan, and Itthi Nitayaporn, three chefs who wanted to make the dairyng move away from imported European chocolates. Referencing the French word for bean, fèves, in their name, the brand focusses on literal bean to bar transformations, from fermentation to tempering.
A supplier to hotels and restaurants across the city, you can also order their 100 percent handmade, sustainable chocolates online or book a tour of their chocolate factory to see where the magic happens. It might not be Willy Wonka’s factory, but their ﬂavours like their Tangerine tab or Peanut nutter are certainly strange and wonderful enough to sample (or gorge on).
PARADAi might be just a couple of letters away from paradise but their confectionaries will certainly transport you there. Having won numerous accolades, including the International Chocolate Awards in 2018 and 2019, their chocolate mostly hails from their own farm in Nakhon Si Thammarat. Visit their café near Khao San Road if you want to class it up before truﬄing along to a big night out, or ﬁnd their products at Siam Paragon. Their eye-catching and geometric bonbons, such as the award-winning Thai green curry white chocolate bar, are best paired with their specialty coﬀees for a treat that hits the spot.
Sarath N. Chocolatier
For elegant triﬂes, look no further than Sarath N. Chocolatier, created by well-established and celebrated chef Sarath Nimlamai. Using techniques he’s learned throughout his travels in Asia, the Master Chocolatier creates single origin chocolate creations that look almost too good to eat. Visit his boutique café in Phayathai to try any of his options made with local produce and ﬂavours, including bonbons, croissants, and even crafted chocolate drinks. The bird’s nest construction is especially Instagrammable, for those whose cameras need to eat ﬁrst.
If you’re looking for something that puts the ‘art’ in ‘artisanal,’ Xoconat makes small-batch crafted chocolates where no bar looks the same. Created by owner and chocolatier Nat, the brand oﬀers made-to-order chocolate bars using European candy-making techniques. Order online any of their uniquely Thai-inspired ﬂavours, such as their spiced Phed nit noi xoco crunch or their Larb me badass bar, or book ahead to visit their shop. Xoconat also oﬀers private workshops for a unique experience bar none.
Choc it up to experience, there’s nothing better than single-origin and fair trade, and Siamaya Chocolate delivers (literally) and then some. Two of their founders are Chiang Mai residents, ensuring they have close ties with the cocoa farmers in the region, where they source their beans. Everything is done locally – from their workshop in Chiang Mai, to the local artisans who help with their colourful packaging and branding, to the chocolate’s idiosyncratic tastes. They also sell gift bags and boxes with sets of bars and chocolate-coated nuts, including ﬂavoured oﬀerings such as the Thai bullet chilli or, for a more intriguing option, the Milk chocolate with durian. Here in Bangkok, you can ﬁnd their concoctions at various locations including Sourced Grocers and Luka Moto.