|Cacao7 Chocolate Lava Scoop cake | Photo: |
Reto Marzani and his students - this chocolatier also offers classes | Photo: Chocolate Atelier
Megan Lin of Cacao7 Low Carb Chocolates
This self-taught chocolate maker and shop owner masterfully blends, hand tempers, and moulds her chocolates fresh on site and in small batches from organic Equadorian Arriba cacao beans. These are healthy chocolates that are good for you.
Sniff her out at: 181 Orchard Road, #B2-09 Orchard Central
Why? I was in need of a fine-grade low carb dark chocolate that is 100 per cent natural with no after-taste. The only way to meet this need was to create my own chocolate using Whey Low – an all-natural sugar replacement that tastes just like sugar, yet has fewer calories, fewer carbohydrates, and lower glycemic index.
What’s your mix? Natural, fine-grade, low-carb dark chocolates that are diabetic-friendly, gluten-free, and soy-free, with no after taste.
Why become a chocolatier? I think of myself as a chocolate maker or producer. I’m not into creating fanciful, gimmicky, sales-inspired chocolates and desserts; I believe in healthful, beneficial chocolate that is fine-grade and gourmet – health food has to taste good.
Favorite chocolate percentage: 100 per cent cacao – so I can sweeten whatever I’m making with Whey Low.
What makes your chocolate shop better than the rest? We believe low-carb dark chocolate with a minimum 70 per cent cacao is a health food that should be eaten regularly.
The best chocolate for our humid weather? We import a single origin, fine-grade, organic, and Rainforest Alliance Certified Ecuadorian Arriba Nacional cacao. This is the only chocolate we work with.
Must try? Cacao7 Chocolate Lava Scoop cake – an all-natural and low GI chocolate cake that oozes luscious molten cacao when heated.
|The Earl Grey chocolate tart | Photo: |
Teng Ei Liang, 32, of Truffs
It took this chocolatier six months to pen the name for his minimalist chocolate shop/café/now-handcrafted designer furniture gallery. The first sight that greets you at the top of the stairs to this second-storey space will be assistants hand-rolling super creamy house truffles – Teng believes in letting the natural flavours and aromas in chocolate speak for themselves.
Sniff him out at: 179a Telok Ayer Street | Tel: 90882736
Why? One Christmas after I returned from Le Cordon Bleu in London, I started making chocolate truffles for my family and close friends using the traditional French methods I learnt there. As time went by, requests for my truffles grew to a point where I decided I needed to open up a space to share these truffles with Singapore; it was basically a hobby that turned into a successful small business.
What’s your mix? Each piece of truffle is simply made with chocolate and cream; without preservatives, stabilisers, or flavour oils. It’s not easy to find a place like this in Singapore today.
What makes your chocolate shop better than the rest? Because we put extra thought and attention into all our products – from the detail of the packaging to the taste. We use the finest ingredients and every single orb of truffle is carefully hand-moulded using traditional methods.
Best chocolate for our humid weather? None. Humidity will affect any chocolate. We don’t have a separate environment controlled “chocolate room”, as we want to keep our craft as close to the customers as possible. We use air-conditioners, dehumidifiers and silicon packs in the shop, and store our chocolate in dedicated fridges which keep the chocolate between 10 to 12° Celsius.
Favorite chocolate percentage: When it comes to enrobing chocolates, the higher the percentage of cocoa butter, the easier it is to work with because it becomes more fluid.
Must try? The Earl Grey chocolate tart – a decadent tea-infused ganache set in a crunchy wafer crust. Perfect with a cup of hot Americano.
|Chocoelf's truffles | Photo: Chocoelf|
Josephine Lee of Chocoélf
With over 10 years of chocolate making experience, this pastry chef and chocolatier oversees the careful creation of each uniquely blended pralines, truffles, and candy bars. All Chocoélf chocolates are handmade, natural, and low in sugar. A special sugar-free line of chocolate is also available.
