At a recent fine chocolate appreciation session which Cocoatrait hosted at the “By Hand from the Heart” Makers Market in Chennai, I was explaining the concept of Raw chocolates when I mentioned that even doctors do not understand the difference and that they really mean raw chocolates when they Rx 30gms of dark chocolates each day to their patients. Little did I realise that there was a reputed doctor among the audience (someone who i knew!). But instead of feeling offended, he agreed to my statement! Shockingly, he added that he had some of his patients come up to him and say that they eat a bar of commercial milk chocolates almost everyday assuming that they are good for their health! I am not going to debate about the reason for this consumer ignorance because, for the record, the purpose of hosting the World’s largest fine chocolate tasting table at the same event was exactly to address this issue.
At the table, Cocoatrait curated the creations of 7 different chocolate artisans from across the country and Marou from Vietnam. With a total of 8 artisans and 40+ chocolates on the table to taste, this promised to not only set new records of various sorts but also serve as an engagement and education tool. The table featured various artisanal chocolates including: Single origin, Bean to Bar, Raw, Vegan, Gluten Free, Blended, Natural Flavour and added natural flavour chocolates. We did feature some milk chocolates to demonstrate diversity in chocolates but we intentionally did not feature any whites.
The audience did not guess what they were in for! The typical reaction on seeing the table at first sight was of curiosity. After which they checked if we can really taste all the chocolates on the table? Our reply was an emphatic “yes”. A typical conversation starter was an introduction of the various artisans who made up this table, their home location, their motivations and also their chocolate making philosophy. Each of the 2000+ guests at the table were free to sample/taste any number and amounts of chocolate. Most of them did not believe what they saw and we could hear comments that this is the most elaborate chocolate tasting table that they have come across so far! An average conversation with an “amazed” chocolate lover would last between 2-3 minutes. For the record again, we sampled over 8 kgs of fine chocolates at the table! What makes this effort very satisfactory was that it helped people discover flavours with chocolates that they like and more importantly what they do not like.
Some guests at the desk knew certain brands and went straight to check if there was anything new in the offering from that known brand. The idea for us, however, was to also introduce them to the brands which they have not experienced before. We requested that guests taste each chocolate on the table and insisted that they taste something that they have never tasted before. We explained the impact of sugar, texture, process and ingredients on the taste profile of each variety of chocolates and this education along with generous tastings helped them in making their choices. This was chocolate education at its best and in the best possible setting!
When we asked “what kind of chocolates do you like?” most of the answers were either “Dark” or “Milk”. We then asked them if they like fruits in their chocolates, or nuts or other flavours like mint/coffee or perhaps salt? Thats when the conversations got more interesting and most guests opened up to the idea of tasting these different treats. Guests had specific preferences and liked the mint from one brand more than the mint from another. They liked the texture of one brand vs the other and the after taste and the packaging. The comments that followed after tasting were even more interesting. Most said they now know what they like and they never imagined that they can see and taste so many chocolates together! The table looked very beautiful due the packaging of each of the chocolate bars. “Pretty” said some guests, “Impressive” said a few others but most agreed that these artisans have put in as much effort as in making their chocolates into designing their packaging. A few selfies taken by our guests with the Cocoatrait chocolate table at the background made our day!
For Cocoatrait, it is a pleasure to continue to work closely with these chocolate artisans. Many chocolates were made specifically for this table! We feel fortunate and blessed that we are able to take their work to chocolate lovers in india and across the world. We learnt that collaboration, partnerships and coming together of all the right forces help to deliver the best consumer experience. In an industry where we are perceived to be competing against the large chocolate brands, artisanal chocolate makers have been projected in the right light and the end consumer connect has enabled the retail channel to stand up and appreciate the capabilities of these makers. While Cocoatrait constantly strives to deliver this experience to the chocolate lover, eventually, what this table does for the brand is that it increases familiarity with the consumer. For the consumer, it makes the buying decision easier. At Cocoatrait, we were happy to hear that “this was the best possible chocolate tasting experience ever!” The facebook live link to the event is as follows: https://www.facebook.com/Chocolatetastingclub/videos/vb.1380186605544493/1812079112355238/
The artisans that we featured:
We are now working on delivering our 1st Cocoatrait fine subscription box later today! More at: http://cocoatrait.com/product-category/shop/cocoatrait-subscription-box/