A Beijing chocolate company and bakery expanded into Austin this year with a new sweets truck serving gelato, baked goods, and chocolates in flavors both that are classics and pan-Asian flavors. Kesshō opened within the food truck park on 601 West Live Oak Street in the Bouldin Creek neighborhood on September 7.
The centerpiece of Kesshō is its bars, single-origin chocolates are sourced from countries like Ghana, Uganda, and Tanzania. These include classic chocolates, as well as more fun flavors like the lamb skewer made with goat milk, cumin, and chile peppers, boba tea, and yuzu. The ingredients are also used for its baked goods and gelatos.
Kesshō’s gelato menu includes a variety of chocolates from 90 percent dark to 58 percent milk. And then there are other options like ube, hojicha (roasted green tea), rice wine, black sesame, and vegan mango sorbet.
Finally, Kesshō serves two two types of baked goods. The chocolate chunk cookie made with its Ghanaian single origin chocolate where the cacao nibs are soaked in a marsala wine. The vegan iteration uses tahini and oatmeal and Medjool dates. There are fudge-ish brownies made with 70 percent dark chocolate from Tanzania and Texas pecans, and then a gluten-free mochi one. There’s also cold brew from Austin cafe Figure 8.
Kesshō co-founders and co-owners Mark Huetsch (from midwestern America) and Liang Wang (from Beijing) met in the Chinese city after Wang left her job at international consulting firm McKinsey & Company and Huetsch was studying. They decided to work together with the goal of opening a food business. They opened Pantry’s Best (formerly Pie House), where they served house-made pies and other Western-style baked goods like red velvet cupcakes. Wang learned how to bake from Huetsch, and she even went to Tokyo to attend Le Cordon Bleu. That’s when she became taken by the possibilities of flavor combinations, like local Japanese and Chinese ingredients in Western desserts. They did inject Chinese flavors into the desserts, like adding waxberries into the red velvet baked goods.
Huetsch had been roasting his coffee on his own, and thought about playing around with chocolate so that they could use the ingredients for their baked goods. The learning process took several years, but when they were successful and making chocolate anyway, they expanded into a full-on business and sell to people. Kesshō started in 2019; the name is is Japanese word for “crystals,” which refer the inherent crystalline structure of chocolate. Since then, the bars have won International Chocolate Awards, such as silver for its kumquat bonbon in 2022
When the pandemic started, they wanted to move and decided on Austin in 2022 (the China-based businesses are still in operation). The duo wanted to showcase what they can do with their chocolate in the Texas, but opening a physical cafe would entail a lot of work. That’s why they decided to open a food truck instead.
The space has been allowing them to experiment with gelato flavors, such as pandan rice pudding and a miso one. They also want to make Texan flavors like butter pecans or pequin chile peppers.
Kesshō’s hours are from 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.