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Chocolate On The Road: Craft Sugar Free Chocolate

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“Sugar is demonized.”

-Ayano Kimura, Co-founder of Böhnchen & Co. Chocolate

When I was a kid, discovering my Mom’s chocolate stash in the pantry was always exciting— until I realized it was made up of only sugar-free chocolate. For as long as I can remember, sugar free chocolate was the “other” category in the chocolate aisle; it never tasted particularly chocolatey, but it wasn’t good for you, either. But recently, that perception changed for me, because I tried craft sugar-free chocolate.

As a new category of craft chocolate, the very existence of companies like Böhnchen & Co. in Thailand opens up a Pandora’s Box of questions. These include the line between health and indulgence, the importance of sourcing well, and a lack of moderation in modern society. This ain’t your momma’s sugar-free chocolate stash, anymore.

To read an article on chocolate sweetened with cacao fruit juice, click here.

Pure erythritol.

Topics We Cover

  • the historical perception & current state of the sugar free chocolate market
  • how the Keto diet led many makers to develop sugar-free chocolate bars, and the malleability of the term “sugar-free”
  • the intersection of health and indulgence in sugar-free chocolate
  • common alternative sweeteners on the market today
  • pros and cons or various alternative sweeteners, and how they’re produced
  • low cost white sugar as a foil for sugar free chocolate; being a premium product in an already premium industry

Show Timeline

0:00-4:20~ Episode & guests’ introduction, including a look as misconceptions about what quality sugar-free chocolate brings to the table.

4:20-9:50~ The definition of “sugar” as a general term, and various types of alternative sweeteners on the market today.

9:50-18:00~ How some of the most common alternative sweeteners are produced, and how they interact during the chocolate making process.

18:00-20:16~ No sugar added chocolates as a subset of “sugar-free” chocolates, & the end of the episode.

More About Our Guests

Ayano Kimura & Tobias Schramm: co-founders of Böhnchen & Co. Chocolate, based in Bangkok, Thailand. The brand specialized in keto-friendly, sugar-free craft chocolate made with a proprietary blend of alternative sweeteners. Check out Böhnchen’s Instagram, Facebook, and Website.

100% cacao drink made with Sri Lankan cacao at Boehnchen craft chocolate factory in Bangkok, Thailand
A 100% cacao drink made at the Bohnchen chocolate factory in Bangkok, with cacao beans in the background.

Further Reading

Connect With Chocolate On The Road

On Instagram@chocolateontheroad

On Facebook: @chocolateontheroad

Show music is Roadtrip by Phil Reavis, and our transition music is We’re Gonna Be Around by People Like Us.

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Joey Musacchio(Amdeuscias)

Thursday 14th of November 2019

I tend to like lowering the sugar, rather than eliminating it, my Grunkle is diabetic. I find you can use up to 2% Maltitol, 2% Erythritol, 4-6% stevia, about 15% organic cane sugar. I tend to find adulteration too far from sugar leads to a chocolate that may not fully resemble what people think of as chocolate, but that's just opinion. I try to keep the sweeteners to 25%-30% max and tend to keep my organic cane sugar over 50% of the sweeteners being used. I practically always use "just" organic cane sugar because my sugar is usually only 25% of the bar which isn't overly high for a diabetic to have 1 piece from a bar. I save creating Complex Alcohol Sugar Mixtures to add to my sugar and stevia for when I'm making chocolate for someone with a sugar related health issue. Every time you say "Dame Cacao" I'm hearing "Dame" in French in my mind.


Thursday 14th of November 2019

Huh, yeah that's a very equitable choice. I've found the bars made with the erythritol blend to not be too far off in flavor (though the light cooling effect still makes an impact if you know to look for it), but I concede that I still prefer full sugar chocolate. I only eat it in moderation, so I have no reason to seek an alternative, though I find it heartening that there are finally good options of people who'd like to or who need to fully eliminate sugar. I did consider that Dame means the same thing in English & French, therefore giving the name meaning in English, French, and Spanish. :)

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