When Chocolate Runs In The Family
With a chef for a mother, an MBA degree, and an intuitiveness when it comes to chocolate, wouldn’t you consider going pro? That’s the logic behind Choc Le.
Young, ambitious and pleasantly gracious, Rupali Samat of Choc Le met up with us for a tete a tete over chocolates. Both of Rupali’s parents have done a course with Barry Callebaut in India and though Rupali didn’t pursue culinary school, her business background allows her to bring marketing and strategy skills to the brand. Rupali grew up eating chocolates that were homemade and regaled only in their immediate circle and vicinity. She realized that the market wanted global quality, so she and her parents built a factory, with a capacity that stands at 1 tonne per day. Youth has penchant for foresight so this facility was built with a vision of 10 years hence. Today they also have desserts and are competitive suppliers to the F&B industry. Choc Le desserts are delivered as far as Pune and the brand has pioneered in cracking the delivery model with globally certified processes. Their R&D Team liaises with over 40 Chefs and the laboratory contributes to creating unique chocolates like open chocolates and flavours that include Gondhoraj and Pista and Masala Chai. Looking ahead, Choc Le aspires to forge a deeper relationship within the B2B market and experiment with fusion desserts. Expect pan Asian desserts with matcha and lemongrass and nouvelle desserts like Rasgulla Cheesecake on the anvil.
Parul Pratap Shirazi: How did chocolates happen for you?
Rupali Samat: Chocolates have been part of my life since the very early years; it’s something everyone in the family relishes. This sinful indulgence was lurking somewhere as my mum delved into it, whereas I moved on to do my masters and take up a job in the professional world. However, few years into my stint, realization surfaced for the need to build a ‘chocolate’ business professionally. So I pursued my real calling – ‘Choc Le’.
PPS: Custom made gourmet chocolates are very popular, but what differentiates Choc Le?
RS: Established only few years ago, Choc Le today stands with a brilliant team that actually comes with a combined expertise of 3 decades, one of the largest per day capacity to produce desserts (250 kgs) and chocolates (800 kgs), work closely with the Café & Restaurant industry (attending to a countrywide requirement) and has established a robust packaging and delivery model for the company.
Although Choc Le has been synonymous to chocolates and its varied flavors, the brand also offers a huge portfolio of desserts, from the classic cheese cakes, apple pies to velvet spray mousse that gets supplied in ala carte and buffet formats.
What also sets us apart is the robust R&D team, which is constantly working to play with the consumers palates by introducing new flavors. To cater to a larger audience, our product range across chocolates and desserts is pure vegetarian.
PPS: How do you bring dynamism to the brand?
RS: The key to brand growth is enhancing what’s at hand by the best in order to deliver what’s unique. This has been our mantra at Choc Le and we believe that presenting a branded product line is the right foot in the door. A professional set up with the capacity & team talent, differentiates our brand further in an industry that is highly fragmented. For our desserts, the first-mover advantage has been to stick to the B2B delivery model of catering to hotels and restaurants, which in a way is again a strategic step to stay niche in approach.
PPS: Have you made compromises to suit the palate of your audience?
RS: With ever-evolving, well-traveled and well-read consumers, it’s critical to keep reinventing the product portfolio. This has been the key for us to often innovate and combine unexpected flavours together, or maybe simply offer something that’s long-forgotten. Chocolates with nuts, is something that goes beautifully across all seasons. Consumers relish our almond pralines, which is caramel tossed with almonds. We have also experimented soft fill chocolates like Cookie Dough, Salty Caramel and Chilly that surprisingly this year are our best selling products in corporate companies.
PPS: Which is that one Choc Le product that people keep coming back for?
RS: At Choc Le, we have experienced return / repeat customers owing to the complete product range. So, Choc Le offers a wide variety in chocolates and its flavours, as well as a complete range of desserts. With respect to chocolates, pralines, soft fills with flavours or nuts have been a definite pick by one and all. With respect to desserts, our dark coffee mousse, orange zest mousse, caramel almond flakes cake and authentic cheese cakes with berry sauces are great hits.
PPS: What’s next for Choc Le?
RS: We intend to enhance our product portfolio so as to extend absolute support to chefs, who are looking for products to mark their quality service. The new product line will allow chefs to innovate extensively and introduce new additions to the menu at minimal cost.