A lot has been said about Vegan food in general. Multiple questions have been asked, multiple myths have been busted but even then, there are a lot of misunderstandings and misconceptions about Veganism in general.
Like they say curiosity killed the cat, for us, curiosity only got us closer to clearing some of our doubts about veganism. we saw a beautiful chocolate post and couldn’t believe it was vegan! That’s when we knew, we had to meet the maker. Having grown up in a world where dairy milk was the most consumed chocolate, vegan chocolate was a new concept for us.
We ended up spending the evening with the vegan chocolate maker, Divisha Jadhwani at her new studio in Juhu over a long conversation on veganism, busting the myths around veganism and how did the entire concept of vegan chocolates come about for her.
Oh, No Dairy!
“It's hard for a kid who’s grown up drinking a glass of milk everyday in the morning to completely avoid dairy products,” explains Divisha, who was diagnosed with lactose intolerance, five years ago. She was asked to stop dairy as it did not suit her gut anymore. And, when there is so much that the world has to offer in terms of food, she still longed for chocolates. The move obviously was difficult and staying away from chocolates wasn’t an option.
The Vegan Journey
Being a hospitality graduate from SNDT, she was always careful about what she ate, so jumping to eat anything would be wrong. She started off, learning a lot by following nutritionists who focused primarily on plant-based meals. At the same time, she attended a few workshops conducted by Neha Ranglani to get deeper insights on the same. Attending a few workshops helped her gain confidence to start experimenting and slowly and steadily, her journey as a vegan individual began. From the very first vegan smoothie she made to bust the myth that smoothies can’t be made without yogurt, to making her own vegan chocolates, the journey came with its pros and cons (the major con being, “oh, you’re vegan.. attitude”). “My journey can easily be described as an exhilarating yet an enjoyable one,” she remarks.
For over 8 years now, Divisha has been baking, cooking and making chocolates for friends and family. Over 5 years ago, after she got married, she decided to name her labour of love, Jars and Journeys. From being a brand only selling desserts to the large variety of vegan foods she makes such as savoury dips, cheese, cookies, brownies, cakes, cake pops and even gluten-free bread, the one thing that caught our attention was Vegan Chocolate.
The Secret Ingredient is always Chocolate
If chocolate is the answer to your midnight cravings or you prefer a dessert after dinner and you’re a vegan, Divisha has a lot in store for you. Using premium ingredients, she makes chocolates right at home. “The very first time I made Vegan chocolates at home, I ended up using Cacao nibs, but the thing is, cacao nibs are extremely bitter,” she recalls. “It was then during one of my trips to Pondicherry that I discovered Mason and Co at Auroville and got introduced to the concept of cacao butter and ever since, I have started adding cacao butter and organic liquid jaggery,” she further adds.
Trial & Error
After a lot of trial and error, the making of vegan chocolates was mastered and then, she started making Vegan versions of commercial chocolates like snickers, almond rocks, sea salt barks and many more.
She gleefully and almost smugly states, “The best part about vegan chocolates is that since they are made from scratch, they can be customised as per your liking. Don’t like jaggery, you can add maple syrup or honey instead; don’t like coconut oil, avoid it completely. None of these changes will change the consistency of the chocolate (only the shine will go if you avoid coconut oil).”
We also asked her if she was inspired to try out some Indianised flavours and she honestly mentioned how her ideas of adding chaat masala to one of her chocolate batches failed miserably. To which she quickly added, that Indian renditions of assorted dry fruit barks, rose clusters, saffron infusions and many more have also worked so well.
The next thing that she really wants to learn and figure out is a way to make vegan white chocolate to add to her menu. And while the “Oh, You’re Vegan” comments don’t stop, she does aim to create awareness about veganism, one bark of chocolate at a time. And, all we can say is yes please!