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Meet Patricia Tsai of ChocoVivo in Culver City

Today we’d like to introduce you to Patricia Tsai.

Patricia, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Grew up in a small town in Oklahoma and my favorite book was The Hobbit. Followed the path of most everyone around me and the pressures of my parents: Get out of the small town, attend an Ivy League and follow the path of being the Lawyer, Doctor or investment Banker. After I did all of that, I was sitting one day in front of the computer in my mid-twenties thinking, is this it? Went on the soul-searching journey to figure out what I was passionate about. Saw chocolate in its pure form and fell in love with the authenticity of cacao without the fancy wrapping and shiny finish. I then set out to figure out how to make a hobby into a business.

Has it been a smooth road?
Of course not a smooth road. If you go into the food business, you have to go into it with mind, body, soul, otherwise it will crush you. Margins are small and you are producing food with expectations of lower prices. There are also struggles of international businesses, understanding culture can be beautiful as a tourist visiting another country. However, when you try to figure out how to actually make something happen, it’s a slow pain-staking process with much self-doubt.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the ChocoVivo story. Tell us more about the business.
We are a bean-to-bar chocolate company in Los Angeles. What that means is that we start with the raw product of cacao and we grind it down to make bars of finished chocolate. We are not Chocolatiers where we take bars of chocolate and melt it down. We actually make product for chocolatiers to melt down. Our strongest asset is knowing our Grower. Call it Direct-Trade, Tree-to-Bar, we are the next step up after the Grower, then is truly no middle-man. We know when our cacao pods are harvested and we direct the movement of our shipment with our grower to cross the border, FDA & Customs. We are the Importer on record.

What also makes us different: We are taking traditional Mayan Methods to stone grind our chocolate. Our chocolate is minimally processed to the point where you will taste texture. There are no flavoring agents, soy lecithin or dairy in our bars. We say Chocolate is Food. It’s not Confection or Candy.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
Industry Changes: Dark chocolate will continue to gain more market share as people understand ingredients added into chocolate. People will become more familiar with fermentation, drying process, and bean type.

You will begin to see more drinking chocolate in retail and on store shelves. One day you will see Chocolate Drinking Houses sprinkled throughout the world similar to ChocoVivo. It won’t be as explosive as the coffee culture but it will have its own footprint.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 12469 W Washington Blvd.
  • Website: www.chocovivo.com
  • Phone: 3104637878
  • Email: patricia@chocovivo.com
  • Instagram: chocovivo_la
  • Facebook: chocovivo los angeles
  • Twitter: @chocovivo
  • Yelp: ChocoVivo,LLC
  • Other: ChocoVivo,LLC

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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