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Marou Chocolates from Hello Chocolate

The best chocolates in Singapore

Our blind taste test of the best chocolates that you won't find in your local 7-Eleven, including those from artisanal, locally made suppliers. Additional reporting by Andrea Chong

Written by
Time Out Singapore editors
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Chocolate. That classic, sure-to-please gift that can – depending on where you're at relationship-wise – propel you straight out of the friendzone or butter your partner up (hey, chocolate is an aphrodisiac, right?). And it doesn't just have to be just for Valentines Day, chocolates make for a tasty treat regardless of the occasion.

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The blind taste test

For the food geek
Photo: Jay Chua

For the food geek

Fossa Chocolate

Fossa is all about the cacao. Owner Jay Chua sources his beans from farmers all over the globe, who ferment and dry them without using industrial means of processing. Then, here in Singapore, he continues the process of roasting, conching and packing the single-origin chocolates he sells on his website. 

We tried the 72 percent from Tanzania ($8) and 70 percent from Madagascar ($8). The Madagascan has a bright, spicy and acidic flavour, and Tanzania is dry with a sweet and astringent finish. Fossa's bars are divisive and an acquired taste.

Packaging 3/5

Flavour 3/5

Texture 5/5

www.fossachocolate.com 

For the tea connoisseur
Photo: Lee Xian Jie

For the tea connoisseur

Demochoco

Demochoco had the gourmands in us clawing for these bite-sized powdered cubes. Creator Jialiang Lim began his journey as a student in Paris, taking his love of combining flavours with cocoa to create something innovative. We sampled green tea truffles ($20), made with Marukyu-koyamaen matcha from Kyoto, as well as the Marco Polo ($20) and Earl Grey bites ($20), both created with Mariage Frères teas imported from Paris. A cat mascot sits on the Singapurr Story ($20) box, which hides rich dollops of gula Melaka and coconut. 

The soft textures of the truffles belie their intense flavours. The Earl Grey bonbons are hands-down the best of the lot, with a strong perfume of bergamot balanced with dark chocolate. Matcha is also a winner, although it didn’t really taste anything like your typical chocolate, and opinions were split over whether it was better than Royce. We were optimistic about Singapurr Story – because who can resist a cat pun – except it really didn't taste much like chocolate at all but a fancy take on a local dessert. Marco Polo is decadent, with a multi-dimensional flavour that evolves from slightly bitter to a finish that's quite like white chocolate.

Oh, and the chocolates are quick to melt, so don't make plans to hand-deliver them to your girlfriend in Pasir Ris without first packing them in an ice box.

Packaging 4/5

Flavour 4/5

Texture 4/5

www.demochoco.com

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For your first Valentine

For your first Valentine

Beans to Bars

Victor Seah, one of the self-professed ‘labourers’ (aka 'co-founder') of Beans to Bars, printed our magazine cover on a pinewood box packed with chocolate goodies – the custom-printed cases are a complimentary service with any purchase over $80. And although we didn’t get to choose which chocolates would arrive (neither will you if your order this box), Victor sent over his favourite – the 80 percent dark chocolate with honeycomb ($18) – that had us fantasising about a super suave version of a Crunchie bar.

The chocolate is of good quality but the nuggets of golden honeycomb are scattered throughout the bar, so some bites were more bitter than others. Other interesting flavours that Beans to Bars sent over came from Chocolate Naïve: the brand packs caramel, berries, hops and honey into smooth, simple bars. We love caramel the most.

Packaging 5/5

Flavour 3/5

Texture 4/5

www.beanstobars.sg

For the art and design geek
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  • Chocolate and sweets
  • Orchard

Janice Wong Sweets

Like most of Janice Wong's treats, the ones we picked out were stunning, painted gems of art. At $3.50 a bite and with Wong's brand name and reputation, we were looking forward to quality indulgence. However, we can't say we were thoroughly impressed.

Go for the salted caramel and pop rocks. The caramel is well-balanced with complexity like a luxe Ferrero Rocher, while popping candy in pop rocks excites the tongue. And although the chocolate casings are of irrefutably good quality, the pandan filling in one is too creamy and thick, almost like swallowing a teaspoon of kaya. The chilli chocolate is a dramatic piece, sweet in the beginning, then stark, smoky and burnt at the end. A few of us compare it to being punched in the throat – which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Packaging 5/5

Flavour 3/5

Texture 4/5

www.janicewong.online

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For the beauty junkie

For the beauty junkie

Ocelot Raspberry & Vanilla from Hello Chocolate

This online chocolate retailer by husband-and-wife duo Dmitry and Nina Minkov carries award-winning names such as Marou and Akessons, packed in strikingly beautiful wrappers.

