You know the famous saying, “Ah, spring …When a young man’s fancy turns to love.” (cue fluttering hearts please)
(Actually, the accurate version is “In the Spring, a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.” Written by Alfred Lord Tennyson in a poem entitled“Locksley Hall”.)
I think the bestest of best thing about spring – besides spring flowers – is Easter.
To Christians worldwide, Easter is a very holy season. To Walmart and Cadbury, Easter is all about chocolate, colourful eggs and white lilies. My three favourite things in the world! All lumped in a day.
My mom makes the best chocolate cakes. Says me. She tells me that the best cocoa comes from Tawau. What do you mean, “best cocoa comes from Tawau”? Like Tawau, Sabah, Tawau?
And so, I Goggled “chocolates in Sabah”. And as usual, Mother knows best.
Did you know that we are one of the world’s top cocoa producer, along with Ivory Coast, Ghana and Indonesia? Godiva, M&Ms… all use Sabahan cocoa. Doesn’t that make you proud?
Turns out, in Tawau, there are many cocoa plantations (and even more oil palms) dotting the land. Somewhere deep in the Tawau Hills National Park … there lives a witch with a chocolate and candy house, waiting for Hansel and Gretel…
No! I’m just kidding. Something about “somewhere deep in the the forest…” makes me progress to that.
Anyway, deep in the forest of the Tawau Hills Park sits a one thousand-acre Teck Guan Cocoa Village. This village has its own factory, accommodation and mini museum that offers tours to choco maniacs who’d endure 40 minutes of bumpy car ride just for a taste of chocolates.
According to a New Straits Times article published in May 2006, the village offers a two-hour long tour of the facility, shows off cocoa trees and cocoa fruits, screens a cocoa video, offers you cocoa drinks (of course) in the midst of its very fertile volcanic soil.
Active travel blogger mysabah.com/wordpress (http://www.mysabah.com/wordpress/?p=217#disqus_thread) went to the Village in May that same year. He said the people there were very surprised by his visit because he literally walked into the facility without a prior appointment. Staff told him that people usually come in groups brought by tour companies.
Anyway, he wrote that Teck Guan Cocoa Musuem at Tanjung Batu Laut is managed by Majulah Koko Tawau Sdn Bhd, and despite his “surprise” visit that day, the staff were accommodating and showed him around.
“Cocoa Butter,” mysabah.com revealed, “is more high quality and cost three times more expensive than Cocoa Cake. That’s why white chocolate, with cocoa butter as key ingredient, is more expensive. Nestle (Ovaltine), Milo, M & M Mars are their customers too.”
Of course, he suggested visitors call before they drop in – he provided telephone number 089-775566, ext 2601.
Back in Kota Kinabalu in July 2009, an American biotechnology specialist named Dr. Douglas Furtek from the Malaysian Cocoa Board gave a talk entitled “Sabah: The Gourmet Chocolate Capital of the World” at The Sabah Society secretariat office.
Turns out, there is a team of specialists here in Sabah working on improving the chocolate quality we produce. Everyday, I imagine they sit in a stark government-run cafeteria, eating chocolates. And getting paid for it. Holy moly. What a job.
Dr Furtek said he hopes Sabah will one day be the gourmet chocolate capital of the world.
You and me both, Dr. Furtek. You and me both.
Behind Her Lens – BHL (I’ve checked the initials – it’s not a swear, it’s not trademarked) is a sort of spin-off of Louis Pang Studio blog. Working at the studio, while necessary, is not so good for the lower half of my body so I take every opportunity I can to get off this chair. Photo assignments, shoes, holidays, kids, girlie issues…if they take me off this chair and bring me out for a virtual walk, let’s talk about them all here.