Who needs store-bought, synthetic-tasting commercial chocolate bars when there are artisan chocolate makers from the country who hand-make chocolates with plenty of love and care? Meet the chocolatiers who offer chocolate bars packed with exotic ingredients, interesting local twists and some who even source their cacao from farms right here in the country.
The Mysore-based Earth Loaf is a bean-to-bar company with all of its chocolate, liquor and nibs made in-house. Its chocolates are vegan, made of cacao beans and coconut sugar and are free from milk, soy, lecithin, emulsifiers and preservatives.
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Founded in 2010 in London and 2012 in India, Earth Loaf, now renamed as Naviluna, is spearheaded by UK-based chocolatiers David Belo and Angelika Anagnostou. David is a former cocktail mixologist (Head bartender LAB Bar – London) and artisan bread baker, Angelika is a former cocktail mixologist (Head bartender, Milk & Honey London – trained directly under Sasha Petraske aka the godfather of prohibition era and speak easy revival).
Earth Loaf’s selection comprises a 72 per cent dark chocolate bar made with single origin raw and organic South Indian cacao, a bar dotted with cacao nibs and dusted with coconut sugar, a bar with organic almonds and sea salt smoked over cacao husks and coal and bon bons in flavours such as masala chai (Indian spices and vanilla) and tiramisu (coffee, nutmeg, raisins and vanilla) made with raw cashew cream and encased with 72 per cent dark chocolate.
Prices start from Rs 330. Visit earthloaf.co.in to see the list of additional products and order online.
Mason & Co
Mason & Co is a bean-to-bar chocolate maker based in Auroville, Tamil Nadu. They work directly with organic certified cacao farms in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. They offers 14 flavours of chocolate bars, made from organic single origin Indian cacao, such as 49% Crunchy Peanutbutter Dark Chocolate, the popular 70% Sea Salt Dark Chocolate, and the 75% Zesty Orange Dark Chocolate. Mason & Co also product organic super-foods like Roasted Cacao Nibs, edible non-deodorised Cacao Butter and Organic Cacao Powder. They also offer services like post harvesting advice to farmers and bean-to-bar training and will soon be opening their factory to visitors.
Visit masonchocolate.com to see a list of stores and find them on Instagram & Facebook!
Smitten Bakery & Patisserie
Former television journalist-turned-home baker, Mandakini Gupta offers several exotic flavours in her range of handmade chocolate bars under the label Smitten Bakery & Patisserie. She uses Belgian Callebaut and the French Cacao Barry (about 64-65 per cent not darker, not lighter) in her range which is infused with fruits, nuts, spices, coffee and even seeds. Gupta’s unusual flavour pairings include pistachio and raspberries, almond, currant and sea salt, hazelnut, fig and orange, pumpkin seed and candied chilli, peanut caramel crunch and roasted coffee bean. They also now have a Red Ruce Crackle, like the Cadburys Crackle. But this one is an adult version with sea salt, dark chocolate, cayenne pepper and puffed red rice.
She uses locally sourced figs, peanuts, almonds and coffee beans from Indian company Blue Tokai. The raspberries, currants and hazelnuts are sourced from abroad. She only uses Maldon sea salt flakes in her chocolates. Plans are afoot to use 72 per cent single origin chocolate in the future. The chocolates are currently made only on order.
Products start from Rs 180. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit facebook.com/smittenbakery1/ to order.