Years ago when I was looking out for a good cocoa powder to make my famous chocolate brownies (famous because the girls used to take two batches to school – one for themselves and one for their friends) and Arif told me to buy some loose packed cocoa powder which he claimed was Malaysian. I did wonder what kind of powder it was in the first place since it neither had a label nor was I able to taste it since it was sealed in a pre-weighed packet, but being trustful by nature and not having had a bad experience with Arif, went by what he said and wasn’t disappointed. In fact, I’ve been buying Malaysian cocoa ever since.
Actually Malaysian cocoa itself was a revelation because I remember learning about the two cash crops in Malaysia which were Rubber and Palm oil. Obviously somewhere down the line, Cocoa was introduced to this country and it has made inroads into its agricultural bounty.
According to the International Cocoa Organisation
Cocoa plants respond well to relatively high temperatures, with a maximum annual average of 30 – 32ºC and a minimum average of 18 – 21ºC.
Variations in the yield of cocoa trees from year to year are affected more by rainfall than by any other climatic factor. Trees are very sensitive to a soil water deficiency. Rainfall should be plentiful and well distributed through the year. An annual rainfall level of between 1,500mm and 2,000mm is generally preferred. Dry spells, where rainfall is less than 100mm per month, should not exceed three months
A hot and humid atmosphere is essential for the optimum development of cocoa trees. In cocoa producing countries, relative humidity is generally high: often as much as 100% during the day, falling to 70-80% during the night.
The cocoa tree will make optimum use of any light available and traditionally has been grown under shade. Its natural environment is the Amazonian forest which provides natural shade trees. Shading is indispensable in a cocoa tree’s early years.
And since Malaysia is a tropical country with all these parameters, it would be the ideal place to cultivate cocoa.
The Cocoa Boutique
During my recent trip to Malaysia, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that our hotel Renaissance was bang opposite the Cocoa Boutique which is in the Malaysia Tourism Centre Complex on Jalan Ampang. So Sunday morning when I had some time to spare, I made a quick dash to this shop and feasted on the chocolate treats. Sadly, this was just a visual feast since it was Sunday and the shop was only open for sale but apparently, according to Jeevan our guide, if you go on any other day, you can experience a tasting of the chocolates that have been created specially for tropical climates.
From a small beginning in 2005, Coco Boutique has become an International brand and many people come for their hand made chocolates and their unique chocolates like chili chocolate, Tongkat Ali ( made out of Ginseng), Durian and even curry.
Since this chocolate is made specially for tropical countries and stays without refrigeration, I bought a whole load of Hazelnut, almond and assorted chocolate gift packs. I also bought some sugar-free which met with great approval from Hubby Dear.
As for the rest of us, indeed this chocolate is creamy and dreamy and truly magical.
So the next time you are in KL or at Genting HIghland, do drop by at the Cocoaboutique for a magical chocolate experience.
p.s. You can even attend the DIY session at the Harriston factory and take home your own hand made chocolates or even see a small demonstration at the Cocoa Boutique at
Cocoa Boutique Flagship at Malaysia Tourism Centre (MTC)
Pusat Perlancongan Malaysia, 139 Jalan Ampang,
50450 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Tel: +603-2162 2008 / 4008 Fax: +603-2164 2008