Whoever thought mango, lassi, palm sugar and dark chocolate would bring in medals, but they did for Arun Viswanathan at the International Chocolate Awards
It was in 2014 that a young Arun Viswanathan SK came to the office in Coimbatore to tell us about his chocolate venture, Ganache for Da Chocoholics. It has been four years, and now Arun is 29 years old, and the winner of two bronze medals at the International Chocolate Awards (Asia Pacific) that was held in Taiwan last month. This is an annual affair that happens across the world and the top three contestants from each category and region move to the world finals (to be held in Italy).
His creations that took the honours were Mango Lassi Milk Chocolate (in the category ‘Milk chocolate with Infusions’) and the 70% Palm Sugar Dark Chocolate (‘Dark chocolate made with alternative natural sugar’ category).
“Yoghurt and chocolate combinations have been popular for a few years. I picked mango and lassi as they are instantly identifiable as Indian flavours and have not been tried before,” he explains.
The tartness of the mango and yoghurt comes through and so does the subtle sweetness of the palm sugar.
“There are no artificial stabilisers, preservatives or flavourings in the chocolates. Neither do they have vegetable fat. It is all cocoa butter,” assures Arun.
The two chocolates are from his Chitra’m range (named after his mother who passed away). “I came up with the name and concept in November 2017 and it was only in May 2018 that they were launched. Each set of chocolates took three days of trial,” says Arun. The beans are sourced from Kerala. An Indian couple making chocolate grinders in Atlanta provide him with technological support.
Arun still sounds surprised at his chocolates winning the international award. “I am one of the smallest players in the chocolate industry in India. I didn’t expect to be taken seriously, more so when they know that I come from a tier-two city in South India.”
Even now, he works with a small team of six. Arun has done a dual Masters in Food Science and Technology from Cornell and then was an intern in Belgium with the famous Dominique Persoone of The Chocolate Line, where he was certified a chocolatier. He is now on to a PhD in Agri Business Management, specialising in Cocoa and Marketing.
“I am a small fish looking to grow,” says Arun, who also runs a chocolate café in Coimbatore. “I am looking for franchisees for my café and working with restaurateurs across the country.”
Chitra’m Artisanal chocolates Top-of-the-line, ‘Bean-to-bar’ luxury chocolates in six varieties. They include Mango Lassi Milk Chocolate, 70% Dark Chocolate with Palm Sugar, Ragi and Coconut Milk, Turmeric and Black Pepper, Raw Mango and Green Chilli Dark Chocolate, Moringa and Lemon White Chocolate. (Approximately ₹250 for a bar of 45 gms). There are the ‘Beans to Bonbons’ that come in packs of ₹300, ₹600 and ₹1,200.
Ganache For the Corporate Gifting Segment, priced between ₹300 and ₹800. These are available in festive Diwali packaging, and while they are readily available, a notice of three to four days would be ideal. There is a 10%discount on Corporate Orders till October 1.
Infusions Café The café and chocolate shop. Besides the chocolates, the café serves pizzas, sandwiches, pickled dips, etc. It wants to be known for its cocoa cuisine as well, where cocoa is used in savoury dishes. The café offers as many as 25 variants of hot chocolate (Mexican, with spices, caramel, Vegan, hot chocolate with edible gold, frozen hot chocolate…
Signature desserts at the café include Sinful Indulgence (a combo of hot chocolate, floating brownie, ice cream, chocolate sauce, nuts and cocoa nib cookie served in a copper mug); High on Anandamide (the word has its origins in Sanskrit), hot chocolate sphere with mud cake and ice cream, with hot chocolate poured on… Desserts are available from ₹70 to ₹450 (the high-end one being a dessert that is a combination of several decadent desserts).
Filter coffee that comes in small, medium and large priced at ₹29, ₹49 and ₹79 respectively.
Cafe Infusions is at No 7, Sathyamoorthy Road, Ramnagar. Call 9994126708/9843806006. Email email@example.com or visit chitramcraftchocolates.com
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