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From Indonesia to Fresno. From bean to bar. From Molucca Chocolate to you. The co-founders of one local chocolate company like to keep things sweet and simple. Literally. Just one source and two ingredients combined (through hours of painstaking attention to taste and detail) to make delicious chocolate bars.
Longtime friends Radinal Latuconsina and Yohanes Makmur founded Molucca two years ago. Both originally from Indonesia, the two men met while studying engineering at Fresno State and are more like family, says Latuconsina. Friends, family and now partners in the craft chocolate business.
Latuconsina got the idea to start making chocolate a few years ago, after a visit to Indonesia with it’s many cacao tree plantations. He originally began making chocolate with anything he could find — his wife’s hair dryer, various kitchen utensils — before taking a course in chocolate making online and recruiting Makmur to open up a small production facility in Fresno.
Molucca currently produces between 1,200 to 1,500 chocolate bars a month, using cacao beans from a single source. So far, they have created bars using beans from Indonesia, Peru and the Dominican Republic, in percentages ranging from 70% to 100% cacao. Using only two ingredients, sugar and cacao, flavor variations are created during the roasting process and depend on the bean. The Indonesian beans have a nutty flavor, while Peruvian beans have a fruitier taste.
After two years, Molucca’s high-quality, ethically-sourced chocolate is getting noticed, by local businesses and local sweet tooths. Molucca was given the People’s Choice Award for Best New Product at 2015 Fresno Food Expo and is now available at shops all over town. Mayor Ashley Swearengin is even a fan. You can get your hands on a bar at the Vineyard Farmers’ Market (Blackstone and Shaw) Saturdays from 7 a.m. – noon, and at the following locations:
Little Leaf Tea
Here, co-founder Latuconsina talks about his early, unsuccessful attempts at chocolate making, Molucca’s emphasis on single-origin beans and fair-trade practices and just what makes a Molucca chocolate bar different from a Hershey’s bar.