Chocolate bars in India have come a long way. They have significantly more complex flavours and are receiving accolades on a global scale. Here are some award-winning bean-to-bar brands in India that are experimenting with interesting flavours and combinations. They are also looking at ethical and environmental concerns in the supply chain, for instance, how their beans are grown and where they are sourced from.
Paul And Mike
Paul And Mike, an artisanal Kerala-based "bean-to-bar" chocolate producer, became the first Indian company to win a silver medal at the International Chocolate Awards (2020-2021 world final) in June 2021. The award was for its '64 Percent Dark Sichuan Pepper and Orange Peel Vegan Chocolate'. They have interesting combinations like Dark Whisky & Cashew Butterscotch Chocolate, Fine Milk Italian Piedmont Hazelnuts Chocolate, and Fine Milk Real Alphonso Mango Chocolate. Paul And Mike employs fine-tasting cocoa beans and real fruits, nuts, spices, and floral distillates in their chocolates. Artificial ingredients are completely absent. They believe farming and fermenting cocoa are both art and science. Headquartered in Kochi, they grow and ferment cocoa on their own farms in Kochi and Coimbatore. Find more information here.
This Puttur-based brand highlights regional flavours in products. They bagged a bronze for their Spicy Tang under the category of Dark Chocolate Bars with an infusion of flavouring at the International Chocolate Awards, Asia-Pacific Bean-to-Bar, and Craft Chocolatier Competition 2021&ndash22. Anuttama was also listed in three categories of the grand jury finalists. Their Spicy Tang bar is a 62% dark chocolate bar infused with organic pepper, ginger, and jaggery. Its flavours are based on the traditional idea of "kashaya," a concoction made of ginger, pepper, and other herbs, sweetened with jaggery. Or try the Bella Tharai bar, which has jaggery and coconut flavours. Find more information here.
Mason & Co
This company produces chocolate from bean to bar at their Auroville plant. They select, harvest, and prepare premium beans in collaboration with organic farmers in South India. The additional elements are usually organic certified items made in small batches. Furthermore, the beans are of single origin, which means that every cacao bean in a bar of chocolate comes from the same region or farm.
Try their Zesty Orange Dark Chocolate Bar, which has 75% bittersweet dark chocolate paired with bitter zesty orange. Or their limited edition Sourdough & Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Bar, which has signature sourdough bread crumbs mixed with their 70% sea salt dark chocolate. Find more information here.
This handmade chocolate brand from Mysore has won several international awards. They take a terroir-focused approach to the art of bean-to-bar ethics. Previously known as Earth Loaf and founded in 2012, they claim to be one of the first chocolate makers in the world to employ only organically certified Indian cacao beans, as well as India's first bean-to-bar chocolate house. Try their 72% Tokai Coffee & Pineapple Chocolate Bar, which won a Great Taste Award from the Guild of Fine Food, UK 2017. Produced with coffee from Blue Tokai Coffee roasters, pineapple, and fresh vanilla, this is not your average "espresso" or "cappuccino" chocolate bar. The flavours are more subtle, where the coffee and cacao flavours intertwine. The Bambooshyam bar features bamboo shoots steeped in cigar-infused caramel and date syrup and paired with fragrant and zesty lemon grass. Find more information here.
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