KOCHI: At Paul and Mike, chocolate making is as meticulous a process as winemaking. “As we are a farm to bar chocolate brand, we manage the entire supply chain. The first step in making great chocolate is picking the right cocoa seeds from the company-owned farmlands in Kochi and Coimbatore. Wet cocoas are also sourced from selected farmers in Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. The beans are then fermented, dried and roasted. Paul and Mike is highly focused on the quality of the cocoa beans. This prudent practice gives a distinct characteristic to all our final products,” says Vikas Temani, business head and founder of Paul And Mike. This Kerala-based chocolate maker won silver for their ‘64 Percent Dark Sichuan Pepper and Orange Peel Vegan Chocolate’ at the International Chocolate Awards 2021.
The intent to export Paul and Mike products to China gave birth to the flavour Sichuan Pepper and Orange Peel Chocolate. “We chose Sichuan Pepper as it is in tune with the Chinese dietary preferences, and is a prominent flavour in Chinese and Southeast-Asian cuisine. Infusing the orange peel adds to the texture,” says Vikas
The variant was sold out in two days, after being launched at the International Chocolate fair in Shanghai in December 2019. “Sichuan Pepper gives a tingling effect on the tongue when it is chewed. The mild current which oscillates on your tastebuds is complemented well by the sweet and citrusy orange peel,” adds Vikas. The interesting variant got widely accepted in the Indian market as well.
Chocolate for all
Providing chocolate that holds up the quality of premium Latin American ones at the price of mass-produced Swiss-Belgian chocolate has always been Paul and Mike’s purpose. The ‘64 Percent Dark Sichuan Pepper and Orange Peel Vegan Chocolate’ is priced at Rs 250, cheaper than a bar of Lindt! “The chocolates aren’t enhanced using artificial flavours. Natural fruits, spices, nuts, pure cocoa butter and floral distillates are used instead.
It gives us great pride to know that the cocoa grown in India, which was used in the production of bulk chocolates, has the potential to be converted to fine-flavour ones. At the same time, it benefits the farmers, giving them better returns for their hard work,” says Vikas.