Once upon a time, in the land of vibrant spices and delicacies, a sweet revolution was brewing. Chocolates, once considered an exotic luxury, started to captivate the taste buds of aficionados across India. The bean-to-bar movement emerged and from the bustling streets of Mumbai to the serene hills of Coorg, passionate chocolatiers embarked on a flavourful journey, sourcing the finest cacao beans and transforming them into delectable bars of pure bliss. With every bite, chocolate lovers discovered a whole new world of flavours and textures, as these artisanal chocolates celebrated the rich diversity of Indian ingredients. From fragrant cardamom-infused truffles to silky-smooth dark chocolates with a hint of Himalayan pink salt, the possibilities and choices rose to be endless.
This evolution of single-origin chocolates in India brought joy, excitement and a sprinkle of magic to every chocoholic's life, forever changing the way we savoured the delights of the cocoa bean. And so, on this very special occasion of World Chocolate Day, here’s our list of the most decadent delights which you can swear by.
The name Anuttama translates to superior or the best of best. What distinguishes Anuttama's chocolates from the rest is their distinctive method of sweetening, employing jaggery, dates and coconut sugar. Their commitment to natural ingredients is evident, as their chocolates are free from preservatives, artificial colours and flavours and emulsifiers. The chocolate-making process is entirely natural, avoiding the use of any chemicals. One notable creation is their beloved bar, Bella Tharai, which incorporates the flavours of the southern region by using coconut milk and jaggery.
Anuttama's vision is to provide chocolate lovers with a healthier alternative through their range of dark chocolates. In addition to this, they are dedicated to supporting cocoa farmers and fostering employment opportunities.
Special Recommendation: Spicy Tang for a little bit of sweet, spice and everything nice. Bella Tharai for the richness of coconut milk in the luxury of dark chocolate.
The Blue Gourmet presents a captivating selection of handcrafted chocolates produced in small batches. They offer a choice between khandsari sugar (a natural sweetener derived from liquid jaggery) and refined sugar, allowing customers to customise their preferences according to individual taste and preference.
The Blue Gourmet boasts of three enticing variants: 48% with A2 Milk, 55% Dark Vegan, and 70% Dark Vegan. Their commitment to catering to diverse taste preferences is reflected in their exquisite chocolate creations. Notably, they source their own cocoa beans directly from farmers in Kerala, ensuring a sustainable, local and organic supply chain. They undertake a meticulous bean-to-bar process, including roasting the beans themselves, thereby eliminating intermediaries.
Bon Fiction, an artisanal chocolate brand, owes its existence to the unwavering curiosity and innovative spirit of two diligent individuals. Motivated by the abundance of cocoa grown in their family-owned fields, Akhil and Prathina embarked on a journey of research and experimentation. Through trial and error, they successfully developed a unique standard operating procedure of production that sets their products apart from the rest in the market.
All ingredients used in their chocolates are sourced naturally, ensuring exceptional quality while the flavouring agents are carefully infused into the bars, striking a harmonious balance. The flavours are given captivating names such as The Mango Menace, The Sweet Life of Nuts and Raisins, A Rose In Pistachio Skies, Lost In Orange Haze, and Out In The Dark. The packaging features delightful illustrations making it all the more engaging and fun.
Subko Cacao is revolutionising the Indian cacao industry by collaborating closely with local farmers and conducting terroir collections from various estates across the country. While Kerala has long been known for producing the best cacao beans in India, Subko Cacao is now also highlighting farms in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
The diverse range of Subko Cacao products include an array of adult-oriented dark, milk and white chocolate bars infused with flavours like vanilla, as well as bars originating from creative and daring experiments.
Subko Cacao also offers artisanal twists on classics like Twix, Snickers, Bounty, and Reese's. Additionally, customers can enjoy cubes in flavours such as pista cherry, faux rocher, banana honey almond, and apple tart. For a luxurious and indulgent experience, the Seabuckthorn Meringue Pie cube is quite the contender.
Special Recommendation: All their filled variants for a delighted surprise inside.
La Folie, a renowned chocolatier, creates chocolate directly from the cacao bean, becoming an expert bean-to-bar chocolate maker. They ethically source single-origin cacao beans from around the world and handcraft them into small batch chocolates at their micro-factory in Mumbai.
Paired with locally-sourced natural ingredients, each creation showcases the uniqueness and character of the cacao's origin. La Folie's boutiques in Mumbai, including La Folie Lab and La Folie Du Chocolat offer exquisite sensory experiences with their glorious creations. They also provide factory tours and host culinary classes at their state-of-the-art culinary studio, The Classroom.
Mason & Co prides itself on its commitment to the bean-to-bar process, ensuring quality and control at every stage of production. They have established a strong farmer-direct approach, working closely with farmers to source, harvest, and process only the finest cacao beans. By maintaining a direct connection with the farmers, Mason & Co ensures that the cacao beans used in their chocolate bars are of the highest quality. A key aspect of their production philosophy is their dedication to organic practices.
Their products are meticulously hand-crafted by an all-female workforce, exemplifying their commitment to empowering women in the chocolate industry. Through their artisan approach, Mason & Co ensures that every chocolate bar reflects the care and craftsmanship put into its creation.
Since its inception, Paul and Mike have garnered international recognition by winning prestigious awards for their Dark Sichuan Pepper and Orange Peel Vegan Chocolate, as well as their Alphonso Mango Milk Chocolate. At the heart of their chocolate-making process is the careful selection of cocoa genetics, prioritising flavour over yield. They believe that the finest impression can be achieved by harvesting the cocoa beans at just the right time.
Furthermore, expert precision during the fermentation, drying and roasting stages enhances the natural relish of the beans. They exclusively use fine flavour cocoa beans, instead of cocoa powder or solids. Their choice of sweetener is muscovado sugar, eschewing refined white sugar. The chocolates are made with rich, pure cocoa butter, free from hydrogenated vegetable oil.
The perception of chocolate as a "sinful pleasure" has been deeply ingrained, with warnings concerning health popping up every now and then. Sugar-free chocolates available in the market often fail to provide a satisfying taste, being either too bitter or relying on artificial sweeteners like maltitol. Even those claiming to be sugar-free may contain alternative sweeteners like corn syrup.
After numerous experiments, extensive research, and the taste of some disappointing chocolates, Ditch The Guilt eventually mastered the recipe for a sugar-free dark chocolate. Using the finest Indian organic cacao, real cocoa butter and a natural zero-calorie sweetener that leaves no aftertaste, the result was a low-carb, high in healthy-fat and high-protein chocolate, packed with antioxidants and nutrients. Most importantly, it is delicious.
Aayushi is that friend who won’t let you take a bite without capturing it. For her, the easiest but still thoughtful way of making someone feel special is by cooking or getting them their favourite food. Currently, she’s on an expedition to integrate all her favourites: food, social media and marketing, so that you don't miss the hottest spot in town and you know where to eat those crispy and juicy chicken wings.