Craft chocolates sometimes get labelled as overpriced chocolates, however, after a visit to Lemuel Bean to Bar Chocolate, we walked out with a whole new perspective on these finely crafted delicacies and chocolate in general.
From Bean To Bar
Lemuel Bean to Bar Chocolate opened one and a half years ago and recently shifted from West Coast Highway to The Star Vista at Buona Vista. More than just another chocolate shop, Lemuel’s new outlet at The Star offers an educational tour experience around its compact, in-house chocolate factory where you can learn about the history and heart behind this craft, as well as observe the process of making craft chocolate.
Lemuel was founded by Ronald Ng, a passionate chocolate-maker. He was inspired to set up Lemuel after a visit to Dandelion Chocolate & Green Bean to Bar in Tokyo, Japan. His hope is that the shop and its factory tours will help to raise the awareness and understanding of chocolates in Singapore.
Passion and Skill
One of the things that sets Lemuel’s chocolates apart from conventional chocolates is the masterful craftsmanship involved in their production, literally from bean all the way to the shelves in the shop. Each origin or flavour takes approximately one month or more to craft and each individual bar takes weeks to make. Behind each Lemuel chocolate is a meticulous process which involves sourcing and curating the beans.
“It may be a lot of work but at the end, the main objective is that we want a good quality bar of chocolate,” said Ronald with a smile.
It’s not just the time and labour but the heart and passion that goes into each chocolate that he hopes more people will be able to see and understand for themselves.
Lemuel’s chocolates are a purist’s dream and made from only two ingredients: roasted cocoa beans and raw organic cane sugar. The beans are sourced from 13 different countries and counting. Lemuel works as directly as possible with the farmers themselves, be it in person or through trusted agents. The price of craft chocolates ultimately helps farmers to improve their processes and contributes towards the making of more beautiful and high-quality cocoa.
Inside the Chocolate Factory
The starting point of a good chocolate bar is the beans. Ronald is actively involved in the process of sourcing the beans. He would go so far as to ask the farmers about the presence of any intercrops in the plantation which may add to the flavour of the chocolate.
After the beans are chosen and sent over, Lemuel begins the process of developing the chocolate flavour by roasting a small batch of the beans. Roasting develops the aroma of the cocoa and, at this stage of the chocolate development process, it is done at various temperatures to determine the best way to bring out the uniqueness of the bean.
At the production stage, beans are then hand sorted, cleaned and roasted to eventually get the cocoa nibs. The nibs are further processed before finally being ground.
The grind is what makes the chocolate creamy, smooth and melts instantly in your mouth. The story does not end there as the chocolate is then aged for two weeks and tempered before finally making its way to the shelves.
Craft Chocolate Taste Tests
If you wonder how different two simple ingredients can be, we urge you to head down and experience it for yourselves. Ronald told us that the taste of the chocolate is “ever-changing not because of the changing ingredients but because of the period of harvesting.”
We’d compare it to visiting the same country in different seasons and having a unique experience each time.
Lemuel also sells BonBons which feature gorgeously hand-painted art on the chocolate filled with centres that complement the chocolate.
After understanding the hard work that goes into making each BonBon, eating it became all the more difficult, but so much more satisfying.
At the end of the day, some things just have to be experienced for themselves, and a visit to Lemuel is sure to change your perspective of chocolates one way or another.
To gain a full appreciation of the intricacies involved in crafting chocolates, join one of Lemuel’s educational tours of its in-house factory at the back of the shop. These are held twice daily and the experience costs just $5 per person for up to a maximum of 5 people at a time.
Lemuel Bean To Bar Chocolate
Where: #B1-31, 1 Vista Exchange Green, The Star Vista, Singapore (138617)