Good news for chocolate lovers and enthusiasts in the country's capital! Now you can gear up to know more about COLOCAL.
Sheetal Saxena, the co-founder of COLOCAL.
Who doesn’t love to indulge in delicious chocolates to warm up the senses during winters? Good news for chocolate lovers and enthusiasts in the country’s capital! Now you can gear up to know more about COLOCAL. A first-of-its-kind unique artisanal chocolate brand that strives to redefine Delhi’s chocolate indulgence experience, its tempting offerings are varied and plenty.
Meet Sheetal Saxena, the co-founder of COLOCAL. A former illustrious banker by profession, Sheetal Saxena strives to create a deep-seated impact in the chocolate industry by educating people about the craft chocolateintricacies, giving the farmers their fair prices, and helping fuel the cacao community. More importantly, with COLOCAL, she holds forth her vision and passion to put the Indian cacao on the world map.
In conversation with The Financial Express Online’s Swapna Raghu Sanand, Sheetal Saxena explains what it means to be setting the benchmarks of excellence with delicious chocolate indulgence. For instance, she diligently points out how the term ‘craft chocolate’ is very often used interchangeably with the term bean-to-bar.
The dynamic chocolate maker further explains, “A craft chocolate maker is somebody who is involved in end to end processing from sourcing of beans to supervising the fermentation and taking the whole bean to our process. Craft chocolate is usually expensive because we make chocolates in small batches, also because the quality of the bean is high and the unit cost more.”
Tell us about the story behind COLOCAL – the passion and the vision that led to it and what it stands for today.
Colocal started with an inquisitiveness to know about the craft chocolate world and that led us to follow the path. Before opening, we have been researching on this project for one and a half year with Indian Cacao and our aim is to make the “Finest Baking chocolates of India from Indian Origin Cacao” to strengthen the B2B market in terms of baking chocolate and also make people taste the real chocolate in the craft chocolate world.
Additionally, we want to go beyond making hot chocolates and experiment in the cacao drinking space.
Can you elaborate on your target audience and growth plans for the coming year?
Our target audience is everyone who loves chocolate, who is open to experiment, people who love to adapt new taste and flavour, anybody who wants to understand how the craft chocolate world works. As far as our expansion plans are concerned, we would want to get into the B 2 B segment where we want to make the best baking chocolate from Indian Cacao beans that one can make for their desserts.
Are Delhiites more prone to coffee and chocolate indulgence? Share some funny/quirky examples if you have had some interesting experiences.
We are too new to have such experiences but yes, the people who have been walking in, they really appreciate our coffee and chocolate. We are witnessing a lot of inquisitiveness about knowing the brand. We are happy to answer their questions and explain them about the bean to bar experience. Probably down the line, we’ll have more funny experiences but for now, we are quite happy with the way people are responding.
What exactly do we mean by craft chocolate and how do you go about creating it with benchmarks of excellence?
Talking about the benchmarks, we are trying to follow all the processing that goes into craft chocolate making. We have introduced roasting, which is step one and we roast beans in a customised roaster. The temperature of cacao beans is different from coffee beans hence the roaster has to be modified according to the temperature for the lower drums speed. We are making sure that our roast is even and we are able to enhance the flavours into the profile that we want to achieve.
Apart from that, we are taking control of the acidity of the chocolate part.
We are trying to remove acidity in terms of percentage and be able to play with it and understand what is the percentage we want to do. We have total control on acidity and we can play as to how we like the taste of it. So, we are the first one to do conching. Every chocolate we produce, we see the macron size should fall between 15-25 and if it is above that then it means it is too grainy for our level. We have a device to monitor this which enables us to make sure our chocolate falls under macron size and we can mould it anytime.
Are there any new processes/innovations you are looking at?
We are truly artisans and at Colocal, we have a start to finish control. We are very particular about the chocolates we are able to make and wish to present it to the world. We source high quality cacao beans from our partner estates and have end to end control on the quality.
We are happy that people are loving our chocolate bars while enjoying the whole bean to bar process that we have crafted out for them. So, that’s really fulfilling for us.
Yes, we have included two new processes in the bean to bar making.
First being the giesen roaster which is a customised roaster for roasting our cacao beans and second is the conching machine which helps us in taking control over the acidity in our chocolates so we can bring out the notes in our single origin chocolates.
We are experimenting with cacao drinks a lot, our most favourite being Cacao cold brew and Cacao Sangria.
For scaling up, we haven’t thought much about it.
Right now, we want to focus on our quality, make consistent and good baking chocolate for the market and also come up with just the single origins. The reason behind why we want to come up with single origins is that we want people to be able to taste notes in our chocolate.
Talking about expansion, we have our future plans of getting into the B2B market but we’ll see how things roll out for us and what Delhi has to offer in terms of future plans.