Colocal, an artisanal chocolate brand, throws the spotlight on single-origin chocolate from Kerala
Banker Sheetal Saxena was scrolling through Instagram when she saw a video explaining the ins and outs of chocolate making. “I decided to educate myself about cacao. I learnt the art of chocolate making in Milan, and travelled across Belgium and Paris for chocolate festivals to hone my skills,” she tells us. The result of this is the artisanal brand Colocal that she started with her husband, Nishant Kumar Sinha. The brand offers craft chocolate bars made with premium-quality Indian-grown cacao beans. To start the brand, Sheetal learnt everything about Indian cacao. She discovered that even though we have good quality beans grown in the country, the awareness about it is very low. And people are not educated on the topic. Hence, one of the aims of starting the brand was also to shine light on Indian-grown cacao and support the cacao-growing community. Colocal sources all their beans from the hills in Idukki, Kerala. “We work with a co-operative that sources cacao from farmers and we pay a premium price for that which helps the farmers with extra income and fuels the community. By making only single-origin chocolates from Kerala we want to help put them on the world map,” Sheetal explains. The brand has chocolate bars with different percentages of cacao, from 55 to 66, all the way to darker 72 per cent and 85 per cent bars. They also of fer flavours such as caramel and sea salt, as well as inclusion bars that use ingredients such as almond, cashew, apricots and pistachios. With a live bean-to-bar factory in New Delhi, the brand has detailed 13-step process for making their craft chocolate. Guests can even visit and learn more about the art. “The factory fulfills a Willy Wonka-style dream of chocolate aficionados and gives them the opportunity to observe, learn and experience the process of chocolate making first hand, ” Sheetal says. She explains how they roast the beans in a professional and customised roaster which helps in developing the character of cacao. “By making sure that the roast is even, we are able to enhance the flavours that we want to achieve. The conching technique is used to remove the bitterness from the chocolates. By adding this step to our process we have achieved total control of the acidity in our chocolates and the ability to play with it as per our requirement,” Sheetal elaborates. The factory in New Delhi also has a quiant cafe attached to it that takes design inspiration from the streets of Puducherry. The menu offers other chocolate delicacies such as souffles, tarts, cakes and babkas.