The growing culture of Indian handmade chocolates

For all joyous occasions, our signature and our easiest way to celebrate it would be with chocolates; Sad and in need of a mood enhancer? Take a chocolate bar! The heavenly smell and taste of chocolates has been sweet nectar for all of us. And for the chocolate industry in India, there has been no sweeter time than this – a burgeoning chocolate movement is blooming across the country. “The growth of chocolate in India is increasing rapidly. Many factors have led to this change. The most important factor is that people choose chocolates over traditional Indian candies to offer them at festivals and occasions, ”says Ishan Pansuria, founder and curator of Toska Chocolates, a brand of bean bar chocolate.

The Indian chocolate movement may have found its place today, but it has been the efforts of many years to help farmers get a better price for their products, to satisfy the consumer’s sweet tooth in a way. healthier and years after now, we are able to where the designers of these artisanal chocolate bars are appreciated from afar. As more and more chocolatiers, artisan chocolate brands are emerging in the country, how are these chocolates different?

The magic of flavors:

Perhaps you have seen these chocolates make their first appearance in cafes, organic food shopping malls before popping up in your nearest online stores. These chocolates contain a high percentage of cocoa and usually come in funky packaging that immediately catches your eye. Devansh Ashar, Founder of Pascati, the USDA’s first organic and fair trade chocolate brand in India, explains, “The Indian consumer’s willingness to experiment along with the growth in disposable and dual income makes the urban Indian want to try. unique products with their eclectic flavors. The Indian palate now enjoys trying the tastes and flavor combinations of the world. “

If you were to list a regular dark chocolate flavor, it would usually be the regulars including cranberries, fruit, and nuts. Now, exotic flavors like masala chai, Hawaiian hibiscus in these new chocolates immediately intrigue you. Developing flavors is both an art and a craft. To this, Mr. Nitin L Chordia, India’s first chocolate maker and founder of the world’s first zero waste chocolate – Kocoatrait adds: These new flavors are a testament to the fact that the preferences of Indian chocolate consumers are changing. This creates an opportunity for chocolate makers from the bean to the bar to extend their range beyond the obvious. In addition, the smaller scale production batches allow chocolate bar beans to create and launch with agility and more easily compared to mass market chocolatiers. “

Kocoatrait’s best-selling flavors include jasmine, red rose, more milagai while Pascati’s bestseller includes raspberry hibiscus, blueberry nut, paan, among others. All of these beloved flavors include a blend of basic natives and an acquired enhanced taste that one would like to have a clue in their daily life. The shelves of the market are popularized with artisanal Indian chocolates.

As this new culture and interest explode, these small, local brands are spearheading the evolution towards fine chocolate. The growing number of artisanal chocolates in the country has created a unique new way for Indians to consume these delicacies. Of course, giant brands like Cadbury, Ferrero Rocher continue to play their part, but the newly designed chocolates play a part in exploring a new chocolate economy. Nitin assures: “The market, of course, has evolved and more openly welcomes specialty products (such as coffee, chocolates, etc.). However, it is clear that it is not profitable for established giants like Cadbury’s etc. to focus on this small segment and it is not cost effective for bean bar chocolate manufacturers to focus on this segment and consumers. “

The concept of “Bean To Bar” chocolate:

As Gen Z I grew up with Cadbury, Amul chocolates and perhaps no one in India was ever introduced to the concept of bean to bar chocolates. Indian artisan chocolates were not present at that time. Slowly in the late 2010s, the concept of ‘bean to bar’ chocolates emerged with many brands making their own chocolate bars with sustainability as a major trait. These brands are now growing at an unprecedented rate.

Explaining their difference from regular chocolates, Devansh says, “Many of the commercially available chocolates are mass-produced from semi-finished (store-bought) chocolate to finished products. Some are even compounds (contain palm oil / hydrogenated vegetable fats, little to no cocoa butter content, more sugar than cocoa). In addition, to maintain the taste of chocolate, each brand available commercially alkalizes its cocoa to pickle it.

A bean to bar brand of chocolate changes that very notion. He adds: “Bean to Bar chocolate literally means chocolate processed from bean to bar, that is, from the raw product to the finished product, made in small batches. Not all chocolates are bean to bar. bar.” Mr. Nitin says many brands don’t start processing cocoa beans. They just buy loose chocolate and melt it in molds to make a chocolate bar. These are called chocolatiers and should be distinguished from the “Bean to Bar” chocolatiers who themselves control the whole process.

Improving the quality of chocolate has helped to refine consumers’ palates. Since time immemorial this dark chocolate has been seen as good for the heart and we have switched to this type of chocolate, giving birth to more dark chocolate, vegan, organic and sugar free variants. Recalling a similar inspiration for launching Toska chocolates, Ishan shares, “I have always been a fan of dark chocolates since I was a child. My dad traveled abroad a lot and always bought me these amazing dark chocolates. used to look for such quality in Indian markets, I did not find it. There is a myth in India that “dark chocolates taste bitter.” But in reality only bad dark chocolates that are made with bad cocoa beans taste bitter. I always had this idea in mind to start my own chocolate business to make good quality dark chocolates. “

Yes, you can blame the quality of the cocoa beans which made the chocolates feel compromised and not made to standards. Mr. Nitin remarks: “Most of the impressions are from those early days in the industry. However, a lot has changed since then. The genetic variety of cocoa available in India can still be limiting and prevents chocolate makers from reach the required level.balance between delicate aromatic notes, astringency, acidity and bitterness. We are now able to control both the post-harvest to obtain a more balanced cocoa and to control a lot at the stage of chocolate processing. Chocolates made with carefully selected cocoa beans give a satisfying taste to satisfy the improved palate of the customer. Many good quality chocolate brands have now entered the market and people who appreciate these chocolates have entered the market. ask again.

The constant flow of artisan chocolate brands:

The consistent taste of these mass-produced chocolates has been our choice, but has now led to saturation point for the Indian consumer. But like any other growing business, these high-quality, production-order chocolates come with their own set of challenges. Devansh says, “The supply chain for quality cocoa is poor in India. One of the main reasons for this is the very low level of education on fermentation and drying at the farm level.

For most artisans, the biggest challenges were logistics and even the weather. Logistics in a tropical country does not make transporting chocolate easy. Indian weather has been synonymous with creating transport problems and the pandemic has added to it. “The skyrocketing logistics costs after COVID have been of concern,” Devansh adds. However, Nitin seems to have found a silver lining in the increasing challenges, “To meet the weather challenges during production, we simply recreated a European environment with temperature and humidity control in our finishing room. Regarding logistics, we used single-use plastic-free insulated packaging and learned how to use the most efficient route to have chocolates regularly delivered overnight to consumers in major cities. ”

Image credits: Chocolat Pascati

While there are some customers who like to indulge in bites of this artisanal chocolate, the precise and high-quality methods can eventually lead to these chocolates being more expensive than a regular chocolate bar. “The biggest challenge has been the chocolate’s MRP which is 8-10 times higher than a trademark and sometimes customers don’t understand the difference and don’t appreciate the craft.” Ishan shares. None of the craftsmen can, of course, claim to compete with the brands already in place and they do not even see them as competitors. There is not much overlap between their consumers and the “bean to bar” consumers.

These are signature chocolates that are specially crafted to an enhanced individual’s taste. This is where these artisanal chocolate products come in and take advantage of their own base. It is a joyful chocolate bar that your parents will not blame you for having indulged in it, also thanks to its nutritional values.

(Also read: 4 classic chef-approved Eid desserts to savor this holiday season)

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