In part one of our conversation with L Nitin Chordia, we learned about Cocoatrait and what he did to become an official chocolate taster and all about his chocolate subscription boxes. In part two, we learn more about Cocoashala, the inspiration behind the subscription box and what it really takes to become a chocolate taster.
Nitin is a true chocolate appreciator and he takes great passion in experiencing everything chocolate has to offer as well as understanding the process that goes into making chocolate. Having travelled Europe to find and uncover different kinds of chocolate, Nitin met a gentleman by the name of Martin Christy at a chocolate museum in Brussels and then months later signed up for classes at the Institute of Chocolate Tasting in England. There, he went through two lessons to learn everything he could about chocolate. The course has three levels that are spread out over a year or two, giving students a complete experience of chocolate. From the tasting to the practical and theory and finally an experience at a farm where they get to grow and process the chocolate as it would be done when actually producing chocolate.
Inspired by this, Nitin has decided to start his very own chocolate school in India with the same three-level course that will give people who are passionate about chocolate an opportunity to learn everything there is about the process and understand what chocolate is all about. “This is a school called Cocoashala, we’re just setting it up, but eventually it’ll be a school. We’ll be teaching those courses here, in collaboration with the Institute of Chocolate Tasting, starting in January,” Nitin told us.
And when asked about the number of students that they’re looking to have per batch, he added, “There’s an upper limit, it’s around 16-17 people, because it involves a lot of individual interaction and one-on-one sessions. It’s not text-book learning, a lot of it is what you learn there from other people. We don’t encourage people doing these lessons back-to-back. The idea is, just like an MBA, you do a few classes and then go home and do some homework and then return. We want people to practice a lot of what they’re learning in the first level, because that is really very important. They should have at least four to five months between levels, to practice and have fun with chocolates. The first two levels can be done in one year, the third level is done at the farm and the gap between the second and third levels should be long enough that you know about chocolates and have spent enough time at other farms to understand the process. At the third level, people will learn actual farming. So it’s all about expertise.”
We talked more about the subscription boxes (which you can order on the website and even use a 20% discount coupon: COCOHUNGRY) and wanted to know what Nitin’s inspiration was behind making a chocolate based box that can be ordered and shipped to anywhere in the country. Plus, it makes for a really interesting Diwali gift if you haven’t ordered one yet! “When you’re out and you spot a really good chocolate bar and you want to share it with your friend in another city, you can’t take the chocolate bar to FedEx because they won’t ship it,” Nitin explained, “So with our subscription boxes, we’re solving two problems that people face. One, gifting to another city. Two, people want to try new chocolates, but they don’t know what to buy. And they want someone who knows about chocolates to help them make the decision. So it becomes a discovery box. A lot of these chocolates can’t be supplied to stores, but if they get the subscription box they don’t have to worry too much or go to a store to buy new chocolates.”
And finally, his wife, Poonam is the chocolate maker. She even has her own line of chocolates known as Enchante. There are eight flavours that are paired with your moods. So with names like Flirty, Mesmerized, Nostalgia and Addicted (to name a few), these flavours are something interesting to try. “The basic idea is that in this mood, what is the chocolate you’d want to have?” Poonam asks.
Make sure you visit Nitin’s Chocolate Tasting Club of Chennai to attend his talks and sessions about chocolate appreciation and also to get more information about what Cocoatrait is doing in Chennai. Also, remember to get your hands on the Chocolate Subscription Box because it’s definitely one of a kind and he ships anywhere in the country. If you order before October 31st, you can avail of a 20% discount on the regular 1 month subscription box by using the coupon: COCOHUNGRY.