Willy Wonka 2.0 and the Craftsmanship of Artisan Chocolate – The New Indian Express

Express press service

There is a growing appetite for high-end chocolate at home. We no longer have to wait for our overseas cousins ​​to lug around Godivas and Guylains, with easy availability of gourmet bars in India. Consumption of desi chocolates is at its peak now, with a dizzying rush of hand-painted candies, cocoa nibs, toasted coconut truffles, mosaic bars, peanut butter cups, rose caramels, pecan appetizers, mocha almonds dipped in milk chocolate with caramelized macadamia, dark cookies, little golden cocoa kisses in a metallic dust for that extra shine… jostle to attract attention. Chocolate merchants love it.

Karan Ahuja, co-founder of Coco Cart & Coco Café, says the force behind chocolate stocks and super deals on saver packs at these glitzy DutyFree shops, introduced Coco Cart during the pandemic because negligible travel meant less footfall at airports. Storage was a challenge and the logical solution was to create chocolate stores across the country.

This is how Coco Cart, “the midlife child”, was born. “There are over 35 stores, seven cafes, over 400 employees and over 40 brands, all under one roof as of now,” says Ahuja, on a tiger mission to satisfy the country’s chocolate craving. . “For us, our growth rate is more than just a metric. With many new avenues launched in the near future, we expect to triple in size over the next two years. This shows us the hard work of our team to deliver melt-free to every Pincode in India.

We have been multiplied by 10 during this financial year: the multiple relates to our omnichannel markets. » With cleverly arranged sections for the chocolate rush from New Zealand, Switzerland… the groves are dotted with Whittaker’s, Godiva, Neuhaus, Loacker, Kinder, Lindt, Mars, Hershey’s, Milka, Chocodates, Wedel, Valrhona …even with FitSpo whey protein bars and flapjacks for goalies.

The chocolate market in India has grown throughout the pandemic, ushering in an upward trend. With palm oil infusions being diverted by consumers, the demand for pure chocolate has further increased. The definition of premium chocolate has changed. From an ambitious treat to an everyday indulgence, brown gold now also functions as a luxury mood enhancer. Handmade or branded. “Chocolate reigned as a delicious symbol of wealth and luxury back then, but now it’s become part of casual snacking due to our changing lifestyles,” says Karan.

“The growing population of a younger generation is a major driver, along with the digitized retail experience and the changing digital landscape in India: these factors have shaped the dynamics of consumption pattern and market demands. At the macro level, the Indian shopper today is very quality conscious with higher purchasing power on luxury goods.Consumers are willing to pay top dollar for fresh and fine produce available easily and in a critical timeframe. Our biggest spenders are millennials, who value working smart rather than working hard. Baby boomers have also taken over,” he adds, with Cococart now located in major airports, malls and delivering to all postcodes in India.

Single-origin blacks slip alongside salted caramel and handmade candies infused with the goodness of seasonal flowers, dancing in lipcuring colors from the hands of stellar chefs, each bite bringing a decidedly feel-good zone . This is a projected CAGR of 15% for 2021-26 for the chocmart in India. According to chef Vidushi Sharma, the 2019 founder of Truffle & Co., “The average Indian palate is much more avid of travel and familiar with distinctive flavors: luxury chocolate has a huge role to play in this because people started to move away. from mass produced products to beans to chocolate bars.

Premium chocolates are like good wine: single origin chocolates have notes just like wine, they can be full-bodied, fruity, sour or smoky. We make our own blend from Belgian couverture chocolate. I think the next five years are an exciting time for the chocolate industry, following the launch of Ruby, the fourth variety of chocolate. People will appreciate chocolates more for their decadence than for a random choice during a grocery run. For chocolate die-hards, iconic Swiss cocoa maker Barry Callebaut has launched the fourth type of chocolate (after dark, milk and white) called Ruby, a fruity twist of berries in a smooth complexion, rooted in the original color and taste of the ruby ​​berry. So much more to play with.

What about the local shockspace? According to Mumbai-based Rahul Bajaj, founder and designer of The Blue Gourmet, a recently launched B2B chocolate bar focused on strong R&D through its organic offerings, “dark chocolate and its variants are rapidly replacing traditional sweets on the table. . The premium aspect lies in the craftsmanship of the artisanal chocolate. We use the slogan SLO (sustainable, local, organic) by sourcing ingredients like rose, saffron and khandsari sugar from Kashmir, Garhwal, Kerala… our Indian cocoa, with its smoky, rusty and earthy flavor, is the fourth best in the world and is exported to Belgium.

We’ve taken it in liquid form to infuse it into ice creams, with berries and nuts from around the world, barks and form bars, candies, chewy sticks and coatings and all. Older folks and vegans love our khandsari variant, the rawest form of organic. I think working with different flavors, infusions and profiles brings a touch of innovation to chocolate and creates a consumer niche.

With variations ranging from vegan and sugar-free versions to bars pumped with infusions of camel and yak milk, branded and artisan chocolates are jumping into the fray. Taste to discover your real knockouts in 2022.

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