Ever since Roald Dahl introduced us to Willy Wonka's chocolate factory, many of us might have dreamt about being surrounded by copious amounts of this sweet confection. Crafted from cocoa beans and steeped in nostalgia, chocolate often offers both solace and excitement to people.
We speak to a few artisanal chocolatiers in Delhi-NCR who offer a range of flavours that should be on every chocoholic's radar.
Nothing short of art
"Chocolate has always excited me. Something about it is quite different from other sweets," says Neha Singh from Gurugram.
Her home-based venture Bijoux Chocolates, established in 2017, attempts to add an artistic touch to run-of-the-mill chocolates. True to its name (bijoux means jewels or trinkets in French), the chocolates crafted by Singh are not just appealing to the taste buds but also to the eyes by virtue of the jewel-toned glaze on it that is hand-painted by Singh.
Offering unconventional flavours such as cherry blossom, matcha, raspberry-lychee, passionfruit, and more, all are made from naturally-sourced ingredients. "I use dried flower petals. The idea is to infuse the real flavour of the flower into the chocolate," she adds.
Where: Bijoux Chocolates on Instagram
Price: Rs 550 for a single bar; Rs 975 for 2 boxes of 4 bonbons each
Feast for the eyes
Mandakini Gupta's journey as a chocolatier started because of her love for chocolates by the American artisanal company Mast Brothers. "Mast Brothers' chocolates had really interesting packaging, which always intrigued me," shares Gupta.
Unpacking this inspiration, Gupta launched Smitten Bakery and Patisserie in 2014 - she runs it from her home in Asian Games Village - that provides a range of desserts and handmade chocolates. For Gupta, presentation is also key, and she packages her chocolates in a unique manner using origami designs. Smitten has a red-rice crackle chocolate, which is Gupta's take on the Cadbury Crackle.
Where: Smitten Bakery and Patisserie on Instagram
Price: Rs 200 - Rs 280 for 50-75 g bars
Fusion of exotic flavours
Pragati Sawhney from Gurugram established Chockriti in 2011 in a hope to combat the lack of interesting flavours and good-quality chocolates in India. Working from her home - she had a studio, which is now closed due to the pandemic - Sawhney's range of chocolate bars are made by fusing natural teas, flowers, spices, and herbs with pure cacao.
Chockriti's specialities include flavours such as African Rooibos tea, Lavender, Mogra, Turkish Coffee, Matcha, as well as chocolates made with goat cheese and Rooh Afza.
Where: chockriti.com or @chockriti.chocolatier on Instagram
Price: Starting from Rs 300 - Rs 3,000
Founded in 2015 by the Gulati sisters Radhika and Simar, Rosarté's chocolate studio, based in GK-1, is a cloud kitchen that delivers handcrafted Belgian chocolates across Delhi-NCR. "Our idea was to introduce Belgian Couverture chocolates to the country," says Radhika.
You will find a range of truffles, bonbons, and chocolate bars, along with their speciality, the Chip and Dale chocolates bar inspired by eponymous Walt Disney characters. Rosarté also offers single-origin chocolates, which are unique in flavour to the country - Venezuela, Java, and Madagascar, to name a few - that the cacao bean is harvested from.
Price: Rs 650 plus delivery charges for a box of 9 bonbons; Rs 450 for a 100g bar
Salute to the Indian Cocoa
Richa Chaudhary and Prajnay Garg commercially launched Darkins in 2019. With their studio located in Sainik Farms, Darkins offers a variety of chocolate products that are made from locally-sourced cacao beans from three farms in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh.
It serves to highlight different flavour profiles that Indian chocolate offers. "We hope that people will take our chocolates to other countries to make the Indian cacao bean more famous," mentions Garg. With a team of 10 women, Darkins' specialities include chocolates that are infused with Indian flavours. One of the most interesting fusions they have is the Banarasi paan flavoured chocolate.
Price: Rs 295 for 65 g bar