LOVE18C Creator Li Jiahe: Sweet Is Based on Bitterness

Oct 09 2022

Chocolate deserves to be a food group on its own, period. The feeling of all that goodness melting on your tongue will forever be unmatched; no edible will ever come close. Chocolate even suits every mood; it fixes a lousy mood, restores energy, and is the perfect companion when elated. This sweet is an irreplaceable gift to humanity, and we can not be grateful enough.

In addition to the taste, versatility also makes chocolate a top-tier dessert. It can be coupled with a multitude of ingredients to create some drool-worthy combinations. Strawberries, nuts, crackers, cheese, wine, and pretzels, are a few options that go amazingly well with chocolate.

While all chocolates are incredible, premium chocolate is in an entirely different league. There is something exceptional about an exclusively made box of chocolate that isn’t readily available in regular shops and stores. If you are a fan of artisan chocolates, you need to give Love18C a try; its freshly-made luxury chocolates will make you fall in love with the heavenly sweet all over again.

The meaning behind Love18C’s name and more

The Malaysian brand is a team of expert chocolatiers who handcraft artisan chocolates, making sure to uphold the finest Belgian traditions. The unique name ‘Love18C’ represents two things: the brand’s unconditional love for chocolate and the optimum temperature – 18 °C – that gives chocolate the finest flavor, texture, and taste.

Their commitment to providing the best is reflected in using only the finest ingredients from around the world, such as Madagascar, France, and Italy. When it comes to the star of the show, Love18C goes above and beyond to source chocolate from Felchlin (Switzerland), Valrhona (France), and Callebaut (Belgium).

On top of it all, the fact that Love18C chocolates are freshly made by hand every single day makes them more decadent and distinctive. The first taste will make you realize that the experience of devouring fresh chocolates is on a whole other level.

The story of Li Jiahe and Love18C

Love18C was founder Li Jiahe’s marvelous vision that came to life in 2012. The brand had its humble beginning in a small room that saw eight months of vigorous research and development before the creation of its first series of impeccable-tasting chocolate. To depict the team’s appreciation of the sweet, this series was aptly named ‘First Love’ and initially consisted of 3 indulgent flavors. The series saw an addition of 9 more variants over time.

Love18C’s dedication to perfecting the highest quality chocolate came to fruition when people fell head over heels for the sweet creations. This unbridled success gave way to the brand establishing a chocolate cafe in Puchong, Selangor, to offer fellow chocolate lovers a more personal experience.

First Love was followed by another series of handcrafted chocolates named Beautiful Life, and it was received with the same fervor. While the former was ganache-based chocolate, the latter was hand-painted bonbon chocolate. The second series was hit as a gift box in the corporate world to mark milestones and celebrate holidays.

In 2018 the second Love18C outlet was launched in Penang, which immediately turned into a hotspot among the locals and tourists. Attractions like the DIY chocolate workshop and live tastings have more and more people flocking to the store daily. The brand also owns a popular kiosk in Midvalley Megamall.

Awards and accolades

You know an initiative has made it when people can’t stop talking about its products, and it wins a host of awards, and Love18C has managed to accomplish both. The chocolate company has three International Chocolates Awards to its name, consecutively won in 2019, 2020, and 2021. The noteworthy part is that Love18C is the first Malaysian chocolate manufacturer to have this honor.

The International Chocolate Awards are a prestigious affair that welcomes chocolatiers from across the globe to acknowledge their tremendous efforts. The judging panel consists of chocolate aficionados from the USA, Europe, and Latin America who base their decisions on rigorous criteria and methodologies. Naturally, the cream of the crop ends up taking the awards home, and Love18C has had the privilege for three years in a row.

Recent developments at Love18C

Despite the exponential growth and a loyal customer base, Love18C announced the temporary suspension of its services in September 2022, on the occasion of its 10th anniversary.

This decision was made in the face of various adverse factors, such as inflated global transportation costs, the food chain crisis, and the aftereffects of the pandemic. These factors, along with others, were actively hindering the creation process at Love18C, leaving the brand no choice but to maintain or decrease product development. According to the founder, Li Jiahe, this step was crucial to readjust the brand’s trajectory with the hopes that a hiatus will hopefully open doors to breakthroughs and development.

When asked about the brand’s future, Li Jiahe did not state anything concrete, but he did mention that the brand’s quality and affordable prices will remain unchanged. The world will also be introduced to new and more attractive Love18C packaging boasting the brand’s logo. There is a lot to look forward to!

Furthermore, the closure didn’t happen out of the blue; a Goodbye Sale was organized as a token of appreciation for beloved customers. In fact, the company’s website states that orders that were placed prior to the closure announcement will be completed.

How is chocolate made?

If you are a true chocolate lover, be it milk, dark, or white, you will enjoy learning about the inner workings of a real-life chocolate factory.

Chocolate production is divided into two broad stages: harvesting and processing cocoa and manufacturing chocolate, wherein each stage consists of multiple time-consuming steps.

Obtaining cocoa pods

Ripe, orange-colored cocoa pods are manually detached from the trunk and branches of cocoa trees with the use of machetes. These pods are nearly the size of a football and grow on tropical trees in the hot and humid climates of West Africa, Central and South America, and Southeast Asia. The pods are then cracked open to extract the cocoa beans on the inside.

Fermentation

The cocoa beans are left under the sun or placed in shallow trays covered with banana leaves to allow them to ferment. The process can take anywhere from 5 to 8 days, and during this time, the beans are regularly stirred to ensure equal fermentation.

Drying

The brown fermented beans are left out in the sun for almost a week to rid them of excess moisture. By the end of this step, the cocoa beans are half their original weight which means they are ready to be shipped.

Roasting and winnowing

When the beans arrive at the manufacturing plant, they are roasted to bring out the flavor and enhance the color. This process also removes the outer shell from the beans, exposing the inner meat. The inner meat is then broken down into smaller pieces known as cocoa nibs.

Winnowing involves the cocoa nibs passing through different-sized sieves to separate them according to size.

Grinding

The crushing process breaks down the cocoa nibs into tiny particles, and the heat generated during this process melts them all together, resulting in cocoa liquor. This resulting liquid is also known as cocoa mass or unsweetened chocolate.

Blending

This is where the magic happens, and the cocoa liquor is combined with a plethora of ingredients to produce milk, white, dark, and other forms of chocolate.

Satisfy your Love18C chocolate cravings with Atome

Headquartered in Singapore with over 15,000 partnered merchants and available in 10 markets, Atome offers its users the choice and convenience of flexible payment options for a variety of products and services. The app allows shoppers to split their purchases across three interest-free monthly payments by scanning a partner retailer’s in-store QR code or upon website checkout. By splitting their payments, Atome users will be able to better manage their budget while making quality products and services more reachable.

Scan QR code to download the Atome app
Scan QR to download the Atome app

With convenience at its center, Atome has a user-friendly interface that lets you navigate the application easily. The signup process is also straightforward and free of charge; all you need to do is download the application (get it here) and create an account.

How to shop online with Atome?

  1. Select Atome as the method of payment when checking out.
  2. Login to your Atome account.
  3. Enter the amount spent and use the available voucher(s).
  4. Make the first payment to confirm your order.
  5. The app is programmed to automatically charge the subsequent payments to the bank card connected to your Atome account.

Chocolates are perfect for every occasion or the lack thereof. You can send them as a gift, buy them to cheer up loved ones or use them to make an apology. There is no situation that chocolates cannot salvage. In fact, having a secret stash of chocolates comes in handy when you are having a party for yourself.

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