The Story Behind Tsokolate

The Story Behind Tsokolate

Tsokolatè (Cho-ko-latè) is the Filipino word for chocolate! Born in the States & raised in the Philippines - I grew up with a cacao tree in our backyard & every week, my mother would teach me how to make tableya. Tableyas are 100% chocolate disks for making sikwati (hot chocolate). They're made by boiling water and dropping a couple of disks in there. They're made to drink just like that for energy throughout the day, but you can add sugar, too.

Hi! I'm Jan; we may have met at the Columbia Farmer's Market, read about Tsokolate in Feast Magazine, Inside Columbia, Vox Magazine, or from one of our lovingly supportive friends & clients who told you about us. I've worked for Michelin-starred chefs such as Daniel Boulud of restaurant Daniel in New York City. Now, I'm the pastry chef and chocolatier for Tsokolate. I moved to Columbia during the pandemic—a blessing in disguise. 

Culturally, I learned how to make pure chocolate, at about the same time we all learned how to ride a bike. However, it only clicked once I went to culinary school that the process is the same, but now we have machines to help us do it as opposed to how I learned, all by hand. If you need to  become more familiar with how the process goes, a cacao farmer would start a plantation & wait five years from seed for its first harvest before it can consistently grow. The cacao pods are then harvested and opened up with a machete. The fruit inside is then fermented, dried under the sun, roasted, cracked, winnowed, conched, tempered & molded. It's a long process to make chocolate, but it wouldn't matter without great cacao farmers who grow & process the beans.


Our chocolate bonbons go beyond the intricate hand-painted confections in the well-packaged box. We built our company by keeping tradition & gratitude in mind. Especially giving credit where credit is due: to the cacao farmers and our local farmers. The chocolate industry has three facets: the cacao farmers, the chocolate makers, and us, the chocolatiers. That's what the three circles in our logo represent. The line in the middle represents two things: 1. the equator where cacao trees grow, 20° north & south along the equator, and 2. We (Tsokolatè) want to bridge the gap between the three facets. You see, chocolatiers often get the accolades 90% of the time. However, you rarely hear about the chocolate makers, nor do you ever hear about the cacao farmers. If you are anything like us, you care about supporting local farmers. 

We are sure you value the importance of knowing where your food is grown, who grows it & the farmers get paid what they're rightfully worth. Being a farmer is hard work. We often visit our local farmers' farms because it's essential to remind ourselves of how beautiful the Earth operates & what comes out of the hands of farmers who care about the crops they grow.

That's the story behind our chocolates. Because we care & value people, we wanted to create products that reflect that. If you are anything like us, you have food restrictions: gluten-free, dairy-free, egg allergy, etc., and it breaks our heart when we hear people say, "I wish I could, but I can't have ____." So, because we care about your health and want to provide you with good treats that are good for you - we came up with vegan superfood chocolates bonbons. Where each flavor serves different health benefits, we have also provided desserts that are vegan, dairy-free & gluten-free. You deserve to have something delicious for yourself that also benefits your health!

One more thing: because we believe in giving back, a portion of your purchases goes to Impact Ministries International, a nonprofit organization that cares for orphaned children, educates them, teaches them livelihood skills, and supports them through the career they choose to pursue. 

We are grateful for the chance to feed your sweet tooth while doing right by farmers & serving our community.


With love & light,


Back to blog