Kerala’s new chocolate-maker uses single-origin bean for their dark chocolate bars
India’s boasts about its heritage port towns have a downside—high-grade products shipped to distant lands. Growing beyond the colonial hangover and the advertisement-driven market of the late 20th century, our countrymen are now diligent consumers who yearn for quality.
Turning their home ground in the foothills of the Western Ghats—a cocoa-sourcing centre for bigwigs like Cadbury—into a geographical advantage, Kothamangalam-based Tastree Foods has crafted dark chocolate products to cater to connoisseurs who want to break free from the sugar-loaded options.
“We hail from agricultural families and cocoa was a chief source of income during our childhood. When my cousin, Eldhose Alias, and his wife, Elza Baby, pitched the idea of bringing out quality products from locally-sourced bean last year, I jumped in,” says Jameson C J.
The early batches from the nascent brand include cocoa butter, powder, and 70 per cent dark bars in six distinct flavours including rock salt and hazelnut. “We are trying some native natural flavouring like black sesame, sourced from local farms, and sulphur-free raisins, from Nasik where I used to work,” says Elza.
The most attractive hyper-local connect, however, is that their beans are single origin. “Factors like the time of plucking, rainfall, and location of farms change the flavour of chocolate. So, we have an agent who collects the bean from farmers,” informs the electronics engineer-turned-entrepreneur.
After taking inputs from Cocoa Research Centre, Thrissur, the trio put to use Jameson’s mechanical training to self-design processing machines. Taking people’s feedback, the brand is set to launch 80 per cent dark chocolates and also experiment with Kerala spices like cardamom for flavouring.
Available on tastree.in and in outlets like Pandhal and Afters.