Experience Artisanal Chocolate making with Benns Chocolate

Have you ever get a chance to really learn and discover how to make chocolate… have you ever tasted a raw cacao fruit… (I have and it actually taste like mangosteen)

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Well, I was one of the lucky ones who got to visit Benns Chocolate Factory Sdn Bhd very recently….

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Benns Chocolate Factory is a premier Malaysian chocolate manufacturer, who has officially launched Asia’s first open-concept chocolate factory and café  to bring the experience of chocolate making closer to the consumer…

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The cacao  is the dried and fully fermented seed of Theobroma cacao, from which cocoa solids (a mixture of nonfat substances) and cocoa butter (the fat) can be extracted…

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Here are some interesting facts about cacao….

*The cacao tree is native to the Amazon Basin.

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*More than 4,000 years ago, it was consumed by pre-Columbian cultures along the Yucatán, including the Maya, and as far back as Olmeca civilization in spiritual ceremonies.

*Chemical analysis of residue extracted from pottery excavated at an archaeological site at Puerto Escondido, in Honduras, indicates that cocoa products were first consumed there sometime between 1500 and 1400 BC.

*The cocoa bean was also a common currency throughout Mesoamerica before the Spanish conquest.

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*Cacao trees grow in a limited geographical zone, of about 20° to the north and south of the Equator.

*The cacao plant was first given its botanical name by Swedish natural scientist Carl Linnaeus – Theobroma (“food of the gods”) cacao.

*Cocoa was an important commodity in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. A Spanish soldier who was part of the conquest of Mexico by Hernán Cortés tells that when Moctezuma II, emperor of the Aztecs, dined, he took no other beverage than chocolate, served in a golden goblet. Flavored with vanilla or other spices, his chocolate was whipped into a froth that dissolved in the mouth. No fewer than 60 portions each day reportedly may have been consumed by Moctezuma II, and 2,000 more by the nobles of his court.

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Celebrating its 20th year of chocolate-making, Benns Chocolate’s latest factory caters for its artisanal bean-to-bar brand Benns Ethicoa with the theme “Towards a More Intimate Chocolate Experience” in a move to promote ethical and natural chocolate making…

This also marks a new chapter in the company’s illustrious chocolate making history with the launch of the Benns Ethicoa Chocolate factory, an independent facility with dedicated capacity to produce up to 500kg of fine flavour single estate bean-to-bar chocolate per day.

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Benns Ethicoa’s business model is built with sustainability in mind, designed to help promote ethical cacao farming and enable owners of well-managed plantations to fetch higher prices that commensurate with better quality cacao beans.

Many people do not realise that most of the top-quality cacao can be found in Asia itself.. So by growing the artisanal chocolate market and expanding more into downstream segments with different cacao products, Benns aspire to revitalize the cacao farming community in Asia…

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Benns build good partnership with farmers and gets a greater understanding of the raw ingredients, giving them more influence and the ability to improve the quality of its chocolate by reducing reliance on intermediaries and sourcing directly from farms…

Currently, Benns Ethicoa’s cacao beans are sourced from carefully selected farms in Lampang in Thailand, Vung Tau in Vietnam, Calinan in the Philippines, Anaimalai in India, and Sungai Ruan in Pahang, Malaysia.

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As a reflection of the brand’s values of transparency and fairness, the new facility fully showcases the entire chocolate making process. Visitors can sign up for a factory tour to learn about the origins of chocolate, the farmers and the farms where the cacao beans originate and a unique     experience of the entire chocolate making process from bean to bar.

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For a bittersweet ending (literally), each tour concludes with a tasting of chocolate drinks and a selection of pastries, each made using cacao sourced from different farm estates around Asia.

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The tour experience is completed at the Ethicoa café that serves pastries and cakes made by its in-house pastry chefs using single estate chocolate produced in the factory.

Besides bean-to-bar chocolates, other fine flavour chocolate products under Benns Ethicoa label include cacao nibs, made from dried and roasted cocoa beans, a two-ingredient drinking chocolate (cacao powder and unrefined sugar) and cacao tea. Cacao drinks is Benns Ethicoa’s way of going back to basics, allowing the natural taste and health benefits of cacao to be brought to the forefront.

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To celebrate Benns Ethicoa’s latest facility as the new unique sensory experience destination for the public, it is offering a promotional free factory tour worth RM 30.00 each for every hour starting from 11 a.m.to 5 p.m.,  beginning from 13-19 December.

Each hourly slot is limited to only eight (8) attendees and include a free chocolate drink at Benns’ very own café at the end of the tour. This promotion is on first come first serve basis and early reservations at factorytour@bennsethicoa.com or +603 9082 0955 is highly advisable.

Address – Lot no. 1, Jalan CJ 1/6C Kawasan Perindustrian Cheras Jaya, Batu 11, 43200 Cheras, Selangor

Website – https://bennsethicoa.com/

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About bean-to-bar chocolate 

Bean-to-Bar chocolate, or more popularly known as craft chocolate, is currently one of the leading food trends worldwide which is witnessing a renewed popularity of organic and healthier alternatives food includig chocolate. Similar to speciality coffee, these artisanal chocolates can be crafted from unique tasting and high-quality cocoa beans grown in tropical weather in Latin American, Africa and Asia. Widely regarded as the highest standard in chocolate industry, single origin bean-to-bar chocolate    involves chocolate making process using cacao beans sourced from a designated estate. It also requires several crucial steps and careful treatment in its production process, beginning from cacao cultivation and farm management techniques right up to production to get the best flavour from the finished product.

At Benns Ethicoa, each chocolate product is made using cacao beans from single farm estates. The fruity, nutty and floral flavour notes of the chocolate are unique to their origin and each share their own story. This is known as Terroir or “Flavour of the land”, a concept ubiquitous in the wine world.

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