Have you ever gnashed your teeth, wondering why we in India cannot get great chocolate? Luscious, dark chocolate, made of real couverture with no compound (vegetable oil), wrapped beautifully. For years, it has been but a dream. Until a couple of bars landed up at my door last Christmas. At first, I assumed it to be an imported brand and sighed gustily. The first bar I sampled had a filling of sangria: full-bodied and red, with undercurrents of ripe berries lurking in its depths. The chocolate was dark and the filling was pulpy with just a hint of tanginess as a counterpoint to the chocolate. Other bars had fillings of sea salt, coffee and biscotti, even white chocolate with mint and tequila. It was not only the chocolate that was easily international class, but the packaging was what caught my eye.
No two bars had the same package and after polishing off the last crumb, I went in search of the people behind the label. I assumed that it would be a large factory full of poker-faced marketing managers, so I was taken aback to find two young ladies who agreed to meet at a café near their production unit in Gurgaon. Kuhu Kochar and Tejasvi Chandela have been friends since school in Jaipur which both ladies call home. Their work is neatly split down the middle: Kuhu is the designer of the packaging and Tejasvi, with a certificate from Cordon Bleu under her belt, makes the chocolate.
First, however, is the brainstorming about the concept behind each bar. Should the chocolate be Belgian? Why not make it milk instead of dark? Or what about using the Madagascar bean, made in that country, rather than in Western Europe? Next comes the filling. At All Things, it’s never just a filling: it’s a whole story where each ingredient is there for a purpose, and is probably not repeated in any other bar. Finally, the packaging: the partners have been known to pore over fabrics for their checks range, design a corporate blue and white pin-stripe complete with a pocket with enough place for a visiting card for the All Things Monday (to lighten up start-of-the-week blues).
A trip to Barcelona was the inspiration for the sangria-filled chocolate; Jaipur (because there simply had to be a bar dedicated to their home city) has a vivid pink packaging with a whisky filling. My favourite cover is the Tropical with its voluptuous colours that call to mind birds of paradise, but the flavour I like best is the Breakfast with its overtones of coffee and biscotti. Each bar costs approximately Rs 350 and can be ordered through the website Theallthingsshop.com or over the phone: 9971154804. All the couverture is imported and the fillings made in-house. Production is tiny and the partners are quite clear that they do not want to morph into a giant brand. What they are happy to do, on the other hand, is to customize a couple of dozen bars for a special occasion. Imagine being able to have not only your own wedding dress but your own chocolate too!