Fidani- Finest Chocolate Creations
When I was younger and didn't know what real chocolates is like, I thought Cadbury, Hersheys and Ferrero Roches are to die for. But that was until I discover the real meaning of real chocolates or gourmet chocolates to be precise- FIDANI.
Well, to be frank, if it's not because of the relationship I have with the person managing Fidani, I would have never ever knew Fidani existed! Why?? Because Fidani chocolates are so exquisite that they are only available in the airports and the First Class Golden Lounge. I count myself very lucky as I am nowhere near traveling in 1st/Business Class or even near enough to gain entry to the prestigious First Class Golden Lounge, but I have so much of Fidani chocolates that I shudder at the sight of it! Not kua cheong one ok...
Does this make you drooling yet?
Beneath the facade of every child and adult, young and old, fat and skinny, tall and short, dark and fair, male and female, there is a desire to be Charlie in Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Ask anyone who has watched the movie or read the book, does he/she not want a magical trip to Willy Wonka's chocolate factory?
40 pieces for 40 kinds of
I, alongside 13 lucky bloggers scored an exclusive Golden Ticket each to the Ultimate Fidani Experience™ which money can't buy, but relationships can :D After all, how dare she not give me the invite, bwahahahaha :D The other lucky 13 bloggers are KYspeaks, Rachel, ShaolinTiger, Suanie, Cheesie, FireAngel, Eyeris, David, Jen, Grace, Nicholas, KimberlyCun, and Ziling (okla, to be honest both of us not fehmes langsung but whattodoo, if Eiling don't give us the invite then we will sabotage her bolster or something....).
THE Golden Ticket
So the visit was more than a month ago... but since it's supposed to be an unforgettable trip, I still do remember the once in a lifetime experience very well. I say "once in a lifetime" because according to Fidani Chocolatier's Chocolate Connoisseur- Chef Amer Hamzah, this is the FIRST and LAST time that Fidani Factory is open to the public. Awww... how honoured!
... wait, that means Things To Do Before You Die number #101 can't be achieved by you guys out there. Hehe nvmla, go tour the Hershey's or M&M's factory or something la.
3x40 pcs of chocolates
The unforgettable visit kick started with a lecture on the origins/history/all-you-need-to-know of chocolates- cocoa beans, ingredients, differences between compound and real chocolates, why some chocolates can only be called "choc", the differences between Fidani and mass chocolates like Cadbury/Hershey's etc, how the name "Fidani" came about (the name of the owner's daughter + daddy's hunny), types of chocolates etc.
From this... (photo credits: kimberlycun.com)
... to this.
As Chef Amer was lecturing, this tray of 182 pieces of chocolates were calling us to "EAT ME, EAT ME!!" But of course, it's not nice to menyampuk when someone is talking so after the lecture ended, chocolates started to disappear from the tray :-p It was pure indulgence, yum yum! My personal favourites are the ones with nuts or also known as Crunches!
Fresh from the chiller
Next, we were ushered to the "exciting" part of the visit (actually I think the most exciting is the eating part) where we got to see what goes on behind these exquisite handmade chocolates and most importantly the lifetime opportunity to make our very own Fidani Chocolates! During my 3 weeks stint working for Fidani last Christmas at Bangsar Village, I was asked by many customers what "handmade" really means. The difference between mass/factory machine produced and Fidani chocolates is that at Fidani, everything is done by hand- human hands! Machines are only used to assist the process, such as chilling. From coating, filling, scraping, decorating, piping and packing, every process is done by humans- hence, the premium pricing as well.
For example, here are some pictures to show you guys how truffles are made:
1. Chocolates are moulded using a custom made mould that can withstand heat of up to very high degree. The lubang you see here is for the fillings to be piped in.
2. After the fillings are piped in, the chocolate balls are dipped into dark/milk chocolate. As you can see, the worker here is very pro already cos the balls are balancely coated.
3. Another worker proceeds to scrape these chocolate coated balls on a metal netting to create a very nice outlook. She has to do this very quickly as the chocolate will set after a while.
