Variety

Choco trysts

Kavitha Srinivasa | Updated on February 10, 2011 Published on February 10, 2011

A valentines day boquet displayed at Chocolate Junction shop in Bangalore on Wednesday. Photo: G.R.N. Somashekar.   -  Business Line

Chocolate maker at Chocolate Junction in Bangalore. Sampath Kumar G.P.   -  The Hindu

Anupama and Amarnath , owners of Chocolate Junction in Bangalore. Photo: Sampath Kumar G.P/G.R. Somashekar   -  The Hindu

It's a labour of love… and Valentines demand, for this chocolatier couple.

Two a.m. may not be the ideal time to receive a call, but chocolatier couple Anupama and Amarnath have taken a client request at that unearthly hour. A 20-something fought with his girlfriend and had time till 8 a.m. to make up. The chocolatiers helped him on with a slab of rich, creamy brown chocolate etched with ‘sorry' on it. The choco-charm, believed by many to be imbued with aphrodisiac powers, did work, and there is a gentle glow of satisfaction as the chocolatiers recall this romantic interlude that happened six years ago.

Such anecdotes are part of the success tasted by Bangalore-based Chocolate Junction over the past 13 years. “This Valentine's, along with our regular orders for chocolate bouquets, we want to market our sugar-free dark chocolate, Enlight,” says Amarnath.



Love is all around us

With Valentine's Day round the corner, there's an indulgent air at Chocolate Junction. Youngsters who like to speak out their heart can say it with printed messages on chocolates. The store is also making luscious chocolate photo frames. “People bring their photographs, which we scan and print directly on to the chocolate. It's a keepsake,” says Amarnath.

When it comes to gift-giving, the gift-wrapping assumes an importance of its own, so Chocolate Junction has a specialist for the packaging. This has helped cut costs besides offering a personalised service. In the coming months, they will add candles (both scented and chocolate variants) to their offerings.

Anupama and Amarnath have created 170-odd varieties of chocolates and make a profit of 20-30 per cent. Some of their creations have exotic cream fillings with fondants embellished with gold powder. Other unusual creations include a milk chocolate with lemon rind and coriander seeds ( dhaniya). Some of the confectionery is also flavoured with chilli, basil and cinnamon. Many of their ideas for these offbeat choco-creations have come from the birthday parties, Christmas and Easter parties, and the corporate gift orders they cater to.

Wine chocolates

Another area of interest at Chocolate Junction is its chocolate-wine pairing, with Shiraz in particular. “To enhance the intrinsic value of grapes, we experimented with concoctions which were fruity, nutty and spicy, before selecting five combinations,” says Amarnath. White chocolate with pineapple and peaches is paired with Chenin Blanc, while regular chocolate with blueberries, raspberries and chilli in marzipan goes well with Shiraz. Zinfandel is served with luscious cherries and pomegranate, topped with chocolate.

By accident

Like many enterprises, this one too happened by accident. Anupama began by making chocolates for Amarnath, a die-hard chocolate fan. After a few attempts and with encouragement from friends, the couple realised its calling, and went on to set up Chocolate Junction. Jos Dec Otter, a third-generation baker from Holland, was roped in as their technical collaborator.

Now, chocolates are a way of life for the couple, which produces 150 kg every day. A team of eight women handcraft the confectionery, which are sold under four catergories — Chocolate Junction, Enlight, Loud Whispers (chocolate printing) and My Fudge Club (chocolate sauces).

Last year, they even made customised chocolates for the Commonwealth Games under the brand ‘Delhicious.'

Chocolate Junction now plans to expand to other metros, besides opening franchises in Bangalore.

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Published on February 10, 2011
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