Taiwan chocolate scores gold

Chocolate from Taiwan is becoming well-known internationally. At the 2019 International Chocolate Awards (ICA), Taiwan’s chocolate producers bagged seven gold, 26 silver, and five bronze medals at ICA’s World Final Competition held in Guatemala last November.
During the competition's World Final stage, the 'Best in Competition' overall gold winner went to Taiwan's Fu Wan Chocolate for its Taiwan #1 62% Ping Tung Micro-batch – Plain/origin dark chocolate bars. Founded in 2017 in Pingtung County, Fu Wan Chocolate won five gold, 19 silver, and four bronze prizes in categories ranging from dark to flavoured chocolate.
Warren Hsu, the founder of Fu Wan Chocolate, told Tasty Asia that tree-to-bar chocolate in Taiwan is very fresh. The products have an average of 40 km food mileage (the distance food is transported from the time of its making until it reaches the consumer) which is maybe the shortest in the world. At the company's farm, Fu Wan uses scientific methods in cacao bean cultivation and production to avoid any contamination. Taiwan being at the end of the cacao spreading route means its cacao bean varieties (mostly from Indonesia and Malaysia) has a complex flavour mixture. Thus, Taiwan’s cacao is very well balanced, usually having an underlying note of chocolate and nuts, surrounded by raisin, caramel, vanilla, and liquorice.
But in some cases when unique fermentation or roasting protocol is applied, it can also be very fruity, and fragrant. That is why Fu Wan’s chocolate is usually very elegantly balanced with a humble but stable characteristic. And when it's combined with other ingredients such as spices, fruits, teas, it can be a perfect marriage, Hsu said.
Chocolate confectionery and tree-to-bar craft chocolate are two different markets. Still, they are getting close to each other, said Hsu. Following the global food trend, confectionery is going healthier and “boutiquized”. Confectionery products are also now associated with sustainability-related issues such as fair-trade, child-labour, environment-friendliness. These trends also provide excellent opportunities for craft chocolate to grow, which of course benefits Fu Wan, Hsu explained.
But to grow their markets internationally, Taiwanese chocolatiers still need to overcome some challenges. “First is language, Taiwan is not ready to provide English content, service, and products to the international market,” said Hsu. “Second is the perspective of the market because Taiwan is such a small market. So a chocolatier must have the insights to different markets so that he can amplify his value to the maximum."
At the moment, Fu Wan’s international focus is the Japanese market. It's the biggest market in Asia at this moment, he said.

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