Sniff her out at: 391 Orchard Road, Ngee Ann City Tower A, Takashimaya Basement 2 Food Hall | Tel: 67383657 and 15 Jalan Tepong, #03-02 | Tel: 67755117
Why? Pure passion. It was hard to find chocolate that isn’t sugary sweet, like those of most imported brands, and we wanted to do better. At the same time, we wanted to showcase an Asian-style of chocolatier-y, which pairs chocolates with local flavours such as kaya, chilli, and green tea.
What’s your mix? Freshly-blended pralines, truffles, and candy bars – all natural, and low sugar. The sugar-free line has flavours such as red wine, durian, and crispy brown rice.
Why become a chocolatier? As a former pastry kitchen trainee, I’ve travelled the world and met and worked with great chocolatiers. When I became a pastry chef, I specialised as a Master Chocolatier.
What makes your chocolate shop better than the rest? We’re possibly the largest manufacturer of “No Sugar Added” chocolates in this part of the world right now, with the most interesting range of flavours you can imagine. Our local flavours are a hit with tourists.
Favorite chocolate percentage: I don’t have a favourite, butI choose my chocolate couverture each time, based on the final taste that I want to achieve for each product. For example, for subtle floral pralines, I use chocolates with more subtle flavours; for pralines with spices, I use couvertures with stronger aromas.
Must try? Our No Sugar Added range of truffles, especially the Pure Dark Imp, which is as smooth and dark as chocolates go. The Green Kaya truffles are also a must-try.
|Reto Marzari | Photo: Chocolate Atelier|
Reto Marzari, 65, of Chocolate Atelier
Mouth watering pralines, fresh baked cookies, and take-away jars of chocolate callets fill the shelves and pastry case of this chocolate shop/bakery/cooking school created by Swiss pastry chef and chocolatier Reto Marzari. With over 40 years of experience, warm-hearted Marzari hand-crafts the chocolates himself, using premium Swiss chocolate, and offers a wide range of fun technique-building classes including Basic Swiss Chocolate Making where you can learn to temper chocolate.
Where? 253 Joo Chiat Road | Tel: 63481686
Why? After honing my craft in Switzerland, Scotland, Denmark, Philippines, and Malaysia, I decided to move to Singapore. After working here for food suppliers, running pastry departments as an R&D manager, setting up chocolate manufacturing departments for a chain of chocolate cafes in Malaysia and Singapore, and being appointed Maitre Chocolatier at the Swiss Chocolate company Lindt & Sprungli, I wanted to be able to create my own products, create my own ideas, and to forward my knowledge to other people through my classes.
What/who inspired you to be a chocolatier? The environment in Switzerland. Chocolate is everywhere, as well as milk! I started at 16, when I became the first apprentice of Raymond Bachmann, the owner of the famous Confiserie Bachmann in Luzern, Switzerland.
What sets your chocolate shop apart from other chocolatier shops? At The Chocolate Atelier, we’re also a school. And we have classes which teach not only the art of Swiss chocolate making, but the making of cookies, cakes, and breads.
What’s the best chocolate to work with in humid weather? The proper environment for making chocolate is always in an air-conditioned room, so humidity will not be an issue – 22°C is the best working temperature for chocolate. Store chocolates in a wine cooler, air-tight, at 16-17°C.
Favorite percentage of chocolate to work with and why? Any percentage. For pralines, there needs to be a balance between the chocolate and ingredients such as jam, paste, nuts. Depending on the type of praline, some chocolates have to be more bitter, some more subtle. I like to use Carma Swiss chocolate.
Must try? The Cocoa-dusted Almonds, my house specialty.
In her former life in the United States, Yvonne Ruperti was a pastry chef, bakery owner, magazine writer, and cooking show co-host on America’s Test Kitchen TV. Now based in Singapore, she still writes for SeriousEats.com and maintains her own food blog. When not at work, she is busy concocting up recipes for a new cookbook.