Today we present you with a rare opportunity to taste some exceptional craft chocolate bars crafted in Taiwan and Japan.
Earlier this year we shared with you a highly limited collection of craft chocolate bars from Cacaoken, a Japanese craft chocolate maker. At the time we weren’t sure when we could obtain more stock, but today we are delighted to mark the return of Cacaoken and at the same time welcome three extremely rare bars from Fu Wan, a new chocolate maker from Taiwan. We have a very limited number of these bars and fear that we won’t be able to secure more until the new year.
As you might recall, Cacaoken is short for ‘cacao laboratory’ in Japanese. It crafts all its chocolate bars in its laboratory in Fukuoka. It sells in coffee stores throughout Japan and also via a caravan that Nakano-san drives around Japan (in which she and her mother, demonstrate how small batch chocolate is crafted) And on top of this it has a farm and research lab in Vietnam. Here Cacaoken grows cacao and experiments with bean fermentation. The bars all use these Vietnamese cacao beans (sometimes blended with Ghanaian cacao).
With such an incredible culture of food, patisserie, desserts and strong respect for artisan tradition, it may come as little surprise that Japan has now embraced bean-to-bar chocolate. One of these Japanese makers is Cacaoken by Yukari Nakano and her parents.
As well as plain milk, dark and white bars, Cacaoken also creates chocolate using local Japanese ingredients. Today we are welcoming three bars Cacaoken bars into our Chocolate Library: Milk Chocolate with Coffee, Milk Chocolate with Sea Salt and White Chocolate.
We were introduced to Fu Wan chocolate by friends in London just a few weeks ago, and we couldn’t wait to introduce you to their bars. Fu Wan is dedicated to sharing with the world the delicious ingredients that Taiwan has to offer, through the medium of chocolate. Fu Wan started its life not as a chocolate brand, but as a resort in Taiwan. Warren Hsu was the executive chef at Fu Wan Resort.
When the resort opened in 2011, Hsu’s mission was to provide guests with the very best local fusion cuisine. While sourcing ingredients locally, he met a cacao farmer who introduced him to the Taiwanese cacao, grown from grafted Indonesian cacao. Hsu was inspired, and Fu Wan Chocolate was born. The cacao industry in Taiwan is a relatively young industry, with the government encouraging farmers to plant cacao crops in response to the damage done to the land by the over farming of betel nuts.
Warren Hsu is one of only a handful of people crafting chocolate from bean to bar in Taiwan. He trained with expert bean to bar makers, before returning to Taiwan to start crafting bars. Through his chocolate, he is able to share the flavours of his native cacao not only with those who stay at Fu Wan Resort, but with people from across the world.
Fu Wan’s bars have gained a number of awards at their first outing at the International Chocolate Awards, both in the Asia Pacific Regional Awards and in the World Final. And we are delighted to have a small selection of their bars for sale.
We have only a very limited number of these bars for you, and if you’re lucky enough to be able to taste them, we hope you enjoy!