A raspberry and vanilla bar from Ocelot ($16) was way too palatable that we were in danger of inhaling the entire thing. The dehydrated raspberry pieces hit our taste buds with the right amount of tanginess, although this loses points for being ‘vanilla and raspberry’-flavoured because it's more like really nice chocolate sprinkled with dried fruit. A very girly bar, with printed lipstick marks on the cover, perfect for your BFF or sister.

Packaging 4/5

Flavour 4/5

Texture 4/5

www.hellochocolate.asia

For yourself

For yourself

Beschle Lassi 36 percent from Hello Chocolate

One of the highest-scoring chocolates of our entire taste test that managed to please everyone was Beschle’s Lassi 36 percent white chocolate with lemon and cardamom ($12). The citrus gives a piquant twist to each bite, which balances out the sweetness of the white chocolate from Switzerland – it's like a lemon cheesecake in a bar. The hints of cardamom are also so carefully balanced that they hardly offend.

Packaging 4/5

Flavour 5/5

Texture 5/5 

www.hellochocolate.asia

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For an old-fashioned partner

For an old-fashioned partner

Akesson's Madagascar with Pink Pepper from Hello Chocolate

Akesson’s Madagascar with Pink Pepper 75% ($12) bears stickers boasting awards for best-flavoured chocolate. If you’re gifting this to a foodie, especially along with a bottle of whiskey, it will go down a treat but it is best not to try your luck because packaging looks like a holiday souvenir. The texture was velvety as it liquefied in our mouths, with a slight astringency. The fruitiness and crunch of the peppercorn came through, as did florals and pings of nuttiness.

Packaging 3/5

Flavour 5/5

Texture 4/5

www.hellochocolate.asia

For the understated, yet stylish

For the understated, yet stylish

Marou Dak Lak 70 percent from Hello Chocolate

Marou wraps the product of single-origin Vietnamese beans between seriously sexy packaging. It's svelte and luxurious to hold, similar to the feeling you get when you first cradle your new iPhone in your hands. The Dak Lak 70 percent mini single-origin dark chocolate ($5) is a lighter, more refreshing and less bitter version of a dark chocolate. A simple dark classic for an elegant date.

Packaging 4/5

Flavour 3/5

Texture 4/5

www.hellochocolate.asia

Need more choc?

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  • Chocolate and sweets
  • Buona Vista

Lemuel Chocolate is another bean-to-bar chocolate maker in Singapore. The chocolatiers mindfully source cocoa beans from farmers and agents around the world, and manually sort, roast, crack and grind the raw materials into individual handcrafted bars. Besides it's award-winning single origin bars, Lemuel is also known for the gift boxes, containing pastries, cocoa tea and hot chocolate granules. This Valentine's Day, it's not too late to order some fancy bon bons which start at $13 for a box of four. The bon bon sets include flavours like puzu, ondeh ondeh, s'mores and hojicha. 

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  • Chocolate and sweets
  • Orchard

If you're shopping for someone adventurous, give Anjali Chocolate a go. The luxury, handmade treats here are made from fine Belgian couverture chocolate imported from France. But the real clincher is the Singapore-inspired collection – there are flavours like kaya toast, Chinese five spice and teh tarik. The four-piece box starts at $15, going up to $60 for 16 pieces. 

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  • Chocolate and sweets
  • Raffles Place

How about some edible footwear for the quirky, chocolate-loving person in your life? That's an option at Leela's Fine Chocolates. The chocolate high heels come in three sizes (starting at $12 for two small heels), and are available in milk, dark, white and caramel chocolate. You can also mix and match individual chocolates (from $3.25 each) from the classic, inventions, asia and alcohol selections. If you want to play it a bit safe, but not boring, we suggest trying out the Baileys, a creamy Baileys flavoured ganache coated in milk or dark chocolate, and the ginger, made from fresh ginger blended with dark chocolate and coated with yet more dark chocolate. 

 

 

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  • Chocolate and sweets
  • Jurong East

For delicious chocolate without the sin, Chocoelf is the answer. Little to no sugar is used in these chocolate-y creations, not surprising considering that one-half of the founding team is a doctor. Indulge in their sugar-free pure chocolate bars (from $7.80), or those infused with bold Asian flavours, including kaya and durian. If you need more texture and interest in your chocolate, go for the nuts coated in sugar-free chocolate – also a double-whammy of healthy fats.  

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