Cacao was brought to Asia, via the Spanish territory of the Philippines, in the late 17th century. From there it spread to Indonesia, India and Malaysia over the next 200 years. It arrived in Thailand some 120 years ago, originally only in the south, from Malaysian farmers who were trading ideas and crops across the border. Then the government began subsidizing cacao cultivation in the hope of making it a huge commercial export, but at the end of the twentieth century, the production started to decline.
Today, Thailand’s cacao bean harvest is back on stage with a local production estimated at about 1,000 tonnes per year, mainly located in the provinces of Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Chumphon, Ranong, Prachuap Khiri Kan, Nakhon Si Thammarat and Chanthaburi. This production number hardly rivals with neighbouring countries such as Malaysia (10,000 tonnes), Vietnam (50,000 tonnes) and Indonesia (100,000 tonnes), but the country’s cacao production is renowned for a variety of distinct flavours, differing from one region to the other. If growing cacao is still a secondary pursuit for most Thai farmers, a sort of “extra” seasonal income rather than a main goal, a growing number of artisan chocolatiers have make it their quest in life. Following the exponential growth of specialty coffee shops, Chiang Mai’s newest love affair is with handmade chocolate from a number of microfactories, shops, and online sales. In this issue of Chang Puak Magazine, we are meeting with one of the most successful chocolate businesses in Chiang Mai: Kan-Ve-La Crafted Chocolate.
Life’s greatest achievements are rarely accomplished in isolation. So it is no surprise to find a wonderful trio behind the success of Kan-Ve-La Crafted Chocolate - Mr Top, his wife Sa, and his sister Tip. Together they created Kan-Ve-La Crafted Chocolate company. As I have known them for a few years, my first question was “How did you decide to change from a successful stock market career to becoming a cacao artisan?” The answer centred on choosing a quality of life over material success:
“We decided spending quality time with our families, and indulging our love of nature was more important than the treadmill of the rat race.”
chocolate contains both cocoa solids (the chocolaty part!) and cocoa butter (the natural fat present in the bean). Cocoa is then transformed into bars, bonbons and other chocolate delicacies
Working together since 2019, the trio from Kan- Ve-La Chocolate create all their products with love and care. In the near future they will be opening their bean-to-bar cafe in Chiang Mai (the shop is under construction), meanwhile they sell their products online and this has proved a great success! Their product range Includes Single Origin Chocolate Bars made of 70% / 80% cocoa along with Dark Chocolate Mass (100%) perfect for cakes, drinks and vegan needs. They also produce nutty chocolate bars (made with organic honey), Chocolate Ganache, Cacao Husk Tea and of course, delicious Chocolate Assortments (Chocolate Bonbons) made with tantalising flavour combinations including: mango-passion, honey-lemon and blueberry. Ms Tip is the one in charge of chocolate artistry. She has learned from the Professional School of Chocolate Art and the International Institute of Chocolate & Cocoa Tasting (IICCT). She took special classes with Chef Mac (Sarun Preedanorawut). Boasting indulgent fillings from nutty pralines, smooth caramels and tantalising fruity pieces, her collection is a delicious journey through some of chocolate’s most exciting expressions.
Chiang Mai now has a new golden product, grown and crafted on its land. And for chocoholics, that means ever more opportunities to indulge those insatiable cocoa cravings!
Check out Kan Ve La Crafted Chocolate’s delicious products, you will discover, share and treat your loved one with some of the most delicious chocolates made in Chiang Mai.
KAN VE LA CRAFTED CHOCOLATE :