Best Dark Chocolate Brands in India 2024 – Dark chocolate has become increasingly popular in India over the past few years. With its rich, intense flavor and potential health benefits, more and more consumers are reaching for dark chocolate over milk chocolate. This surge in demand has led to many premium chocolate brands launching specialized dark chocolate products to cater to discerning Indian taste buds.
7 Best Dark Chocolate Brands in India 2024
Table of Contents
In this comprehensive guide, we explore the 10 best dark chocolate brands available in India, delving into what makes them stand out. We evaluate factors like cocoa percentage, taste profile, sourcing, certifications, and pricing to provide chocolate lovers with an authoritative overview of the finest Indian dark chocolate options today.
An Overview of Dark Chocolate
Before diving into the top brands, let’s first understand what makes dark chocolate stand apart.
Dark chocolate contains a higher percentage of cocoa solids and cocoa butter compared to milk chocolate. It typically contains little to no added milk solids. The higher cocoa content is what gives it the intense chocolatey flavor, bitterness, and potential health benefits.
The cocoa percentage indicates how much of the chocolate is derived from cocoa beans. The higher the percentage, the more pronounced the dark chocolate taste profile. Most dark chocolate has a minimum cocoa percentage of 60%, while premium varieties can go up to 80% or 90%.
According to renowned chocolate expert Clay Gordon, the ideal cocoa percentage for dark chocolate is between 60-75%. This provides the perfect balance between intense cocoa flavors and pleasant sweetness.
Now let’s explore the factors that distinguish exceptional dark chocolate:
Single-Origin vs Blends
Premium dark chocolate increasingly emphasizes single-origin over blends. Single-origin means the cocoa beans are sourced from one particular region or plantation. This allows the natural flavor profile of those particular beans to shine through. For instance, beans from Venezuela taste vastly different from those in Ghana.
Blends combine cocoa beans from multiple regions. The aim is to balance out flavors and achieve consistency. However, single-origin highlights the nuances of specific cocoa bean varieties.
Bean Quality & Processing
Higher quality, properly fermented and dried beans result in better tasting chocolate. Careful processing like stone grinding (as opposed to mass grinding) also preserves the complex flavors of the beans.
Brands focused on quality bean sourcing and meticulous processing produce chocolate with amplified, yet smooth flavors.
Certifications for Sustainability
Many brands highlighted in this article carry certifications like Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance which indicate their commitment to ethical, sustainable practices.
- Fair prices for farmers
- No child or forced labor
- Environmentally friendly farming
- Safe working conditions
- Investments in community development
Such certifications are not mandatory, but the best dark chocolate brands prioritize sustainable, ethical sourcing.
Creative Flavor Profiles
While traditional dark chocolate has a basic cocoa flavor profile, many brands now offer innovative flavors by adding spices, nuts, flowers, fruits, teas, coffee, and more. These blended flavors allow chocolate makers to provide unique tasting experiences.
However, for dark chocolate purists, a simple high-quality cocoa flavor is ideal to enjoy the nuances.
Now that we’ve covered the key factors that define exceptional dark chocolate, let’s look at the 10 best brands in India today.
Cocoa Percentage: 64% to 75%
Key Features: Single-origin, specialty small batch chocolate
Price Range: ₹200 – ₹700 per bar
Pascati is a Mumbai-based craft chocolate brand founded in 2013 by chef Devansh Ashar. Their bean-to-bar chocolate stays true to single-origin cocoa from regions like Ghana, Madagascar, and Bolivia.
The lack of blending allows distinctive flavors to come through. For instance, the Manabi 64% bar from Ecuador has fruity, citrusy notes while the Tanzania 75% bar has strong roasted coffee undertones. Their high-quality processing enhances these flavor nuances.
Pascati’s unique India-inspired flavored bars like Bengali Cinnamon and Hyderabadi Coffee make it one of the most creative dark chocolate brands in the country.
They carry certifications like Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, and UTZ to ensure ethical, responsible sourcing. Their premium pricing reflects the quality of their small batch chocolates. For dark chocolate connoisseurs, Pascati is a must-try brand.
Cocoa Percentage: 64% to 85%
Key Features: Bean-to-bar, specialty dark chocolate with global influences
Price Range: ₹300 – ₹600 per bar
Launched in 2013, Soklet brought India its first bean-to-bar chocolate experience with cocoa sourced directly from farmers in Kerala. Their single-origin India Origin bars highlight the diversity of Indian cocoa.
Founder Clinton McDougall brings his international artisanal chocolate-making skills to the brand. Soklet bars like Madagascar 85% show his prowess at balancing high cocoa intensity with aromatic flavors.
Their limited edition oblivion bars dial the cocoa percentage up to 100% for the ultimate dark chocolate rush. Soklet also tempers with ingredients like coffee, green tea, and spices to yield unique flavor fusions.
With quality processing and sustainable practices, Soklet creates dark chocolate that excites the palate. The brand has won several Great Taste and Academy of Chocolate awards, validating its outstanding gourmet creations.
