In Bandung, Chocolate With a Bite of Luxury
It wouldn’t be a proper Valentine’s Day without chocolate, as chocolatiers all over the world know. In Bandung, two cacao crafters have been hard at work to create the sweetest, most creative offerings for lovers in search of the perfect treat this holiday.
Chocolatier Kiki Gumelar, who sells his Chocodot brand of sweets, came up with a package called Tekanan Batin Cinta (Love Under Mental Pressure), or TBC, for Valentine’s Day this year. The package includes five fun varieties: coklat gawat darurat (emergency chocolate), coklat anti galau (anti-mellow chocolate), coklat tolak miskin (poor-repellent chocolate), coklat badai tsunami (tsunami wave chocolate) and coklat sesuwatu banged (chocolate for something meaningful).
“Our flavors represent the feelings that people experience when they’re in love,” Kiki said.
Each chocolate bar also contains a message. Loosely translated from Indonesian, the anti-mellow chocolate, for example, says it “comes in handy for hopelessness, exam failures, unrequited love, nightmares, hesitation, nervousness and doubt.”
And the humor doesn’t end there. The message goes on to read, “100 percent stylish, 100 percent confident, 100 percent presence, 100 percent narcissistic, and bye bye to calories.”
“I want to make people smile,” Kiki said. “And people can then give something funny or unique to their loved ones.”
Although Kiki has achieved a light, casual feel with his products, he is serious when it comes to actually making them, experimenting with different flavors and choosing only top quality chocolate for his Valentine’s Day selections.
He uses a mix of dark, white and milk chocolate for his products, combining them with unusual flavors such as chili. For example, the tsunami flavor includes extra spice to give tasters a surprise upon the first bite.
In addition to his TBC offerings, Kiki has two other special editions that come with equally creative names: coklat cegah alay (cheesiness preventive chocolate) and coklat enteng jodoh (easy-to-get-a-soulmate chocolate), which have bittersweet and sweet flavors, respectively.
When it comes to naming the flavors, he considers lingo from social media.
“I’m mostly inspired by daily conversations with my friends, primarily through the microblogging Web site Twitter,” he said. “People use different kinds of language when they communicate or post their status updates on Twitter. I want my chocolate to be updated and relevant for those who are accustomed to the Internet and social media.”
Kiki says his products became best-sellers last year, and this year he is confident he can repeat that success.
“For the TBC packages, we sold 1,000 chocolate bars in just the first hour during the launch earlier this month,” he said.
Valentine’s Day is also a special occasion for chocolatier Adisty Halim, 25, the owner of Dhestchza chocolate products.
Adisty started her chocolate business in Bandung after graduating from high school, and today she specializes in unique, artistic chocolates. She sells everything from chocolate bars to 3D creations, and she invites people to place custom orders on Valentine’s Day with no additional charge.
“Customers can request special designs and even flavors for Valentine’s Day gifts,” she said, adding that the most difficult orders last year were for a 3D chocolate violin and piano.
“Since we didn’t have the molds, we had to make them [the molds] first,” she said. “But we didn’t charge the customers for the extra work and cost. We only charged them for the amount of chocolate used for the designs.”
This year, Adisty is offering several designs, including chocolate shaped like a heart puzzle and another like a 3D heart and rose.
“For flavors, we try to follow the trends as well as customers’ wishes,” she said. “We want our customers to be able to keep their gifts longer, so we make products that don’t have to be stored in the fridge. People can just store them at room temperature without worrying that they’ll melt.”
Her shop on Jalan Kebon Bibit Tenga has already seen a spike in orders, selling more than 100 kilograms of chocolate this week. Her products cost about Rp 50,000 to Rp 365,000 ($5 to $40).
With so many fun offerings, nutritionist Nur Fatimah has some good news: In moderation, chocolate can actually be healthful because it contains antioxidants that help protect cells against the effects of free radicals, which are responsible for aging and tissue damage.
But too much chocolate, she says, may lead to various health problems, including obesity and diabetes. Many chocolate producers use excessive amounts of sugar, she said, and advised people to instead opt for chocolate with more milk than sugar.
“But best and healthiest of all is dark chocolate, so make sure you give some of it to your loved ones,” she said.