I have been a chocolate enthusiast since I can remember and the time has now come for me to deep dive into a pool of dark shiny melting chocolate!
Firstly, I'd like to share my larger vision. It is to build a strong chocolate movement in India - more awareness, more options and creation of more reasonably priced products - and build a product that ensures the lowest carbon footprint for a population as large as ours, with an in-built social and economic balance.
The purpose of this forum is to understand and discuss a range of topics revolving around chocolate in India from the viability of starting a new venture in India in cocoa farming, manufacturing, supply chain, the limitations posed by climate, new innovations, sustainability and costs, holding conferences with experts in-country to even using chocolate as a medium for experential learning in schools!
Basically, anything that interests you and will benefit the group.
There are many questions on farming, manufacturing, sustainability whose answers would enable me and I believe, others to understand the scope of developing cocoa and chocolate products in India.
With a huge sense of possibility, I request you all to share your expertise and your questions on this forum, and come together for living the chocolate life, as Clay calls it!
To begin the discussions, one of the first questions I'd like to post is:
Are there opportunities to apprentice with chocolatiers and cocoa farmers in France/India/Belgium/elsewhere and what are the nitty-gritties involved?
Looking forward to many lively discussions here!
My name is sinclair. I am glad and happy to see this enthusiasm in you. We could connect via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am originally from goa and would like to hear more about your current project status as in what are you doing and where.
Hi Subhashini - This is a great group. I am a chocolate lover/enthusiast but only recently joined this website to meet other like-minded people and learn as much as possible about chocolate and the business of chocolate. I want to set up a chocolate business at some point. I also happen to be curious about the production of chocolate in India so I hope i can learn a lot from the group!
Welcome to the group!
It's great to have someone with very similar interests here - perhaps together we could ask all the right questions on the TCL forums and begin our tryst with chocolate! Do write in about where you are based, what specifically you are looking at doing and where you'd like others to pitch in?
Looking forward to your response
Hi - So I'm based in NYC and the goal for me is to start a chocolate business with chocolate sourced from India. At this stage, I'm most interested in understanding the entire production process of chocolate - from bean to bar. I actually started another question thread about nyc chocolate classes that would focus on this. So far, most people only have recommendations for confectioners classes. I was recommnedeed the online class from ecole chocolate which I am exploring. If anyone knows of any kinds of good in-person classes on this subject (even if its not in the states), I'd be really interested in learning about it.
I'm also interested in learning about cacao growth in general in India. I've read its so far not really cultivated much even though the climate is great for it. Is this true? And why hasn't it been cultivated more? Is this something that is changing?
Thanks Vidya! Coincidentally, I started out with very similar questions on growing cocoa in india but have not got the answers and explanations for the same fully yet. That's why I am trying to invite more people to the group who may be able to throw some light on these questions. Maybe you could do the same. I guess should we get more relevant people in India to join the group, these discussions would become quite meaningful!
I am too an Ecole Chocolate graduate like you and am currently have a business in India.I work from bar to chocolate and am extremely impressed and happy with your effort. My first few questions too during research were - WHY NOT INDIA? the only likely answer that came to me were- education and awareness of good chocolate lacks in India . Additionally, Cocoa being an intercrop cant alone provide livelihood to farmers . perhaps its too risky and our demand too low compared to other crops in India and therefore the low yield. I understand 70% of prodn is bought by Cadbury in India. I hope people like you and I can change that in the future. I would love to get in touch with you ... my email is email@example.com. I am an artisan chocolatier and love the thought of being able to use good quality chocolate from India.My vision is to educate the consumer and help the Indian consumer appreciate good quality coverture chocolate and with people like you going down to basics from bean to bar...I dont see this as an 'impossible task'. Good luck to you and look fwd to an interesting discussion understanding the Indian market.Do keep in touch
Hey Sinclair I have sent you an email
Dear Subhashini :
Sorry if this is off the topic but I like to mention a business model that fits your vision for a sustainable, green and fair trade chocolate. Although the product is different, the concept is the same. Here's a link for Cup-to-Crop : http://www.croptocup.com/index.php
Let me quote their mission statement : "We provide the supply chain tools for our customers to connect with their coffee and its origins, and build successful and sustainable coffee programs....Our mission is to serve...coffee lovers in their quest to enjoy high quality coffee from unique and sustainable origins at a fair price. All of our products, services and projects operate with quality, the environment and social equality as their driving forces...."
Personally, I think the same concept would carry over very well to chocolate : bring small cacao growers to a large market in a sustainable, green and fair trade way.
My own personal interest is in unique single source chocolates from various regions, much the same as with coffees of the world. To be able to do this knowing it is done with good conscience or convey that along with the farmed product would be an asset.
You've a great idea!!
Your interested reader
Thank you Mike for the encouraging word and the link to croptocup. Truly appreciate it! I am going to be doing more research into the Indian context of cocoa farming in the next 2 months that will hopefully help throw more light on the current reality on the ground here.
I just recently started attempting to make chocolate at home from bean to bar..
let me explain how this came about
i am a graduate of hotel management and whenever i tried to obtain a good cooking chocolate for my recipes (callebaut is a little out of budget) i hit a road block.
that got me thinking, why not manufacture a good cooking chocolate that is affordable..
and this further got me thinking that we dont have any good 'Indian' chocolate brands..
and for the past couple of months ive been going through everything i can find on bean to bar chocolate.. ive been through almost all the discussions on your site (very helpful).. and then i decided its time to stop reading and time to start acting..
through a colleague i procured 60 kgs of cocoa beans (not sure which variety, though i think its Indian Forastero) i was too excited to get starterd..
since i got these beans ive gone pretty mad ( in a good way).. i roast and then winnow them by hand.. and stay up the whole night conching/refining in a stone wet grinder..
i know i've rambled quite a bit and i apologize but i wanted you to get an idea of who i am and how much ive fallen in love with chocolate.
This sounds super fun and great for learning! Would love to hear more about the progress of your experiment. let's connect? my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.