From Beans to Bars: The Ethical Singaporean Small Food Business, Fossa Chocolate

When you think of your favourite chocolate brands, you probably think of Cadbury, Royce and Godiva, don’t you? These are all internationally-renowned chocolates. However, you never really know what goes on in the supply chains of those big brands.

So it’s refreshing to hear that our own local-owned chocolate small business makes it a point to be transparent with their consumers about this and educate them. The business? Ladies and gents, I present to you, Fossa Chocolate!

We assure you that Fossa Chocolate has some of the most strange and unique chocolate flavours you have ever heard of! Don’t believe us? Well, what do you think of Pineapple Tart chocolate? Too normal? Then what about Spicy Mala flavoured chocolate? Or maybe Salted Egg Cereal Blond Chocolate flavour? 

Fossa Chocolate: Salted Egg Cereal
A closer look at the Salted Egg Cereal Blond Chocolate flavour! “Your favourite tze-char dish in a bar” – Fossa Chocolate

You see? Their flavours are so exciting and out of the ordinary that they seem to lure you in to learn more. Then, as you browse through their website, you realise the strange naming conventions of some chocolates, like ‘Malaysia – Semai Community 72%’ or ‘Uganda – Semuliki Forest 72%’. What do these mean?

Allow me to satiate your curiosity! The name’s prefix is the country that their special-grade cacao beans are sourced from. Special-grade beans are cultivated for taste and flavour. These beans are rarer and require more extensive post-harvest processes. This is in contrast to the commodity cacao beans that are usually harvested for volume. The suffix of the chocolates’ names are the farmers that the beans are sourced from. 

Fossa Chocolate: Spicy Mala Chocolate
The Spicy Mala flavoured chocolate in its full glory. Do you dare to take on the challenge?

On that note, their chocolates are also priced a little higher than what you would expect. And that is because they believe in a sustainable business, where the community of farmers they engage with is well-supported and recognised for their hard work. In fact, they pay their farmers at least three times more than commodity market rates. We applaud you, Fossa Chocolate!

So you see, Fossa Chocolate is one of the few ethical chocolate businesses out there, and educating and being transparent with their consumers has always been their priority. But how did this business come to be? Well, I got to hear their inspiring story that facets their growth and determination, and I would love to share it with you too! 

Fossa Chocolate: Founding Team
Meet the founding team of Fossa Chocolate

It all started when they began their enthralling journey between 2015 and 2016. Fossa Chocolate originally began as a hobby to a group of friends intrigued by a single-origin chocolate bar with only two ingredients – cocoa beans and sugar. The epiphany that cocoa beans can be so versatile and rich in flavour hit them like a truck and changed their lives. 

They began countless research and started sourcing and ordering small batches of cacao beans from overseas. They did loads of chocolate-making in their free time over the weekends. The process was very manual at home – from hand-kilning every bean to using modified home ovens, they poured their heart and soul into it.

Fossa Chocolate: Bean Sorting
Here’s a closer look at the sorting process of the beans!

Gradually, Fossa Chocolate grew enough to move to a shared-kitchen space! They used the kitchen on weekends and at nights after work. Yes! They were juggling this all while working full-time jobs! They shared that while it was tiring, it never once felt like a chore. That, ladies and gents, is passion. They were fuelled by this passion not just to work hard, but to also enjoy their craft. (I’m sure we all say we’re passionate about chocolates, but nothing compares to this!)

About a year later, they had arrived at the turning point of their journey. As they received more orders than what they could accommodate at a mere shared-kitchen space, they realised that it was either time to take the next step, which was huge, or to turn back around. But it was too late to turn back. They decided it was time to take this leap of faith.

Fossa Chocolate: Yiina
Today they’re finally in their very own factory, donning the widest smiles that hold testimony to all their hard work and dedication

And here they are today, at their very own factory at Mandai! To this day, their chocolates are still handmade with love and passion, although they were able to transition to a more efficient and consistent process – from manual to machine! All hail technology!

After sourcing for the beans, from roasting and winnowing to tempering and moulding, their chocolates take about a week or two to materialise, from beans to bars!

Fossa Chocolate: Jay
Grinding cacao beans in a mighty-sized machine!

Remember their exotic flavours? When we asked them just how they get the ideas to create all these magical flavours, they shared the most relatable answer that really reminds us that in the end, we’re all unquestionably Singaporeans – they love eating! During their annual travel escapades (that are devastatingly not able to happen now due to the virus-that-shall-not-be-named), they would try different types of foods. And they often think about how some flavours would work with chocolate, experiment around, and come up with a stunning new flavour for us to try!

Despite a progressively growing and competitive market, Fossa Chocolate never wants to back down. The feedback and praise they hear from their customers spur them on and give them a sense of satisfaction like no other.

When we asked them what else inspires them to push on despite the challenges posed by the painful pandemic, they shared that their establishment as a local chocolate business has been groundbreaking to them, and they don’t want to stop here. They shared that the USA is their biggest market, and the best-selling flavour in the USA is Salted Egg Cereal Blond Chocolate flavour! 

Fossa Chocolate: Moulding
That moulding process looks insanely delicious!

The shock was written all over my face when I heard that our local flavour was so well-loved even halfway across the world! And just like this, Fossa Chocolate wants to grow and have uniquely Singaporean flavours recognised, appreciated and embraced all around the world! That’s the dream.

From beans to bars, every part of the process required to make a Fossa Chocolate bar is done ethically and sustainably, with a sense of social responsibility. I cannot stress this enough, but this is vital in a world where we sometimes don’t even know where the raw materials for a product or food come from. We never know if the item we’re consuming comes at the expense of the people creating it. With this thought in mind, Fossa Chocolate wants to create a cycle of sustainability, and for that, they have our fullest support.

Fossa Chocolate: Charis
Their smiles show it all – they’re here for the long haul, and they’re not stopping for anything!

So show them yours, and shop at Fossa Chocolate today! Check out their website for all their fabulous flavours (Psst! A little birdy told me that they have some new stuff coming out very soon, between late August or early September till December. You don’t want to miss any of it! Stay up to date with it all on their Instagram and Facebook pages.

A little bit of chocolate a day keeps the doctor away. Alright, probably not, but it does keep the stress away! So support someone’s passion project while you’re at it!

Visuals courtesy of Fossa Chocolate.

Baani Kaur

Aspiring to achieve great heights like every human in the world, but till then, enjoy the most dramatic and sarcastic person you will ever read from.

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