Celebrating Bhutan's Entrepreneurs: Kinley Pelden Of Yiga Chocolates


This story is part of an exclusive feature by Yeewong Magazine in Dec 2018 on celebrating entrepreneurship in Bhutan.

(Source: Facebook/YiGa Chocolate)


By Staff Reporter Yeewong Magazine

Kinley Pelden runs Yiga Chocolates – a business that makes chocolates with an interesting mix of local Bhutanese flavours such as chillies, quinoa, ginger and mountain blueberries.

Even though there were some concerns as there are already a lot of imported chocolates in the market, Kinley was confident of her business venture. Her unique brand of chocolate is the first to don the ‘Made in Bhutan’ tag.

Support given to Yiga Chocolates

In addition to receiving the Loden-DHI Fund, Yiga Chocolates received extra support, with publicity and mentors to guide her. Moreover, the Department of Cottage Industry supported the start-up with a space for two years.

The Ministry of Labour and Human Resource also contributed to Yiga Chocolates by providing two employees who are paid 75% of their salaries as part of the Ministry’s youth employment initiatives.

This came as a lifeline for the fledgling business, according to Kinley. Today, Yiga Chocolates produces 100 to 200 bars of chocolates per day.

However, Kinley is aware that compared to the big players, her production is small in scale and she admits that it is difficult to compete with international players at the moment.

What makes Yiga Chocolates unique?

Undaunted, Kinley has confidence in some of the unique selling points of Yiga Chocolates. First of all, her products are hand-crafted and packaged (without using machines), hence the impact of the environment has been kept to a minimum.

Secondly, Yiga Chocolates has embraced the enthusiasm for superfoods. With the change in people’s lifestyles and a growing awareness on health foods, Kinley took the opportunity to add various superfoods to her chocolates such as sea buckthorn, gooseberry and Thingay (Sichuan pepper), which can be found locally.

Photo: Instagram/soulfoodyi


She is positive that demand for these superfoods-infused chocolates will grow in time. Besides Kinley Pelden’s own online research for chocolate recipes, she is also keen to experiment with new flavours.

Kinley also enrolled for a crash course on using small machines to make chocolates into bars in Bangalore and is currently taking an online course on chocolate making.

Challenges faced by Yiga Chocolates

She is thankful that the feedback she has received thus far has been generally positive. Another challenge that she has to face is the fact that Yiga Chocolates is the first chocolatier business in Bhutan.

Being a pioneer in the field of chocolate-making in Bhutan has its pros and cons. On one hand, there is no one to draw lessons from, as all problems which Kinley has faced are unique, and this can be rather discouraging.


Candied Wild lemon chocolate. Wild lemon is locally known as Hoompa or Deyhoom. It has a strong refreshing flavour and is harvested from the pristine forests of Punakha. It is a source of supplemental income for some farmers in the district.

Photo: Facebook/YiGa Chocolate


On the other hand, a new venture is full of exciting possibilities. Always keen to learn, Kinley Pelden is constantly trying to improve her skills.

Plans in the pipeline for Yiga Chocolates

Her next big project is to introduce truffles to the Bhutanese market. While expanding businesses comes with a combination of risks and opportunities, Kinley is still optimistic about the future for artisanal products in Bhutan.

She strongly encourages young entrepreneurs to just try whatever excites them.

“If things do not work out, continue to adjust or improve. This was what I did with my chocolates recipes,” she said. One of the struggles which Kinley faces is in creating awareness on the value of artisanal chocolates as not everyone understands why hand-crafted chocolates are priced higher.


This article first appeared in Yeewong Magazine and has been edited for Daily Bhutan.


Related Posts

Celebrating Bhutan's Entrepreneurs: Pelden Wangchuk Of Nazhoen...

This story is part of an exclusive feature by Yeewong Magazine in Dec 2018 on celebrating entrepreneurship in Bhutan.

Mar 31, 2019 15:28

Celebrating Bhutan's Entrepreneurs: Sonam Choki of Bhutan Herbal...

This story is part of an exclusive feature by Yeewong Magazine in Dec 2018 on celebrating entrepreneurship in Bhutan.

Mar 24, 2019 19:15

Celebrating Bhutan's Entrepreneurs: Sonam Lhamo Of Bumthang Milk...

This story is part of an exclusive feature by Yeewong Magazine in Dec 2018 on celebrating entrepreneurship in Bhutan.

Mar 18, 2019 10:19

Celebrating Bhutan's Entrepreneurs: Thinley Yangzom Of Bhutan...

This story is part of an exclusive feature by Yeewong Magazine in Dec 2018 on celebrating entrepreneurship in Bhutan.

Mar 07, 2019 20:26

Celebrating Bhutan's Entrepreneurs: Tshewang Dema Of Tshejor's...

This story is part of an exclusive feature by Yeewong Magazine in Dec 2018 on celebrating entrepreneurship in Bhutan.

Mar 02, 2019 19:59

Constructive Steps Need To Be Taken For Bhutan To Become 100%...

Various measures need to be taken for Bhutan to become 100% organic by 2020.

Jun 06, 2018 15:26



Australia supports Bhutan in its COVID-19 preparedness, response and recovery

Extending support to Bhutan in its fight against COVID-19, the Australian Government has supplied medical equipment in response to the Royal...

Sep 22, 2020 09:39

Virtual Tsechu in Bhutan amid Pandemic.

Tsechu (Festival ) is one of the biggest religious celebrations of the Bhutanese year in every district in Bhutan. Tsechu has been held...

Sep 21, 2020 12:38


The Heart Shaped Stone- Story to remember while you hike through Phobjikha Nature Trail.

Interesting Stories from the Trail

Sep 09, 2020 18:29

View from the Sky For Every Travellers Flying into Bhutan

Despite Boeing ranking Paro airport as 'one of the world's most difficult for takeoffs and landings, the views over the clear blue waters...

Aug 06, 2020 14:25


Football clubs in Bhutan gearing up for Bhutan Premier League (BPL) 2020

Bhutan Premier League (BPL), the top national football tournament in Bhutan is set to commence on August 1.

Jul 24, 2020 14:33

Karma – Female Archer From Bhutan Qualified For Tokyo 2020 Olympic Quota

Karma has been specialising in Olympics-style archery since 2009.

Nov 30, 2019 13:18


Bhutan- The Kingdom of Peppers

Bhutan is a country with the highest per-capita consumption of chilli.

Sep 26, 2020 09:15

Are Local Vendors Earning More Money Than the Civil Servant?

A Farmer from Lango, Paro gave up farming to be vendor while office goers are switching into agriculture as the remedy to curb their...

Jul 27, 2020 19:15


The Significance of Jela Dzong

The journey towards the most popular Druk Path Trek starts with a short climb up to Jela Dzong. Jela Dzong is perched on top of the...

Sep 19, 2020 13:57

The Longest Urban Hiking Trail from PangriZampa to Lungtenphu, Thimphu

This trail is a less explored pocket of paradise for trekkers and wanderers who are in search of natures hospitality and solitude away from...

Aug 05, 2020 10:40


Food on Wheels- First of its kind in Bhutan

The World's Largest Fast Food Restaurant Chains doesn't exist in Bhutan.

Mar 04, 2020 09:39

Amazing Stories from the Eastern Part of Bhutan

You can't say you have visited the eastern part of Bhutan unless you have experienced the following bizarre things.

Mar 02, 2020 19:02

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!