Lemuel Chocolate: Sustainable, Single-Origin, Two-Ingredient Bars
Lemuel Chocolate’s single origin chocolates are different worlds from the typical chocolate bars we typically see in supermarkets.
On the one hand, they consist of just two ingredients – roasted cocoa beans and raw organic cane sugar.
They are also sustainably sourced and handcrafted in an in-house production facility.
Chocolatier and founder of Lemuel Chocolate, Ronald Ng, has worked in the chocolate industry for almost 30 years.
He can even be likened to Willy Wonka, the owner of the chocolate factory in the famous movie. Charlie and the chocolate factory.
A three-decade journey with chocolate
In an interview with Vulcan Post, the expert chocolatier shared that he loved chocolate since he was a child. This prompted him to work part-time in a chocolate factory while in high school.
After college, Ronald found a job at a Malaysian chocolate factory across the causeway, where he spent 15 years working his way up the ranks to become director of research and development (R&D) with an assistant to production planning.
He even studied chocolate and spent some time in Germany specializing in a course on chocolate and sugar confectionery technology.
Ronald then returned to Singapore armed with new knowledge on how to develop innovative chocolate products.
His other chocolate-related stints included an independent chocolate consultant who assisted chocolate-related companies with process planning and product development.
Before founding Lemuel Chocolate, he had also started a chocolate trading business specializing in chocolate-related souvenirs.
A family tour of Japan in 2015 and meeting his former classmate, Hideki Sakanishi, changed their chocolate profession and motivated the duo to create Lemuel Chocolate in 2016.
A mini Bean-To-Bar chocolate factory
Ronald and Hideki were inspired by the Dandelion Chocolate coffee factory in Tokyo, which had a mini-factory located in its storefront.
The chocolate lover then went into research mode, traveling to cocoa plantations in India and experimenting with making chocolate at home.
Amid the positive feedback from friends and family, he set out to make Lemuel Chocolate a reality.
Hideki and I were inspired by how the artisan chocolatiers we visited in Japan turned different origins of cocoa beans into chocolate, all from scratch. One of those companies is American Dandelion Chocolate. We loved their concept, the cocoa aroma that filled the store and the complexity of the flavors from their chocolates.
We decided fairly quickly to launch something similar or if not the same in Singapore, as it was still niche and unique.
Ronald Ng, co-founder of Lemuel Chocolate
Like Dandelion Chocolate, Lemuel has a mini production facility at his retail store in Star Vista – the first of its kind in Singapore.
With his daughters Natasha and Nathalie, Ronald makes Lemuel’s chocolates from scratch in their production kitchen.
They start by roasting various types of single-origin cocoa beans ranging from Africa and India to Latin America and Southeast Asia. The roasted beans are then crushed and winnowed, which consists of separating the cocoa beans from their shell.
The cocoa nibs, which are 100% cocoa, will then be made into chocolate, the only other ingredients being organic raw cane sugar.
The whole process takes over a month. Ronald explained that each chocolate bar is hand-wrapped with eco-friendly paper made from the leaves and pulp of mango and banana trees.
The quality and effort that goes into making the chocolates shines through, as Lemuel has managed to win eight international chocolate awards for his single-origin bars.
In addition, they also received recognition from international companies like Shake Shack, their chocolate being used in the ice cream of the hamburger chain.
Ronald and his daughters are also constantly innovating.
He shared that during the Covid-19 lockdown period, Lemuel continued to find ways to reach customers by using e-commerce and social media platforms to market their products.
This has led to the creation of various delivery kits, which have been well received by customers, with the store generating nearly $ 40,000 in revenue through online sales.
Spreading the appreciation of artisan chocolate
The team recently opened their second outlet at 27 West Coast Highway, which offers a coffee concept.
The new store will also serve as a place to conduct product research and development, and organize workshops and courses.
Educating and sharing experiences with customers is a big part of Lemuel’s business mission, as Ronald believes it will help create greater awareness and appreciation for artisanal chocolates.
That’s why Ronald frequently organizes workshops, courses and factory tours.
In an interview with LoveWholesome, Ronald said that customers are generally more willing to bid between $ 12 and S $ 15 for a single origin chocolate bar after witnessing the painstaking process behind its creation.
In addition, sustainability also plays an important role in the business. All cocoa beans come from sustainable sources, which resonates with the ethos of fair trade and increases farmers’ incomes.
The second generation of chocolatiers
Lemuel wants to expand his reach to more Singaporeans, so the team is looking to open another retail store in the near future.
However, taking the business overseas is Ronald’s ultimate dream, and he hopes to be able to open outlets in Asia-Pacific countries in the years to come.
Succession to the company is also on the table. Ronald’s daughters have the same passion and love for artisan chocolate and have worked closely with him to grow the business.
Nathalie, graduate in food science, will lead research and development while Natasha, graduate in commerce, will lead marketing and communication,
“With their similar ambitions and passion for the business, I foresee a great team that will surely make our dreams of expansion come true,” said Ronald.
“Building a franchise that nurtures quality and passion is our ultimate goal.”
Featured Image Credit: Lemuel Chocolate
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