On a busy lane and under the shadow of Dindigul’s Malai Kottai, resides J. Bhuvanaa Sundhari, 33, a self-taught chocolatier, who for the past three and a half years has been enticing the young and the old by churning out chocolates in the shapes of crackers.
It was while working in Bangalore that her love affair with making home-made chocolates began. By attending various workshops, Ms. Sundhari, an MCA graduate, honed her skills. What started as a way to satiate her sweet tooth became an enterprising business, when after marriage she left her job and settled as a home-maker in Dindigul.
With her son inheriting her love for chocolates, she started making small batches for him and for her relatives living around.
By word of mouth, her clientele grew. Now she has her baking unit in the ground floor of her house where she experiments with various tastes and flavours. Her most sought after chocolates are cashew nut bon bon. She sources first grade cashew nuts from Panruti and they are then dipped five times in rich melted chocolate fondant. Ms. Sundhari also makes fillings of fruit compote and her strawberry and orange fillings are most sought after. They are made to order and she has clients who even bring their own fruits for a bite of a choco-citrusy rush.
Three years ago, she decided to experiment with chocolates that could be gift-wrapped for the festive season. It was then that the idea of making chocolates that resemble crackers was born. Her festive pack has chocolates in the shapes of flower pots, rockets, sparklers, atom bombs and chorsa garlands. This season, she has already couriered 50 kg of these packets to her clients. With Christmas season round the corner, she is ready to give chocolatey Christmas trees and maybe a caramel-filled Santa Claus.
Ms. Sundhari is a hands-on-entrepreneur, with two young children to take care of. The only available time she gets to churn these gooey chocolate fantasies is at night. So from 10 p.m. to 2 p.m. she is at the cauldron melting the brew and getting the perfect consistency for various decadent treats. Once done, she lets it cool and the packaging is done later in the day with the help of her family members.
“I would not have made it so far, if not for the help I get from my family,” she says. For chocoholics residing in Bangalore and Chennai, Ms. Sundhari’s home-made chocolates bursting with flavour are part and parcel of their festive celebrations.