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



Remembering His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo’s Legacies On His 64th Birthday

During His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo’s 34 year reign, he has implemented many landmark policies.

Nov 12, 2019 20:28

EU Supports Capacity Building To Improve Bhutan’s Export Diversification

Bhutanese products selected for export and market diversification are ginger, turmeric, mushrooms and yak dairy.

Nov 07, 2019 23:58


Global Happiness Alliance Aims To Spread Concept Of Gross National Happiness Worldwide

The alliance seeks to enhance the understanding of GNH as a concept and to spread it all around the world.

Nov 08, 2019 23:08

Zoedue – Fermented Cheese Made By The Brokpas Of Sakteng Sees Increasing Demand

Zoedue has become a lucrative business in Sakteng ever since motor-road accessibility improved.

Nov 05, 2019 23:48


Bhutan’s Pelden Wangchuk Wins 10th Edition Of Tour 0f Dragon Mountain Bike Race

This year, the race also saw the highest number of female participants compared to past years.

Sep 10, 2019 01:08

Tour Of The Dragon – Toughest One Day Bike Race Starts On 7 September In Bhutan

It takes sheer toil and stamina for the top riders to complete the 268 km race which finishes at the capital, Thimphu.

Sep 06, 2019 23:58


Gakyed Gatoen - Festival of Happiness Seeks To Promote Bhutan’s Products

The idea of the festival was to enable tourists and Bhutanese to learn about the traditional cottage industry.

Nov 01, 2019 23:28

Cottage & Small Industries Flagship Programme Rolled Out In Bhutan, Set To Create More Jobs

The CSI sector was identified as one the flagship programme in view of its greater socio-economic roles in Bhutan.

Oct 11, 2019 15:38


4th Edition Of Laya’s Royal Highland Festival Saw More Tourists And Participants

The Royal Highland Festival helps to preserve the age-old traditions of the highlanders.

Oct 28, 2019 23:38

Enchanting Kingdom Of Bhutan Scooped Lonely Planet’s World’s Best Tourist Destination In 2020

According to Lonely Planet, more and more travellers are advocating green travel while many are aware of the negative impact of...

Oct 24, 2019 23:58


Bhutanese Textiles To Be Exhibited In Paris Trade Fair 2020

The exhibition is an initiative of the EU-Bhutan Trade Support project.

Nov 10, 2019 12:48

Launch Of Karen Greenspan’s Footfalls From The Land Of Happiness: A journey Into The Dances Of Bhutan

The book delves into familiar subjects that are what continues to shape Bhutan’s image.

Oct 05, 2019 10:18

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!