Thai Craft Chocolate is On the Rise as Unique Asian-Inspired Flavours Take Centre Stage

Rapid expansion of cacao cultivation in Thailand fuels a thriving craft chocolate scene, reflecting the growing demand for locally-sourced and high-quality chocolate products.

Increasing consumer emphasis on traceability, ethics and health drives the rising demand for craft chocolate, signaling a shift towards sustainable and unique chocolate choices.

Thai farmers’ dedication to quality cacao and craft chocolate makers’ pursuit of exceptional flavours highlight the rising significance of local and artisanal chocolate production, positioning Thailand as a key player in the global craft chocolate market.

In just a few years, the cultivation of cacao has spread across Thailand, paving the way for a flourishing craft chocolate scene. Thai farmers have honed their skills and refined their products, resulting in a significant improvement in quality and readiness for larger-scale production and consumption.

Simultaneously, the demand for craft chocolate has been steadily rising as consumers prioritize traceability, ethics, and health, Siamaya Chocolate has emerged as a prominent brand in this thriving market.

The craft chocolate company from Chiang Mai, has been delighting customers since 2017 with their premium chocolates crafted from natural, locally sourced Thai cacao beans. It was founded by friends Kristian Levinsen and Neil Ransom, who shared a passion for Asian cuisines. They learned every step of chocolate making from scratch, and have since dedicated themselves to improving and perfecting the quality of their chocolate products.

Cacao thrives in Southeast Asia; Thailand boasts a unique hybrid variety that has been developed locally. Ransom explains that by processing the cacao in a craft manner, without using alkaline to strip away its natural acidity or fruity flavours, Siamaya Chocolate can highlight the distinctive taste of Thai cacao. Most of their ingredients come from Chiang Mai, where the cacao bears a delightful cherry flavour. Additionally, they explore using cacao from other provinces, continuously experimenting and creating new taste sensations.

In their pursuit of creating exceptional chocolates, Siamaya pays around two to two-and-a-half times as much as Fairtrade programmes usually pay for cacao. They often go on field trips to make sure the cacao is grown sustainably and with respect to the nature around the cacao plantations.

“Initially, we knew that Thailand had no craft chocolate, so, in order to make people want to try ours, we tried to make them unique. We decided to focus on Asian and Thai flavours, and use local ingredients. This has helped us become experts in creating unique and interesting flavours. Our top selling chocolate bars, apart from plain chocolates, are fun Thai flavours, such as Thai tea, pomelo, durian, banana, mango and chilli. These are the flavors that we think capture the essence of Thailand,” says Ransom.

Siamaya now makes up to 22 flavours per month, including original, sugar-free, seasonal, and special flavours for the Gourmet Market. They are developing new fun flavours, such as pineapple fried rice and mango sticky rice.

Ransom also adds “Big industrial chocolate brands will never create these flavours. We encourage customers to pay a bit more to get better, more ethical sourced and more sustainable cocoa, and get flavours they have never tried.”

With a strong commitment to environmental sustainability, Siamaya Chocolate uses zero plastic in all their packaging. Their colourful paper wrap embodies a delightful Thai aesthetic, making it the perfect gift for travellers and locals alike. Besides being available in various supermarkets throughout Thailand, Siamaya Chocolate can also be found in Hong Kong, Japan, the USA and two online shops in Europe.

In their endeavour to expand further, Siamaya Chocolate aims to double their production, currently at 22,000-23,000 chocolate bars per month, by the end of the year. Their objective is not only to meet growing demand but also to support Thai farmers by purchasing more cacao. By ensuring a stable market for cacao, Siamaya Chocolate contributes significantly to the cacao industry in Thailand, fulfilling one of their core missions.

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Words by: Pattareeya Puapongsakorn
Photo courtesy of Siamaya Chocolate