Skip to main content

Advertisement

Advertisement

Kaya-toast chocolate and more: Asean economic delegates get a taste of Singapore

SINGAPORE — When Ms Anjali Gupta and her team were brainstorming for a collection of Singapore-inspired chocolates ahead of National Day last year, they dreamt up 15 flavours such as kaya-toast pandan, teh tarik and lemongrass coconut.

Kaya-toast chocolate and more: Asean economic delegates get a taste of Singapore

Anjalichocolat’s collection of Singapore-inspired chocolates is among an array of mementoes Asean economic delegates will receive this year. Photo: Jason Quah/TODAY

SINGAPORE — When Ms Anjali Gupta and her team were brainstorming for a collection of Singapore-inspired chocolates ahead of National Day last year, they dreamt up 15 flavours such as kaya-toast pandan, teh tarik and lemongrass coconut.

Shortly after that, representatives from the Singapore Tourism Board came knocking. They later told the Association of South-east Asian Nations (Asean) 2018 Organising Secretariat at the Trade and Industry Ministry about Anjalichocolat’s products, and Ms Gupta received her first order from the secretariat last November.

Besides its diplomacy skills, the Republic — this year’s Asean chair — will get to showcase the products of Singapore craftsmen, designers and students to delegates attending Asean Economic Community meetings here in the coming months.

Above: Provisions directors Paul Ng (left) and Nicholas Tan pose for a photo with their Gula Jawa Almond Brittle (pictured above). Photo: Jason Quah/TODAY

The mementoes that delegates may take home include coconut-sugar almond brittle made by Provisions, a local firm started by two childhood friends, Anjalichocolat’s chocolates as well as merchandise designed by individuals with autism from Pathlight School or supplied by Bizlink, which hires those with disabilities.

Above: Staff prepare the double-fold batik tissue pouch at Bizlink Centre Singapore Ltd. Photo: Koh Mui Fong/TODAY

Pathlight’s The Art Faculty platform is supplying pouches and notebooks with an illustration of Gardens by the Bay, while Bizlink is supplying batik handmade tissue pouches.

The Asean 2018 Organising Secretariat selected the items to showcase local talents, heritage and food.

It recognised the Asean Economic Community meetings as a platform for Singapore brands and products to be showcased to a larger Asean market, consisting of more than 630 million people and a growing middle class.

Above: Anjali Gupta, founder of Anjalichocolat, poses for a photo with her products. Photo: Jason Quah/TODAY

Ms Gupta, a former banker who trained in chocolate-making at places like the Chocolate Academy in the United Kingdom, said she had wanted to develop a range with local flavours for some time. She had received feedback from customers who found it hard to buy appropriate Singapore gifts to take overseas.

She knew she wanted to move beyond common flavours such as durian. And with a penchant for kaya (coconut jam) toast, she knew she wanted the local breakfast staple to feature in her “From Singapore Lah” collection.

“My staff laughed at me and said, ‘How can you make kaya-toast (chocolates) and what would you do for toast?” she said.

She experimented with actual toast to make bread crumbs but said it tasted “disgusting” with chocolate. She and her team later settled on shortbread.

Ms Gupta, 54, said her orders from the secretariat consist of boxes of four or nine pieces of chocolate, which retail for S$15 or S$35 at her Dempsey Hill store.

She did not expect her products to be picked as gifts for delegates from the region.

“It is a pat on my back that I’ve done something right,” she said. “When you’re in the food business, you’re looking for people to say ‘I love it’.”

Twenty-two of the 350 delegates at the Asean Economic Ministers’ Retreat this month got to enjoy a taste of her chocolates.

The visiting ministers also received a Peranakan handmade artwork by local homeware and furniture-design brand Scene Shang.

Above: An artwork depicting a window of a Peranakan shophouse by artist Arthur P Y Ting. Photo: Koh Mui Fong/TODAY

The three-dimensional pieces, featuring a window of a Peranakan shophouse, are the signature of artist Arthur PY Ting, 71.

Above: Ms Pamela Ting, 34, co-founder of Scene Shang, poses with an art piece created by her father that depicts the window of a Peranakan shophouse. Photo: Koh Mui Fong/TODAY

He was excited about his work being selected, said daughter Pamela Ting, 34, Scene Shang’s co-founder.

She received an order for 20 pieces and said she was honoured that her father’s art was “esteemed as of this value”.

Since 2016, Ms Ting has stocked her father’s work, which retails for S$396, at Scene Shang’s store on Beach Road.

“When someone… comes in and sees value in (the work) and wants to give it away as representative of our country and our culture, I’m happy,” she said.

Other meetings that will be held this year include the Asean Economic Ministers’ Meeting and related meetings, which begin in late August.

 

 

Read more of the latest in

Advertisement

Popular

Advertisement

Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.

Aa