The Most Sensual Food on Earth

The Most Sensual Food on Earth

Pod Chocolate creator Toby Garritt has turned his passion for wine, chocolate and coffee into a thriving boutique business in Bali. Highly sought after by the island’s five-star pastry chefs and restaurants for his A-list couverture chocolate, Toby is introducing new Pan-Asian flavours to the world’s most sensual food.


Situated amidst a lush jungle canopy at the Bali Elephant Camp, Pod’s contemporary compound features a pristine factory, interactive showroom, al fresco café and a second-storey meeting room with dramatic treetop views. Launched just four years ago after tasting a raw cacao pod for the first time, Toby and his team are Bali’s premier fine chocolate producers and Pod is the darling of many of Asia’s most exclusive hospitality brands including W, Aman, Sheraton, Intercontinental, Four Seasons and Le Meridien.

Pod’s hand-airbrushed line of signature pralines in sumptuous flavours such as chilli ganache, mango passion fruit, sea salt caramel, strawberry rose, kopi bali and dark chocolate ganache can be purchased in beautifully appointed box sets of six, twelve and twenty-four. Custom creations are often requested for Bali’s lavish private events and glamorously edible works of art are featured in the island’s hottest restaurants including Fire at W Retreat & Spa Bali where ‘The Pod Chocolate Melting Sphere’ takes centre stage as the restaurant’s signature dessert. Perpetually on a quest for new combinations that showcase Asia’s succulent flavour combinations, Pod recently introduced a blueberry and black pepper praline that feels more like an interactive experience than just a gourmet sweet. The blueberry is very subtle, taking two or three seconds to arrive and then out of nowhere, the black pepper shows up, offering a piquant surprise from the back of the palate.

Not only is Pod creating otherworldly culinary delights for chocolate fanatics to savour, the impeccable quality of the brand is redefining Indonesia’s reputation for growing premier cacao beans and being capable of producing world-class chocolate.  Working directly with Bali’s cacao farmers, Toby says it’s these relationships that are at the core of Pod’s success. “As our farmers continue to produce higher quality beans, we continue to offer a higher bean price, so it’s a win-win for everyone. We work together in areas such as pest management, trying to lessen the damage done to crops by pesky pod borers, a wasp-like insect that when eradicated can lead to doubling a crop.”

Having grown up with a family-owned vineyard in Australia, his professional and leisurely wine tasting experience along with a background with the Swiss Hotels Association and Le Cordon Blue has helped him to create an exquisitely honed palate, crucial for identifying new flavours that are rocking the world of both amateur chocolate lovers and true aficionados. “Simplicity and elegance are what make beauty in flavour for me, and believe it or not, simplicity is much harder than complexity. Bali’s beans have intense fruity characteristics, a mellow smokiness and notes of caramel. We use a lot less sugar than most and a much higher cacao content to produce couverture chocolate that not only tastes fantastic but also produces artisan quality ‘coating’ chocolate needed for truffles, pralines, tortes and other pastries.”


The key to Pod’s current cult status is in the exemplary and time-consuming process as well as the high percentage of cacao that weighs in much higher than most chocolate brands. For connoisseurs in search of healthy, high anti-oxidant chocolate without any trace of bitterness, Pod’s Bali Extra-Dark Chocolate weights in with a whopping 80% cacao content, offering a creamy texture and hints of raisin and citrus. Paired with Pod’s newly introduced specialty Arabica coffee blend of 70% local Kintamani and 30% imported Ethiopian beans, you have an endorphin-producing, metabolism-increasing, appetite-reducing recipe for success.

From hand-sorting 100% of the beans to gently blowing away the whisper-thin husks to leave just the delectable nibs, not acidic at all in comparison to those nibs you see sold in health-food shops in Bali, all of Pod’s chocolate is then manually tempered; laid out like bread dough and manipulated with a solid metal blade to allow certain fat crystals to flourish and others to dissipate. According to Toby, it’s the fat crystals naturally found in chocolate that makes or breaks its quality. From a chocolate’s glistening sheen to the distinct snap you hear when a piece of chocolate is broken off, it’s the fat content that helps to determine fluidity which determines whether it can be used for high profile dessert making. It’s also the good fats that help transport Pod’s unique flavours throughout the palate.

Although Pod Chocolate is certainly spiraling upwards toward the crème de la crème of chocolate brands, Toby is not interested in producing such an exclusive product that shuts normal chocolate lovers out. “Our chocolate is elegant and unique, but it’s also edgy with chic design elements. We produce inspired creations through the use of experience, creativity and science.”

On the drawing board is a new flavour that combines Szechuan pepper, star anise and lime rind. As Toby waited for me to try to describe the unique taste, my first impression was more about place and sensory experience; the fragrant streets of Bangkok and their lively markets were the first images that came to mind, the first time a chocolate has ever transported me to another place.