Creative Thailand

Kad Kakoa: Thai craft chocolate that takes Thai cocoa to the international spotlight

Writer : Editor Team

Translator : Parisa Pichimarn

When we think of chocolate, the first image that comes up takes from Western culture, thanks to its longstanding and widespread availability in Europe and America. It’s also a sweet that does not withstand our nation’s heat, which makes it even harder to imagine it as part of our eating culture.

In truth, the perception of eating chocolate may be largely associated with Europe, but the beginnings of chocolate production all mainly take place in South America. Chocolate was first created in Mexico. The cacao tree, or what people largely like to call cocoa, grows well in hot and humid temperature—a latitude Thailand also finds itself in. It wouldn’t be surprising if someone were to say that the whole process of chocolate production can take place in Thailand.



Something that’s been taking shape as of late is a group of people who are creating craft chocolate that pays attention to detail in the whole production process—where chocolate lovers will not only find delicious chocolate, but one that showcases complex tastes that point back to the terroir and temperature it was grown in.

Kad Kakoa is among the first brands in Thailand that has made chocolate from cacao beans grown in Thailand. They are also the first that decided to open a chocolate café of their own. Owners Ton Panitchin and Ta Nuttaya Chunhasawatikul got so inspired by Thailand’s cacao production that they started to study the whole bean-to-bar production process, from roasting the beans to turning it into a bar of chocolate.



The delicate and complex tastes of chocolate that comes from one single origin, where cacao beans and sugar are the only ingredients, are a testament to the meticulous process it takes to create them.

Their chocolate-making process starts with receiving fermented cacao beans from farmers—where its moistness and other factors all affect the roasting stage. “Every time that we receive the beans, we cannot roast them the same like always. We need to see the quality of the bean and its moistness first,” Ta explains. After roasting, the shells are removed before the beans get grounded. This stage can take days before the beans are finely crushed and the cocoa butter has separated from the cacao.

“Tempering is the hardest part,” Ta insists, even though the pair has bought specialized machinery that works with temperature adjustment for this process. Lowering the temperature in order to turn liquid chocolate into a bar involves aligning the cocoa butter in chocolate to crystallize. If done right, the chocolate’s texture will smooth, glossy and won’t easily melt. The good news is all these stages can be viewed at Kad Kakoa’s factory, but the earnest attention to detail goes far beyond that.



The wrapper for Kad Kakoa’s chocolate is designed to look like Thai ancient textiles, along with graphics that display the terroir and geography of the beans grown. Currently, there are the provinces Chiang Mai, Chanthaburi, Chumphon and Prachuab Khiri Khan.



This past September, Kad Kakoa has brought great news to Thais as it has become one of the first Thai chocolate brands to receive an award for their 70% dark chocolate from Chiang Mai at the International Chocolate Awards, a chocolate competition in the Asia-Pacific region.

Those interested can go view their chocolate production or try many different chocolates at Café Kad Kakoa at Soi Naradhiwas Rajanagarinda 17.


Photos : https://www.kadkokoa.co/

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