Chocolate Dream began with just Bronkhorst himself and with DIY, home-brew methods. Some of the materials with which chocolate is transformed from bean to bar were readily available as industrial kitchen supplies. Cracking, winnowing, and roasting the beans, however, are more complicated processes, requiring more specialized equipment. Cracking the beans is necessary to remove the husk, while winnowing–the process of using a fan to separate the husks from the seed–separates out the cocoa nibs, which are chocolate in its purest form.  

Luckily, the machines to crack, winnow, and roast chocolate beans are quite similar to those used in coffee production, so Bronkhorst purchased the necessary equipment from established Lao coffee producers, including roasters.

Once the machines were in place, Bronkhorst started making the first chocolate bars made in Laos, but at that time he only used nuts from outside Laos, sourcing them by necessity from elsewhere in Southeast Asia, particularly Bali. Bronkhorst imported the beans himself, by hand and in small batches, and broke another barrier when it became the first company to use beans from East Timor.

The first chocolate bars made from Thai nuts could not be eaten, but he did not give up and continued to find a way to fix it. Gradually, Chocolate Dream became more known and became the exclusive supplier for retailers and cafes, then it is popular nationwide as it is now.

Almost a decade after he first produced the first terrible cocoa bar from Thailand, Bronkhorst met a Lao farmer named Houmphan with a hectare of land in Vientiane province that is home to several cocoa trees. Through direct trade and an exclusive agricultural partnership, the two launched their first single-origin chocolate from beans to bars product.

These bars, which contain 72% chocolate, are available exclusively at Lak 40 coffee shop in Vientiane capital, and Bronkhorst says that this small batch of bars are only a small part of his Lao-chocolate vision.

Another recent innovation in Lao chocolate by Chocolate Dream is the inclusion of Mak-bok, Lao wild almonds sourced from that very same forest where Bronkhorst first had his vision of a local Lao chocolate, bringing his journey from forest to bar full circle.

According to