4. And this is the final outcome of the truffles. This batch is called Hazel Truffles (with hazelnut filling).
Almond dates chocolates
The above picture is a limited seasonal range of chocolates which is only produced for Hari Raya. Every piece is made out of a whole almond wrapped with dried kurma, enrobed in milk chocolate and covered with almond nibs. This is a very special chocolate as I have never tasted any kurma + almond combination.
Real durian puree
In the corner of the kitchen is a place where all the ingredients are stored, and you can find all the nuts, fillings, dried fruits and even tongkat ali that is used to flavor the chocolates. Also spotted was a worker preparing the durian puree for the award winning Danson Durian Chocolates. I learnt from my sister and always tell people that it is the only form of durian you can bring on the plane! Trust me, it is very delicious as you can savour the real durian puree instead of those cheapo durian flavoured chocolates out there in the market.
"This is how it should be done!"
Next up, the most interesting part- Make Your Own Fidani Chocolates. Chef Amer showed us how their upcoming new range "Chocolatease- The Naked Bar" is made. Because at Fidani, everything is done by hand, no 2 bars of chocolates are the same in terms of design and that is what makes it special.
Showing off my amateur skillz
It was certainly not an easy task to estimate the precise amount of chocolate to perfectly fill the mould. As you can see, I failed at that, hence the messy mould. KY on the other hand did very well and was very proud of his skillz.
Limited Edition Fidani Chocolate made by Yiling
I like my chocolate to be a mix of dark and milk (I don't like white chocolate- too sweet for my liking). I find it quite a joy to make the artsy designs as there's no right or wrong to it. Every piece is an art itself, just like those artsy designs on your cup of cappucino :D
p/s: Ask Ziling what grades she got for her Pendidikan Seni last time :p
KYspeaks and makes chocolates too
I ROFLOL-ed when I saw David's masterpiece while browsing through the photos. HAHA, David jangan marah ya but I think you have skillz that we don't! ;-D
The following set of pictures shows how chocolate flowers are made:
That's why they don't call Mr Amer the Chef for nothing. You da Man.
And guess who got a bunch of Fidani Chocolate flowers for her graduation...???
To further illustrate the meaning of "handmade chocolates", even the wrapping is done manually. Like this:
They are wrapping the Hazel Heaven giandujas
Stacks of truffles- every chocolate lover's dream
Farell's chocolates (photo credits: David)
They also produce Farell's, which is another range of moulded chocolates without the fancy designs and are mostly pralines. This is the more affordable range and they happen to come in really nice packagings as well- suitable for Xmas and birthdays.
Eiling explaining something... (photo credits: David)
Also in the picture: Ziling doesn't look too pleased while I think to myself, "Aiyo, when can eat the chocolates.... fasterla..."
Chocolate tasting session
The final part of the visitation is the chocolate tasting session. We were served these plates of chocolates and asked to give feedbacks on what we feel/think/taste. This is to facilitate their upcoming range of Farell's. Eiling said, "You can just take a bite and leave it if you don't like it." Chewah... macam expert tasters saja.
Do you want to buy my chocolate? Not available in the market yet!
Jen and our free swags- goodie bag worth a whopping RM250!!
Last but not least, for those who have yet try Fidani, I urge you to beg someone who travels and frequents the airport to buy a box for you as unfortunately, Fidani Chocolates are not available downtown. The nearest location to grab a box though will be through their factory in Glenmarie.
Other locations include:
Choc Stop @ KLIA Satellite, Arrival L3 and Departure L5
Emporium @ Kota Kinabalu International Airport, Departure L3 and Airside L2
Airport Shop @ LCCT Kota Kinabalu
#First World Hotel, Genting Highlands
#Langkawi Jetty Point & International Airport
#Penang International Airport
#MAS Golden Lounge
#In-flight shopping on board of MAS
Thankiew for having us, Fidani!
For more info, visit www.fidani.cc
Bloggers who have blogged about it:
KY visits- Golden Ticket to Fidani Chocolate Factory
suanie and the fidani chocolate factory
I can has a chocolate
David and the Chocolate Factory
Fidani and the Chocolate Factory
Fidani's chocolate factory tour