Chocolate On The Road: Cambodia

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“For us it’s important, very important, that we protect the good name of Cambodian cacao.”

-Stefan, Co-founder of KamKav Cacao Company

Ancient temples or extermination. It seems that they are the two things that people think of first when they hear the phrase “Kingdom of Cambodia.” Cambodia is a country in Southeast Asia that shares borders with Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand. This country is known for much more than its history. Travelers are learning about the country’s blossoming gourmet cuisine culture, as well as the extremely rural regions that support it. One of these places is cultivating the nation’s first cacao, and it is attracting the attention of tourists.

In the last year, Cambodia has seen its very first harvest of cacao beans and launched its very first chocolate factory that makes chocolate from bean to bar. In this episode, we have conversations with the two teams who were responsible for bringing those concepts into reality. We discuss the challenges they’ve encountered, their hopes for the future, and the strategies they have devised for extending Cambodia’s influence in an environmentally responsible manner. Cacao from Cambodia is soon to be on your radar, in if it wasn’t already on there.

Follow this link to read an article on the culture of cacao in the neighboring country of Vietnam.

Topics We Cover

  • Consumption of chocolate and chocolate awareness in Cambodia
  • some of the difficult and painful events that have occurred in Cambodia’s history
  • the story of how the first Cambodian chocolate and its cocoa were brought into existence
  • the challenges faced in cultivating cocoa in a manner that is environmentally responsible
  • Cambodia is the source of a number of well-known items.
  • the vital role that trust plays in bringing Cambodian farmers even before there is a market for their products

Show Timeline

0:00-3:00~ Country & contextual introduction.

3:00-7:50~ Background on Stefan and Chanthol, co-founders of KamKav Company in Mondolkiri, and why they started the project in the first place.

7:50-11:45~ Diving into the basics of how Cambodia’s first chocolate makers got their start, and how they’re setting themselves up to represent the Kingdom. (Wat Chocolate)

11:45-17:10~ Building the future of Cambodia’s global reputation with cacao & eco-tourism in mind… and convincing the country’s young farmers that it’s possible. (KamKav Cacao)

17:10-24:00~ Using chocolate as a tool to teach proof of concept to potential farmers, in a country with zero history of chocolate consumption; protecting the good name of Cambodian cacao. (KamKav Cacao)

24:00-26:37~ Chanthol & Stefan’s vision for KamKav’s future in the region and across the country, & the end of the episode.

More About Our Guests

Corinne and Gatan, co-founders of Wat Chocolate, Cambodia’s first bean-to-bar chocolate company, use only cacao that is directly traded within the country. Wat Chocolate uses only Cambodian cacao. Check out Wat’s Website, as well as his Instagram and Facebook accounts.

Co-founders Chanthol and Stefan of KamKav Cacao Farm in the Mondolkiri Province of Cambodia are responsible for establishing the KamKav Company. They are doing this in collaboration with a small group of local farmers, and it will be the first cacao collective in the country. Check out KamKav’s Website, as well as his Instagram and Facebook accounts.