Sweet treat in Bali chocolate factory
LOCATED on a secluded hill, roughly a one-hour drive north of Denpasar, you will find a chocolate factory where visitors can have their own Balinese-style Willy Wonka experience, watching chocolate being made and, of course, a chance to mould your own shapes.
Toby Garritt, the founder of Pod Chocolate, built the main store at Canang Sari village, surrounded by Balinese countryside, next to the Bali Elephant Park.
Aside from the lush green hilltop vantage point, which gives you a 360-degree view of the surrounding area, you will see elephants and other animals roaming the area.
The pleasant view is quickly complemented by the tempting aroma of chocolate as soon as you enter the outlet.
You can almost taste it just by taking a deep breath.
Pod Chocolate has built its kitchen with glass walls so that customers can see the magic behind their sweet treats.
Through the glass, you can see the whole process of making chocolate, from cooking, stirring, spreading and cooling.
It was in 2010 when Mr Garritt first tried to set up a chocolate business.
Despite having the ability to plant cocoa, Mr Garritt said that Balinese farmers did not see it as a favourable commodity due to its low price and because it was prone to pests.
He spent three years learning how to tackle the problem, finally opening Pod Chocolate for business in January last year.
"We cut off the pests' ability to reproduce by using pheromones," said Mr Garritt.
Pesticides were not an option, so they used a natural approach that involved attracting the bugs with pheromones from the opposite gender.
A pheromone trap is a type of insect trap that uses pheromones to lure insects.
With the pest problem taken care of, Mr Garritt continued his effort during the three years of preparation to get the best method of chocolate-making.
His partnership with W Hotels & Resorts is testament to the product's quality.
The five-star hospitality business in Seminyak is one of Pod Chocolate's biggest clients.
The tour activity package offered by Pod Chocolate also includes an opportunity to mould your own chocolate in a guided process.
You join this tour for US$45 (S$56) for adults and US$25 for children under 12 years old - with a minimum of two people required.
The cost covers return transport.
THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK