India loves chocolate! And in the last few years, tapping into this love are artisanal chocolate makers across the country. Many of these brands follow the bean-to-bar philosophy sourcing homegrown cacao from the southern states of Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. What is even more exciting are the flavour combinations these chocolatiers are experimenting with. While the classic dark and milk chocolates continue to be bestsellers, there are some fascinating flavours as well—ones that celebrate indigenous produce and quintessential Indian flavours.
Here are 12 desi flavoured chocolates that will blow your mind:
1. Kocoatrait Dark Milk Chocolate Sarkarai Pongal
Part of Kocoatrait’s Madras Collection is their Sarkarai Pongal flavoured chocolate. Sakkarai Pongal is a sweet porridge-like dessert offered to Gods on festivals and special occasions. Taming the strong flavours of cardamom and jaggery is a feat and Kocoatrait does it by using 46 per cent dark milk chocolate and non-refined (khandsari) cane sugar.
2. Paul and Mike Milk Chocolate with Indian Style Thandai
Who does not like a tall and chilled glass of thandai on a summer’s day? The folks at Paul and Mike have taken the classic flavour a notch higher by infusing it with 41per cent fine milk chocolate. Thandai with its rich nuts, dry fruits and spices makes it the perfect partner-in-crime to chocolate and that is exactly what you get from this chocolate bar!
3. Mason & Co Chilli & Cinnamon Dark Chocolate Bar
It may not be an exotic flavour combination but an extremely successful one. Chocolate with chilli and cinnamon, what is there not to like about it? Mason & Co Chilli & Cinnamon Dark Chocolate Bar has made it to this list simple because of the quality of the chocolate bar and because both the primary flavours and the chocolate are organic and locally sourced. It is the perfect example of great Indian produce.
4. Kocoatrait Dark Chocolate Mor Miligai
Chilli is an exciting flavour for Indian artisanal chocolate makers. Take for instance the Mor Miligai by Kocoatrait. The chocolate bar is made 70 per cent dark chocolate flavoured with curd marinated in sun-dried green chillis—a staple in Tamil Nadu—and sweetened with unrefined cane sugar. We’re already salivating.
5. Naviluna ‘Almost Dark’ Longum Pepper Lime and Orange
Long pepper or pippali is the highlight of this chocolate bar. Part of the Almost Dark series by Mysore-based chocolaterie, Naviluna. Indigenous to India, long pepper is sharper than it’s sibling, black pepper, but has woody notes too. This when combined with refreshing Gondhoraj limes and candied orange, and into dark chocolate, expect an explosion of flavours on your palate.
6. All Things Monsoon Milk Chocolate with Chai and Biscuit
Milk chocolate, masala chai and elaichi biscuit, this is the heart of All Things Chocolate’s Chai Biscuit chocolate bar. The flavour is part of the Jaipur-based chocolate brand’s All Things Monsoon range, created to evoke nostalgia and comfort you with familiar flavours in a new avatar.
7. Hill Wild Black Rice Chocolate
From the distant land of Manipur comes Hill Wild chocolates. The founders, Leiyolan Vashum and Zeinorin Angkang, are trying to spotlight the indigenous ingredients of Manipur by incorporating them in chocolate. Hill Wild Black Rice chocolate does just that by through processed black rice turned into pellets and added to chocolate to give a crunchy feel—think of it as an Indian and better version of Crackle.
8. Soklet Desi Rabdi
How do you combine the peculiar flavours of a rich rabdi into a bar of chocolate? The folks at Soklet have figured it out—they use toasted milk chocolate, pistachio and saffron. The cacao for Soklet’s chocolates comes from their own plantation, Regal Plantation, at the foothills of the Annamalai, close to the Indira Gandhi wildlife sanctuary in Tamil Nadu.
9. Paul and Mike Mild Dark Jamun Vegan Chocolate
Jamun season in India is a blink and miss affair. The purple, sweet and astringent berries are what many childhood memories are made of and to help you reminisce those, is Paul and Mike’s Jamun chocolate bar. The mild dark chocolate bar is generously sprinkled with freeze-dried jamuns bits. Isn’t that a simple yet genius idea?
10. Naviluna Tokai Coffee & Pineapple Chocolate Bar
If this flavour combination is bringing up the pineapple pizza debate, rest assured the Naviluna chocolate bar will only get a resoundingly positive response. The chocolatiers tied up with one of India’s distinguished coffee roasters, Blue Tokai, to create a chocolate that was more than just a bar of coffee-flavoured chocolate. The Tokai Coffee & Pineapple Chocolate Bar uses the roastery’s expertise to elevate the coffee and cacao flavours and marry them with tangy pineapple and fresh vanilla.
11. La Folie Green Mango and Naga Chilli
Nostalgia is the foundation for some of our strongest food memories. Mouth-puckering raw mangoes sprinkled with chilli powder is what defines the beginning of summer in India. To encapsulate the flavour and memories, La Folie, has a green mango flavoured chocolate that has the added kick of the legendary Naga chilli.
12. Pascati Mango
We may love mangoes, but it is not an easy flavour to work with especially with chocolate. But Palghar-based Pascati artisan chocolates will prove you wrong. They use 60 per cent single origin dark chocolate for the base that is generously fused with freeze-dried Alphonso and Totapuri mangoes sourced from Kerala and Gujarat.