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Against all odds, you know, these farmers who were once among thousands and are now down to just a handful of growers, the finest plots are the ones that have survived, and the ones that have stayed are the ones worth maintaining.
-Ning-Geng Ong, Chocolate Concierge Founder
Ning has been working in the chocolate sector in Peninsular Malaysia for over a decade. He is presently producing, fermenting, and processing his own cacao beans into chocolate under the trademarks Culture Cacao and Chocolate Concierge. Most of this work has been completed in conjunction with reforestation efforts in indigenous villages near his residence in Kuala Lumpur.
So, after a decade of hard effort, why is Ning’s delectable chocolate only available in Malaysia? Is he responsible for the revival of Malaysia’s old but fading cacao culture? In this conversation, we go into the market hole that led Ning to where he is now, as well as what he aims to achieve with his several initiatives over the next decade. I hope you liked listening to our talk as much as I did.
It should be noted that Malaysia was the subject of my conversation with Ning, and the final result was the audio episode on Malaysian cacao and chocolate.
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Max Gandy shared a PSTA post from Chocolate Travel (@damecacao) on December 16, 2019 at 7:51am.
We cover the following topics:
- how Ning got started in the cacao fermentation & chocolate making business after returning to his native Malaysia
- recent history & the state of Malaysian cacao, especially as related to his current work with indigenous communities on the Peninsula
- the first few bars of chocolate & batches of fermented beans Ning ever made, and the current fermentation culture in Malaysia
- popular chocolate confectionery in Malaysia
- organic, agroforesty-style growth of cacao in pursuit of higher levels of biodiversity within Malaysia’s shrinking forests
- Peninsular Malaysia vs. Malaysian Borneo
- why Malaysian farmers may be switching to other crops
- the #EatLocal movement in Malaysia
Contact Ning and Chocolate Concierge
Webpage of Chocolate Concierges.
Instagram: Chocolate Concierge
Facebook page: ChocolateConcierge
Contact Chocolate On The Road
@chocolateontheroad on Instagram
@chocolateontheroad on Facebook
Our show music is Phil Reavis’ Roadtrip, and our transition music is People Like Us’ Were Gonna Be Around and Lobo Loco’s Sweet Dreams.
Click here to listen to the previous episode.