When Carl Linnaeus, the father of modern taxonomy, named the cocoa tree Theobroma cacao, he knew what he was talking about. For Theobroma comes from the Greek ‘theo’, god, and ‘broma’, food; high praise for anything else, but almost an understatement for chocolate.
Singapore is no stranger to chocolatiers, of course. But then come a few gushing posts from my friends (inveterate foodies, the lot) about Demochoco, an online-only joint. Their website is intriguing and encouraging – innovative flavours on one hand, single-origin on the other, clearly meticulous sourcing throughout. I get in touch with Jialiang, the proprietor, who very kindly sells me a sneak preview of their tasting set.
‘Don’t review the packaging,’ he tells me, because it isn’t settled yet. I don’t know what he’s on about though, because the white boxes are lovely, and- all right I’ll stop here.
The tasting set comprises four different flavours – matcha, kinako, apple brandy and a 63% Ilianka, the latter a single origin chocolate from Peru. I didn’t even know Peru produced cacao, but perhaps that’s the point.
Kinako probably has the mildest flavour of the four – or so I thought. I’m not much for white chocolate, but here it makes for an interesting contrast – its milkiness a base for the slight twinge of smoke and umami in the roasted soybean flour. The aftertaste is that of a little salt, but not piercingly so. It’s intriguing.
Matcha, on the other hand… I had some expectations for this, especially seeing that the green tea is sourced from Marukyu Koyamaen, a very reputable (and pricey) brand. But it turns out that the tea flavour is a little too light. It ends up getting shouted down by the cloying white chocolate’s sweetness, surfacing only around the fringes and at the very end. When it does surface, though, it’s nicely astringent and botanic.
Like I said, I really don’t like white chocolate, so your mileage may vary. But I’d rather just make tea from the powder and drink it.
After tea, the liquor. Demochoco’s goods are in the namachoco style (exemplified elsewhere by Royce), which is already easy-melting and delicate. Pack the ganache with 12 year Nikka Hirosaki apple brandy, and it practically melts between the fingers. The combination of a slightly acidulated dark chocolate and apply brandy that’s still a little sweet, a little rough, is very well thought through.
63% Ilianka – a strong first impression of fruitlike notes – berries, a little sweetness and spiciness, before giving way to refreshing bittersweet notes that linger for a long while. The online introduction to this says there’s ‘nothing much to say’, but it’s more that there’s little that can be expressed in words. It’s… strong, yes, but it’s also subtle, and it’s a rush but also a lingering caress. This is one to eat slowly, to mull over as it melts in the mouth.
Jialiang hasn’t said when the tasting set will be out; my guess is that he’s still trying to figure out the look of the box to ship it in. Certainly there’s no issue with what’s going to be in the box, for the most part. Look forward to it and place your orders when they come; at $45 for four flavours, it’s not a bad deal at all.
Contact no.: 9683 2136