Chocolates are often dubbed as the food of the Gods, and we couldn't agree more! Chocolates and celebrations go hand in hand. This festive season, why don't you try something new and opt for craft chocolates? Just like craft beer, craft chocolates refer to an artisanal variety of chocolates prepared with the finest ingredients and are available in trendy flavours. These delights are made in small batches and are prepared fresh when ordered. They are a work of art, curated with love and care by able craft chocolatiers who are constantly re-inventing, experimenting with flavours and infusions and perfecting the art of making chocolates. So, what makes the special? Let's find out.
Over the years, chocolates have gone gourmet and have been presented in creative and experimental avatars along with various flavours and exotic ingredients. These hand-crafted chocolates are made with pure cocoa derived straight from the bean and real flavours, unlike the several market-based ones which are often made with baking chocolate or are heavily flavoured with additives and artificial ingredients.(Also Read:The 'Sweet' Accident That Gave Birth to the Chocolate Chip Cookie)
Pragati Sawhney, Founder of Chockriti, tells us, "It was in the year 2011 that I started the venture. I attended chocolate making classes abroad and when I returned to India, I discovered the chocolate making process in India and was totally taken aback. These industrially manufactured products used baking chocolate, sugar and vegetable oil and packaged it as real chocolate. The taste was also remarkably different from what I had tasted abroad. So, I started doing my research and established Chockriti to sell artisanal chocolates made with pure and high quality ingredients."
What do we mean by real or pure chocolates? Pragati explains, "Real chocolate is something that actually comes from the trees. Just like coffee comes from coffee beans, chocolate comes from cocoa beans. However, cocoa plantation in India is in a very nascent stage as compared to Peru or Central Africa. So, for Chockriti the first hassle was to procure good quality cocoa. I have been crafting chocolates from real cocoa bars imported from Belgium."(Also Read: Is Having Chocolate for Breakfast a Good Idea?)
Mandakini Gupta, Founder of Smitten Bakery and Pattiserie, takes us through her journey, "After a successful stint in journalism for ten years, I developed interest in chocolates and desserts while writing and reading about them. The art of making chocolates always intrigued me. I went to Paris once and bought six moulds of chocolate bars and wasn't quite sure what to do with them. I started experimenting with craft chocolate making."
Wrapped in cute boxes and decorations, these chocolatey wonders are an aesthetic treat too with their artful packing. Here are some craft chocolatiers that are creating some delicious stuff.
Established in 2011 by Pragati Swahney in Gurugram, Chockriti offers all-natural European artisanal chocolates and cacao products using only fine chocolate. "Choc" is short for Chocolate and "Kriti" means "Work of Art" in Sanskrit. The artfully packaged chocolates are found in eclectic flavours like earl grey, kaffir lime, jasmine, green tea, masala chai and a lot more. Chockriti also designs many festive packages. For Diwali 2017, they are offering special motichoor laddoos and kaju katlis made of real chocolates.(Also Read:7 Chocolate Desserts Around the World You Would Love to Devour!)
2. Smitten Bakery and Pattiserie
Brainchild of former TV journalist Mandakini Gupta, Smitten Bakery & Pattisserie has slowly emerged to be one of the biggest havens for craft chocolates in New Delhi. From the beautifully packaged Artisanal Belgian Chocolate bars to the wide range of gourmet cakes and desserts, this quirky little bakery in Shahpur Jat is sure to have you hooked forever.
3. All Things
True to its name, All Things has all things rich, pure and handcrafted. It was founded by Kuhu Kochar and Tejasvi Chandela. The indulgent fare is devoid of any additives and artificial flavouring. Using only the cacao grown under ethical and sustainable conditions by skilled farmers, which is then roasted by an artisanal Belgian manufacturer, All Things is making sure you get to taste the finest of gourmet preparations. These delicious craft chocolates paired with locally sourced ingredients and nuts makes for a divine assortment you won't want to miss.
4. Mason & Co.
If chocolate addiction is real, then Mason and Co. is proving to be one guilty pitstop for all chocolate lovers in Pondicherry. Run by French husband-wife duo Fabien and Jane Mason, the chocolate label is slowly emerging to be one of the biggest bean-to-bar chocolatiers of the country. Sourcing their ingredients with organic certified farms in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, Mason and Co.'s gourmet fare includes an interesting range of flavours from chilli and cinnamon to rosemary and sea salt, roasted sesame seeds and espresso chocolate.
5. Earth loaf
Founded by David Belo and Angelika Anangnostou, Earth Loaf started out as a small outlet in Mysore selling chocolates made out of organically certified ingredients from Indian farmers. They have a variety of interesting flavours such as mango, red capsicum and chilli chocolate or the Tokai coffee and pineapple chocolate bar. The gourmet chocolate bars, bon bons and cacao tea infusions are great for gifting.
6. Bar Code
Helmed by ace choclateir Chef Varun Inamdar, Bar code strives to take the Indian scene of artisanal chocolates to match those set by its International counterparts in Europe and U.S . Sourcing its ingredients from various Indian states, Bar code offers an interesting array of chocolates that is bound to leave you spoilt for choice. Available in unique flavours like Kokum, Jackfruit and Fenugreek, Bar Code's chocolates are every chocolate lovers dream come True!
This festive season, go artisanal and give your love for chocolates a gourmet touch with these specially designed craft chocolates.
About Sushmita SenguptaSharing a strong penchant for food, Sushmita loves all things good, cheesy and greasy. Her other favourite pastime activities other than discussing food includes, reading, watching movies and binge-watching TV shows.