By Hand From The Heart is a Makers Market event in South India. Upcoming Events: 22nd Edition: 2nd – 3rd February '18 , Jenney Residency, Coimbatore. 23rd Edition: February '18 in Chennai.
Founder of Cocoatrait and the Chocolate Tasting Club in Chennai, L Nitin Chordia is India’s first and only certified chocolate taster. Let’s find out more about what it takes to have a career in chocolate and his plans for our makers market this October and more; read on…
A bit about yourself?
L Nitin Chordia is a M.Sc in Retail Management from the University of Surrey, UK and a Retail business consultant/sparring partner by profession and is now India’s 1st and only certified chocolate taster and a curator of the best chocolates from across the world. I have a very relevant Food & Grocery Retail background and have worked closely with Godrej Natures basket in helping them set up their business in Mumbai in 2008.
A career in chocolates; sure sounds very fancy; what it is in reality ; or would you say, that’s exactly how it is.
In the monotony of everyday existence chocolate comes as a holiday. I do enjoy multiple holidays each day! Yes, a career in chocolates sounds fancy. If that is not enough, a career in chocolate tasting attracts a lot more unbelievable responses. In this process I have learnt a thing or two about investments into the right chocolate. This is the experience I share with the chocolate lover. My job is to ensure that the consumer gets to choose the right chocolate bar (or can we say the best bang for the buck) for the amount of money he/she has decided to invest on it.
Do you have a favourite chocolate at the moment? If so, why is it your favourite?
I have observed and personally believe that moods (and context) plays an important role in choosing a chocolate to satisfy a need. To be honest to the career path I have chosen, I am not allowed to have a permanent favourite. Considering the number of chocolates I taste and experiment with, the favourite changes ever too often. At this moment, my favourite is the Ecuadorian Pacari 100% raw chocolate.
Nitin – a better taster, business strategist or tutor.
In reality, I consider myself to be working tirelessly in the education industry (and not the chocolate industry!). The subject happens to be one that I love – fine chocolates. The same can be said of a wine sommelier too. Imagine a teacher teaching the same subject over and over again. That can get stressful very easily so it was important for me to choose the right subject.
Any plans to make your own signature chocolate brand some day – if yes what would it be like.
Clearly no plans to introduce my own chocolate label now or in the future. I believe I am not cut out for it. By background I am a marketer and a hardcore retailer and this is quite the other end of the spectrum (to the art of chocolate making). I find pleasure and my calling is in interactions with end consumers, helping them identify their preferences, choose the right chocolate for their need and tailoring chocolate experiences for chocolate lovers. I work closely with chocolate makers on one side to help them reach their chocolates to chocolate lovers. This leaves me with no time to make my own brand. However, If I ever did introduce a signature chocolate brand it would be a brand that would focus on fragrance as much as flavour! Aromatic chocolates would be my dream chocolate label.
You have been a strong influence in Chennai’s mindset towards chocolate. How has it been with children and the young adults in particular.
I feel that I have not yet touched enough lives and educated enough people about fine chocolates to deserve this appreciation. This is an ongoing effort. The experience with children has been rather predictable. Except for a 9-year-old who came up to me and asked for a 100% dark chocolate! Surprised and inquisitive, I dug deeper to realise that his parents have chosen a unique learning path for him and have renounced city life and live in a small village on a farm and education to him is via “living” the real life! He said, his source of weekly potassium is via dark chocolates. I don’t come across this intellect in children as far as chocolates are concerned very often. Talking about young adults, I feel that they are the best lot to spend time with. They are well read and are open to trying out darker and healthier chocolates. They listen to what I have to say and are always looking at reasons to spend more money. If they do find a reason and are convinced, then you have that share of their wallet quite easily! Needless to say, the spending capacity has increased over the last many years and they are the future of our country.
What’s the new line up at BHFTH
We are focusing on gifting options for the festive season. We shall display 10 different ready-made Gift Baskets. We have various fine chocolates on display which guests can taste and add specific chocolates to their gift basket. We feel that this is not the conventional/traditional way to choose chocolates/products that go into the basket but we would like to promote the “Make your own basket” concept. Guests usually don’t have a choice to taste from 25 different chocolates before popping the ones they like into their gift basket! Also, we would have a small corner on the table where we plan to have conversations and customise chocolates which can be made (with reasonable quantity) on order! We can also work towards customising the labels based on the order. Further, we shall be offering delicious Truffles (for example Masala Chai in Belgian chocolate truffles) and Bon Bons (Mango Passion Fruit for example).
The BHFTH experience so far.
We always believe in Quality over Quantity. In this aspect BHFTH has never dissapointed and it is the right platform for guests to reach out to good quality producers.
At the Makers Market exhibition in Chennai this October, meet the maker!
By Hand From The Heart: MAKERS MARKET – Festival Special – 19th Edition
Date: Friday – Saturday, 7th – 8th October, 2016
Time: 10:00 a.m – 8:00 p.m
Venue: Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park
Address: 132, T.T.K Road, Alwarpet, Chennai – 600018, Tamil Nadu. India