The Art of Chocolate Making

PASSION talks with Toby Garritt, the founder of Pod Bali about his new chocolate factory and his insight regarding Indonesia’s chocolate industry.

A lot has changed when Pod Origin opened its door as a chocolate factory and café in Carang Sari Village, north of Sangeh Monkey Forest, five years ago. For once, it is now becoming the number one destination in the area, attracting visitors from all around the world to learn about chocolate making. Happily, the lush tropical landscape that surrounds the factory remains. And so does Pod’s dedication in sustainable sourcing that involve Bali’s local cacao farmers from Badung and Negara.

Founded by Toby Garritt who got curious on why chocolate wasn’t made where it’s grown, Pod has evolved to include three outlets and one new factory in Mengwi. Incorporating Balinese bamboo architecture, the new factory is a fine attempt in explaining and increasing people’s awareness about chocolate. How, for instance, Indonesia is the third largest cacao producer in the world and yet an Indonesian only consume 0.3kg of chocolate per capita each year? As comparison, Switzerland consumes 9kg and top the list as the world’s biggest chocolate consumers. The factory also showed the progress of Pod over the years through a display of its machinery, from a 5kg production capacity to its current state-of-art 500kg production capacity that Garritt compares like ‘going digital from analogue’. 

By increasing the batch with the modern technology and a carefully monitored processing, Pod can control the quality thoroughly to ensure that each batch is perfect. “Pod aims to be the combination of traditional technique with modern technology. We can be both authentic and innovative, without needing to be stuck in a hundred year old time loop where nobody can innovate with chocolate making,” says Garritt. Looking at the aesthetically pleasing variety of chocolate bars at the café, one can be mistaken to think that they were packed by machine. On the contrary, the packaging is done by hands. Each bar is individually hand-wrapped and hand-boxed, after being tabled or tempered, as the recipe requires.

With a dizzying array of tempestuous choices, from truffles to chocolate spread, Pod aims to broaden its market internationally in the upcoming years. Jakarta will also become the focus of its sales and marketing this year, so we can expect to see more of Pod’s exciting creations like the Ginger and Lemongrass or Sea Salt and Cacao Nibs bars from the Nectar Collection – a healthier option made of 64% dark chocolate sweetened with organic lontar flower nectar as opposed to refined sugar – in the stores.

“I think our awareness about locally produced chocolate continues to grow. Before, the market was only aware of the mass-produced chocolate but now we have come to realize that there is another kind of chocolate and that it is possible to produce good quality chocolate in Indonesia. The key is to maintain the quality and consistency, two of the qualities that made European chocolate famous. And, the only way we can do that is to pay a close attention and handle the quality of the product, from bean-to-bar,” explains Garritt passionately. “Making different kind of flavours and knowing that the products that we create are making people happy is making me happy. If chocolate making isn’t fun, then what is?”

Pod Factory 

Jalan Denpasar – Singaraja No. 29 Mengwi
T: +62 361 2091011