Artisan chocolates with exotic ingredients are the order of the day now.
Move over milk chocolate moulded into rectangular bars. Today’s chocolate makers, or artisan chocolatiers, use chocolates with high cocoa content and less sugar, which they then sculpt into highly ornate creative pieces of art.
What drives people to try their hand at the chocolate business? Nivedita Prasad of Chocolate Philosophy, in R.T. Nagar, says: “India is fast catching up with the chocolates for gifting trend. People realise that there is space for them in this industry. Housewives do this as a hobby and make money out of it since it is an easy business to start. One does not need much investment. Having said that there is a certain skill required to make handmade chocolates. Tempering of the chocolate is the most important thing one has to know.”
Speaking of how she set up Gallianoz (in Richmond Town) in 2002, Zaver Divecha says: “Having moved to town from USA it was difficult to find truffle chocolate manufacturers like the ones we find in Europe. Since I was interested in cooking, I made a few and gifted them to a friend. Before I knew it we had people asking for more. It was a hobby that turned into a successful business.”
“Over the years the business has grown mainly by word of mouth and today we have an enviable client list that includes 5 star hotels, foreign airlines, fine dining restaurants, luxury brands,” adds Zaver.
It isn’t only those who’ve studied chocolate making that are taking to the field. Anusha, a former techie, now an artist and chocolatier by passion, is the owner of Chocorazzi. “I was always fascinated by the art of chocolate making, and some casual experiments at home gave me the confidence to take the plunge. I started making chocolates for friends and relatives, and encouraged by their positive response, I ventured into the retail sector and started taking online orders as well.”
Despite artisan chocolates being more expensive than the typical chocolate bar you could buy at a supermarket, Shalini Gowrisankar, owner of Chennai-based Brown Station, observes: “There is a huge demand for artisan chocolates, In fact as a start-up we have been making around 4,000 to 7,000 chocolates each week. Currently, the market primarily revolves around weddings, corporate gifting, and birthday parties and of course for personal consumption too.”
Unique flavours are the biggest USP when it comes to such businesses. From chilli and maple syrup to liquor and even herbs, in the world of chocolate making, impossible is nothing. Dhruva Prakash, co-founder, Brown Station says: “Some of the flavours we offer include Berry Sensation (chocolate infused with raspberry filling), Indian Indulgence (creamy milk chocolate enriched with a sweet liquid centre, with the traditional flavours of India), Fig it (Dry figs infused with thick dark chocolate), Belgian Beauty, Buck Eye (chocolate and peanut butter) and Cherlate (cherry infused with rich chocolate ).”
As with fashion, chocolate too has its own set of fads and some are cyclic in nature. Providing a forecast on the upcoming artisan chocolate trends, Chocolate Philosophy’s Uma Raju says: “Dark chocolate is already a trend. We have a range of single-origin chocolates made from cocoa beans grown in a specific geographic area of the world. Ecological factors such as soil, rainfall, heat, humidity, and adjacent crops create the unique aroma and flavour profiles. We also think that the ‘no sugar added’ chocolate is slowly catching up.”