“I think even if the [cacao] beans are all the same, but the makers are different, the outcome is very different.”
-Emily Paek, Founder of Public Chocolatory
Emily Paek was one of the first craft chocolate makers in Korea, and quite frankly, it’s been a long road to journey down. Over the last few years I’ve had the honor of watching Emily’s chocolate brand, Public Chocolatory, grow into its space and educate the Korean public as to the merits of craft chocolate. Being located outside of Seoul, where the majority of tourists stay, has been both a blessing and a curse.
While Emily has no chocolate competition in Chuncheon, the local market is about 2% the size of Seoul (an unfair comparison, but still). Other than a recently-hired employee, the shop has been a one-woman show for almost 3 years. So how does one bring fine chocolate to a populace still getting used to the idea of dessert, but fully willing to pay $6 for a cup of coffee?
Note that the topic of the Korean chocolate market plays heavily in my questions thanks to the podcast episode for which I was interviewing Emily.
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Emily at her chocolate shop in Chuncheon, South Korea, where the interview took place.
Topics We Cover
- How Emily got into craft chocolate making after illness made her quit her corporate job
- Problems with cultivating bean to bar chocolate culture in Korea, from acquiring & educating customers to sourcing equipment
- Ways she’s moved her business forward
- Problems with sourcing cacao in a way that balances business, ethics, and community-building
- Most popular flavors and products in South Korea
- A message to the Korean chocolate market