An Asian and Pacific Islander take on chocolates

photo courtesy of Jade Chocolates

Jade Chocolates, a company that specializes in handmade artisan chocolates with ingredients from Asia and the Pacific Islands, was established in 2008 with its mission to represent the mixture of Asian and Western cultures that coexists in San Francisco.

 Mindy Fong, a former architectural designer, started the company when she decided to raise a family, and was inspired by her grandfather, whose restaurants served Chinese and American foods.

The relatively new chocolate shop has been recognized nationwide for its creative use of culturally unique ingredients inspired by different Asian and Pacific Islander cultures.

Genmai, the double gold winner of the 2013 International Chocolate Awards semi-finals, is blended with roasted genmai, Japanese brown rice, and roasted green and fragrant jasmine tea to create nuttiness and a crunchy texture with floral aftertaste.

Terracotta, the first place winner of the Best New Product at the 2010 San Francisco Chocolate Salon, is made from chocolates mixed with pink sea salt and tamari almonds, which are soaked in Japanese tamari shoyu, to create the combination of salty and sweet flavors.

“It’s ingredients that I grew up with and also ingredients that I’m discovering by using it with chocolate,” Fong said. “So it’s finding my cultural heritage through ingredients as well as using ones that are known to childhood.”

Fong, who is of Filipino and Chinese descent, and was born and raised in San Francisco, added that she appreciates her cultural heritage as well as the mixed cultures she grew up with.

“That’s the whole basis in Jade Chocolates,” Fong said. “Jade is the stones that are found throughout Asia, so Jade Chocolate is all about Asian and Pacific Islanders’ flavor.”

Fong now seeks to take Jade Chocolates to the next level.

“The next phase is to open up a chocolate cafe,” Fong said.

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