Fossa is Singapore's first bean-to-bar chocolate maker, with a range of single-origin bars from Oceania, East Africa, and Bolivia, plus inventive inclusion bars such as Australian native spices, shrimp and bonito, Oolong tea, and white sesame and seaweed.
In addition to chocolate makers located in Vietnam and the Philippines that source local cacao from around the country, high quality chocolate makers are emerging throughout Asia, from Singapore to Dubai.
Indonesia Burung 72%
Aroma: coffee grounds, jasmine, steamed rice, ash, starch
Flavor: Dark chocolate peanut butter cups, cranberry, starchy, apple, smoked meat, fresh green vegetation, fresh orange juice with grassy notes, soft floral cherry, slight fruit tang
Recommendation: Not recommended. This was not a terrible bar; there were some interesting flavors, but there were some unpleasant starchy, slightly burnt flavors and the other flavors were pretty weak. A caveat – I have only tried one other Indonesia bar (Pralus) and Fossa’s is better. It is possible that this bar simply reflects a certain terroir and is thus worth trying for the experience.
Batch info: Enjoy by September 15, 2020
Tanzania Kokoa Kamili 72%
Aroma: cardamom, biscuit, hay, cinnamon
Flavor: Spices – cardamom, shortbread, biscuit, hint of red fruit flavors but not tangy, sunflower seeds, coffee grounds
Recommendation: Recommended with reservations. This bar is pretty good, but Dandelion’s bar with cacao from the same co-op (Kokoa Kamili) is much better.
Batch info: Enjoy by September 20, 2020
Based in Taiwan, Fu Wan has a holistic approach to chocolate, sourcing local, sustainably grown cacao. They offer a range of single origin Taiwanese chocolate, plain and in combination with intersting inclusions like tea, black pepper, mango, coffee, macadamia, and shrimp!
Ping Tung 70%
Aroma: dried peas, cocoa powder, raw peanuts
Flavor: Very strange. Coffee grounds, a little fruity – juicy red fruit, sour lemon, a musty note, peas
Recommendation: Not recommended. I was really excited to try this bar, but I found it oddly musty and vegetal. I have heard generally good things about them and they’ve won a lot of awards, so I’ll have to try it again.
Batch info: Best by January 6, 2022
Based in Dubai, Mirzam makes milk, dark, single-origin and inclusion bars with Middle Eastern inspired ingredients like rose, coffee, cardamon, dates, fennel, pistachio, orange blossom, palm sugar, saffron, anise, and more!
Tanzania Kokoa Kamili 72%
Aroma: fennel, licorice, rich chocolate, soft red fruit
Flavor: Creamy vanilla, marshmallow, mild butterfat, cookie/toasted starch. Good classic Tanzania red fruit flavors plus more complex brown fruit - dark chocolate cherry, raisin, port, fig cookie. Pleasant soil/mineral/woodiness. Overall good chocolate flavors, no bitterness, really nice overall balance. Also a distinct fennel flavor – it’s not strong but it’s such a specific clear flavor that I wonder if there was accidental flavor transfer because they make a bar with fennel as well and I have never tasted a bar with a fennel note that distinct. Either way it is soft enough that it doesn’t detract much from the chocolate itself.
Batch info: Batch no. TZ002; Best by March 2020
Papua New Guinea 72%
Aroma: very mushroomy, smoky, leather, dried shiitake mushrooms
Flavor: Beautifully balanced funk. The initial flavors are earthy and almost gamey – soft wood, leather, a little bit of the grassy flavor of mutton or game meat, but distinctly not the over-fermented hammy flavor, just a pleasant rich savoriness. Also present are notes of dry soil, campfire, and mushroom, which shift to a pleasant sweetness as it melts, with soft pops of caramel and red fruit. All well-balanced, so the earthy/leather flavors come across as complexity, not defects.
Recommendation: Recommended. Overall, this is a really nice bar. It’s unusual, smoky, and mushroomy, but I think that’s pretty much expected with Papua New Guinea beans, and they’ve done it well. This would be incredible in savory recipes that call for dark chocolate - beef stew, chili, mole - and some people will probably love it as it is. Two of our tasters described it as “complex in a good way,” and “a really interesting bar.” For others, it may not become a go-to snacking bar, but the quality of the process and the naturally unique funky character of this origin make it worth trying. As such, it would be an awesome bar to include in a tasting to showcase the wide range of possible flavors found in chocolate.
Batch info: P: 09/19; E: 03/20; PN 011