Manufacturers are now luring their patrons with chocolates in geometric shapes, animal figurines coloured in metallic hues and glitter. For the more adventurous, there are also chocolates with pan-supari, cardamom flavours and liqueur filling.
If you thought chocolates are only meant for kids, think again. From festive occasions to personal celebrations to corporate gifting, made-to-order chocolates are most sought after. And we are not talking about the boring old rectangular slabs of cocoa. Manufacturers are now luring their patrons with chocolates in geometric shapes, animal figurines coloured in metallic hues and glitter. For the more adventurous, there are also chocolates with pan-supari, cardamom flavours and liqueur filling.
“Traditionally, people exchange 'mithai' on festivals, but now they're looking for alternatives. With the rise in disposable incomes, people do not mind spending on designer chocolates,” says Nidhi Bhageria, chief of Celeste Chocolates, a Delhi-based chocolate maker. Most of these chocolates cost between Rs 500 and Rs 2,500 per kg. Agrees Sanjeev Obhrai, owner of the Chocolate Boutique, which caters to corporate clients for festive occasions, product launches, new employee joinings and management training programmes. From logos to company names being embossed in chocolates of different shapes and colours, these are all in demand.
While nut-based praline chocolates are the perennial favourites, customers are constantly demanding newer flavours. So we have tamarind and chilli chocolates, and champagne and Jamaican rum truffles. Among the older and the health-conscious choco-lovers, the high fibre, low fat and sugar ones are quite popular. Apart from the festive season, weddings and baby announcements also see heavy offtake of these premium sweet delicacies. Personalised messaging on chocolates is extremely popular among youngsters.
Harsh Gokal, director of Patchi India,, says: “We offer an extensive range of Baby Patchi chocolates that are beautifully wrapped in pinks and blues and embellished with decorations like baby bottles, satin ribbons, silk flowers, bibs and bows. These chocolates are then beautifully arranged in cradles and cane baskets and decorated with adorable soft toys to add a special touch.”
According to Nikita Kohli of Blooming Emotions, an event management company, “Emphasis is as much on packaging as of the product itself, with imported mesh, gold foils and brocade, lace and satin-draped boxes being in heavy demand.” “Although the market for boutique chocolates is small, it is already eating into the share of the mass-market brands,” says Zeba Kohli, managing director of Good Housekeeping Company, which manufactures Fantasie Fine chocolates.
In Indian confectionery, chocolates make up a 22,500-tonne market valued at Rs 400 crore per annum. Delhi itself will soon see a host of new chocolate retail outlets. Vasudha Munjal, of the Hero Honda group, is setting up a chocolate cafe next month. Patchi intends to open its outlet in the capital early next year.