If you’ve been in the food industry long enough, it’s impossible not to know of the Belgian chocolatier, Jean-Louis Graindorge, of Gallothai. Jean-Louis has been in the chocolate business since 1993 after setting up shop in a place that few people would assume to be an ideal location for making chocolate – Thailand. Over twenty years later, Gallothai not only supplies chocolate to bakeries, retailers, airlines and hotels, but also supplies raw materials to multinational corporations.
Today Gallothai has more than 300 employees and operates two plantations in Thailand and one in Myanmar. There’s also an experimental piece of land in Thailand which Jean-Louis is using to grow Thai cocoa – a clear sign that Gallothai is ready to expand as a leading Belgian chocolate brand in the region. With expansion plans in the pipeline, this is good news for international hotel chains across Southeast Asia as Gallothai has built up a strong reputation for quality. The company has been GMP and HACCP certified through BVQI and the Thai FDA, ensuring that all Gallothai’s chocolate products and raw materials meet the strictest hygiene and safety standards – a must for Jean-Louis’ growing international clientele.
I recently visited the Gallothai factory and was fascinated by the care and attention invested in the chocolate production process. From making chocolate decorations to chocolate cookies, every step is carefully performed and monitored by an executive chef, who is also responsible for his team of workers, who must be prepared to work double shifts when demand hits its peak during Thailand’s high season. During these busiest periods, Jean-Louis told us that the factory can churn out one ton of chocolate with filling every day.
As we passed through each of the rooms I couldn’t help but wonder why the raw materials were all so carefully separated. Jean-Louis explained that the different forms of couverture chocolate, compound chocolate, and mass chocolate must each be stored at the correct level of humidity and temperature to stay in good condition. Furthermore, you simply can’t store different types of materials together because chocolate has the ability to absorb aromas. Given the importance of keeping environmental conditions just perfect, this may be the reason why the best solution is for hotels to outsource their chocolate needs to a trusted supplier, especially if they don’t have their own experienced in-house chocolatier.
As we go through each section, I notice chocolate decorations with hotel logos on them. Customized products are another field of expertise in which Gallothai caters to clients.
“At Gallothai we have the capacity to make chocolate so that you, as a hotel, can manage your standards and maintain your image whichever way you want. Your chef can be creative with our products,” explained Jean-Louis, when asked why hotels should choose his products.
Since Gallothai first brought Belgian chocolate to the Thai market, Jean-Louis has maintained the belief that simple, real chocolate is the way to go. He cares little for short-term trends, believing instead that chocolate should maintain its legacy and that the best chocolatiers should always be able to deliver that to the customer.