One thing that brings the entire diverse world towards a common consensus is chocolate.
A love story that begins from childhood and lasts forever, chocolate is rightfully known as the food of the gods. Often, the go-to de-stress ‘food’ for people from all walks of life, one can never explain or get over the obsession of chocolates.
Chocolate is love.
Over the years, people have experimented with flavours and given chocolates a gourmet avatar. More commonly known as artisanal chocolates, chocolatiers are getting unbelievably creative and experimental with their infusions.
This World Chocolate Day, we bring you a selection of artisanal chocolatiers based in India whose concoctions will leave your minds boggled and your tongues salivating.
1. Earth Loaf
Based in Mysore, Earth Loaf was started in 2010 as a craft foods project dedicated to uniting people and nature through a blending pot of nutrition and gourmet, well-crafted foods.
One of the first chocolate-makers in the world to use organically certified Indian cacao beans exclusively and one of the first bean-to-bar chocolate-makers in the country, Earth Loaf offers a range of the exquisite combinations in their variety of artisanal chocolates.
Jackfruit & black pepper, mango, red capsicum & chilli, coconut, ginger & gondhoraj, tokai coffee & pineapple — these are some of the never-before-heard flavour blends by Earth Loaf.
Apart from chocolate bars, they also blend a range of cacao-infused teas and sell organic food commodities grown in India.
Fiery teja chillies from Guntur, sticky brittle chikki from Lonavala, nutty and green tea flavours of the Kashmiri kahwa tea, watapi coffee beans grown in Karnataka and Himalayan pink salt.
Offerings of a Mumbai-based chef and chocolatier Sanjoy Solomon under the label Bean Therapy, these are artisanal bars with eclectic Indian ingredients infused with Belgian Callebaut chocolate that yell out exotica.
Think of it, Guntur chillies that are enough to fire up your entire existence, infused with chocolate?
Or the all-time favourite nutty chikki?
Who would have even thought of that?
Mason & Co.
Based in Pondicherry, a French husband-wife duo Fabien and Jane Mason, operate their chocolate label Mason & Co straight out of Auroville.
Another bean-to-bar chocolatier that directly works with organic certified farms in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, their offerings include gourmet flavours ranging from chilli & cinnamon, rosemary & sea salt, peppermint, peanut butter, roasted sesame seeds to espresso.
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Apart from the miscellaneous assortment of flavours packed in a chocolate bar, they also have chocolate-infused herbal teas and organic cacao powders.
Smitten Bakery & Patisserie
Initially ventured as a baking business, Smitten Bakery & Patisserie by Mandakini Gupta, former television journalist-turned-home baker, offers an array of interesting additives like fruits, nuts, spices, coffee and even seeds amidst her handmade chocolate bars.
With Belgian Callebaut and the French Cacao Barry, the chocolates have unusual flavour pairings like pistachio and raspberries, almond, currant and sea salt, hazelnut, fig and orange, pumpkin seed and candied chilli, peanut caramel crunch and roasted coffee bean.
Much of the components in Mandakini’s chocolates are locally produced.
While the citrus component in the hazelnut, fig and orange chocolates head straight from her parents’ farm, the roasted coffee-infused ones use beans from Blue Tokai.
A common passion in chocolate is what led Kuhu Kochar and Tejasvi Chandela to start All Things in 2015.
Each of their artisanal creation is a personification of their philosophy — celebration of the simple joys of life, be it travel, childhood memories, favourite season or even music.
Insisting upon personally handpicked ingredients that are fused into exotic combinations, each bar has its own story to tell.
Like the self-explanatory Summer bar with Belgian white chocolate and a centre of Alphonso mango compote or the Jaipur bar that is appropriately wrapped in pink paper and has a rich combination of whiskey and dark chocolate.
Chockriti, an amalgamation of words Choc (short for Chocolate) and Kriti, Sanskrit for ‘work of art’, was found in 2013 by Pragati Sawhney and crafts gourmet chocolates.
Not taming inspiration to be homebound, Chockriti’s artisanal creations have flavours from far-flung countries like France, England, Japan, and Arabia.
The eclectic flavours range from earl grey, kaffir lime, jasmine green tea, masala chai, salted caramel, mango chat, saffron pista, lemongrass, and even pumpkin cranberry spice.