Formosa Fine Chocolates: The Origin Story

I'm often asked, "How did you come up with the name Formosa?" During the Age of Discovery, European explorers sailed to far-flung lands in search of new trading routes, spices, and gold. The first Europeans to lay eyes on the picturesque island we now know as Taiwan, were Portuguese sailors, who couldn't help but exclaim "Ilha Formosa!" upon seeing the beautiful shoreline. My family tree is rooted deep in this "beautiful island," and I chose the name to honor my parents and my heritage. I strive to create a product that is both beautiful to look at, as well as exquisite to eat!
Kimberly Yang center with two Taiwanese chocolate makers
Kimberly Yang
Owner, Head Chocolatier

About Kimberly

I have always been fascinated by the science behind food ever since I started cooking for myself as medical student with limited finances. Cooking felt very much like working in undergraduate chemistry lab -- except you could eat the results, and with practice, they became more delicious. Maillard reaction, caramelization, fermentation, leavening, etc were to me, better eating through chemistry. I felt particularly inspired by the scientific approach that writers like J. Kenji López-Alt and Alton Brown took to cooking.

Although I've always loved eating chocolate, learning the art and science behind it started as what I thought would be a passing fancy. I started with a course for amateurs at the New York International Culinary Center, but soon found my thoughts entirely consumed by chocolate. I obsessed over mastering the art of tempering that results in the perfect shine, snap, and mouth-feel. I dreamt about new and exciting flavor combinations. I practiced different decoration techniques, sometimes leaving home not realizing that I had a colored cocoa butter stain on my face. I visited every chocolate shop I could whenever traveling, in order to gain a deeper appreciation for fine chocolates. You know... Research.

In my time so far, I've learned that crafting chocolates is an exercise in patience and humility. Sometimes you can do everything by the book, and still produce bonbons that are somewhat disappointing to look at. On the bright side, I've found that many friends are more than happy to help destroy evidence of my culinary misadventures! (On that note, please contact me if you are interested in being on my tasting panel).

I am very excited to share the fruits of what I have learned with you through Formosa Chocolates. Thanks for joining me on this culinary adventure!

Image of Kenny Bell
Kenny Bell
Webmaster, Apprentice Chocolatier

About Kenny

I worked in the kitchen of a bakery in Sacramento, CA for 4 years starting as a dishwasher, then later moving into customer service and kitchen prep. After my time at the bakery, I pursued a career as a pro Argentine tango instructor, DJ, and performer for 5 years before returning to school to complete a degree in Computer Science. Kimberly and I met in March 2019 through tango when she was still doing chocolatiering as a hobby. I could immediately see her passion for chocolate and her potential to be a great chocolatier, and was in full support of her dreams and ambitions to start a chocolate business. So fully in support, in fact, that I offered my kitchen and software engineering skills to help grow Formosa Chocolates as an art, brand, and entity.

In the time I've been working in the Formosa kitchen, I've learned way more about chocolate than I ever imagined. Things about chocolate I used to take for granted are now some of my greatest focuses. While the craft of chocolatiering is fun and rewarding, there is LOTS of cleaning that needs to be done. This is where I shine (yes, I did that). So from being a chocolatier's apprentice to kitchen prep, dishwashing, polishing, webmastering, packaging, and eating (erm... taste testing), I try to keep busy and involved behind the scenes in anyway I can. The journey thus far has been both exciting and fulfilling, and I look forward to seeing Formosa Chocolates grow and thrive.

Plus, it's pretty cool to build a chocolate website and add chocolatiering to my resume. If there's anything wrong with the site, it's probably most definitely my fault.