3. Mason & Co.
Cocoa Percentage: 72% to 100%
Key Features: Bold, minimally sweetened chocolate focused on cocoa purity
Price Range: ₹550 – ₹850 per bar
Founded in 2014 in Auroville, Mason & Co. produces dark chocolate reminiscent of the early, unadulterated chocolate preparations in Europe. Their bars with 72%, 85%, 90% and 100% cocoa contain no added flavors or inclusions.
The emphasis is on celebrating the complexity of quality cocoa. Beans are sourced directly from heirloom plantations across India, Vietnam, and Fiji. The chocolate has bold, slightly bitter notes balanced by subtle sweetness.
Mason & Co. adopts an ethical approach by sourcing cocoa directly from farmers and paying Fairtrade recommended prices. Their strikingly packaged bars appeal to dark chocolate aficionados seeking intense cocoa flavor.
Cocoa Percentage: 70% to 100%
Key Features: Large variety of single-origin Indian bars
Price Range: ₹275 – ₹600 per bar
Chennai-based Kocoatrait is on a mission to place India on the global chocolate map. They source cocoa exclusively from 9 different states across India and create both single-origin and blended bars.
Their 70% dark chocolate showcase the fruiter, lighter notes of South Indian cocoa compared to the more roasted North East Indian varieties. Along with their flagshipars, they offer chocolate ranging from 100% unsweetened to white chocolate.
Kocoatrait follows ethical trade practices that help uplift Indian cocoa farmers. Competitively priced, their bars make great gifts for chocolate lovers to experience India’s regional cocoa diversity.
Cocoa Percentage: 72% and above
Key Features: Wide variety of premium flavored dark chocolate
Price Range: ₹325 – ₹800 per bar
Mumbai-based Naviluna brings together chocolate heritage from Belgium and tropical spice expertise from India. Founder and Chef Kapil Sekhri honed his skills at the Callebaut chocolate academy in Belgium.
His premium chocolate brand launched in 2018 pays meticulous attention to sourcing quality Ecuadorian cocoa nibs and customizing the grinding and refining process. Their 72% dark chocolate strikes a nice balance between cocoa intensity and natural sweetness.
Naviluna offers an assortment of enrobed, nutty, spice infused bars. Their Chilli 70% dark chocolate incorporates notes of cinnamon and chilli for a spicy kick. The creative flavor combinations are perfect for adventurous chocolate lovers.
Cocoa Percentage: 70% to 85%
Key Features: Elegant packaging and silky smooth chocolate
Price Range: ₹275 – ₹700 per bar
Founded in 2016, Smoor crafts European-style couverture chocolate blended with Indian flavors. Their bars have a smooth, velvety texture attained through cocoa sourced from Africa and South America.
The 70% cocoa Laleli Dark balances rich cocoa with flavors like roasted nuts and dried fruit. Those who enjoy intensity can opt for their 85% dark bar for a powerful cocoa hit.
Smoor incorporates local ingredients like cinnamon, green cardamom, cloves, and vanilla for bars like Masala 60% dark. Their beautifully packaged chocolate make for refined gifts.
Cocoa Percentage: 70% to 100%
Key Features: Emphasis on sourcing and sustainability
Price Range: ₹400 – ₹2000 per bar
Szcheuan Chocolate takes pride in sourcing the rarest heirloom cocoa from remote Indian plantations. Their chocolate has won several Academy of Chocolates awards.
The Viet 70% made from native Vietnamese cocoa has well-rounded roasted, nutty notes. The Ecuador 100% combines pure, intense cocoa flavor with pleasantly low bitterness.
Co-founders Gaurav Saran and Poonam Binani ensure ethical, sustainable practices by sourcing directly from farmers. The higher pricing reflects the quality of heirloom cocoa. Each bar comes wrapped in delicate paper that offers information on the source.
For complex, flavorful dark chocolate that helps cocoa farmers, Szcheuan is a fantastic option.
8. Paul And Mike
Cocoa Percentage: 70% to 85%
Key Features: Socially conscious brand supporting inclusion
Price Range: ₹350 – ₹700 per bar
Paul And Mike chocolate set up shop in Bengaluru in 2018 with the motto “made with care, served with love.” Co-founder Kunal Jagdish Patel honed his chocolate skills in Melbourne before launching the brand.
Their 70% dark chocolate strikes a pleasant balance between cocoa richness and natural sweetness. The 85% Ghana bar packs intense roasted cocoa notes.
Paul And Mike incorporate local flavors like charoli sesame seeds in some creations. A standout is their Naatu cocoa 70% dark highlighting indigenous Andhra cocoa.
The brand partners with organizations supporting inclusion for adults with special needs. Their delicious, ethical chocolate makes for heart-warming gifts.
Cocoa Percentage: 61% to 85%
Key Features: Vibrant, artistic packaging using Indian motifs
Price Range: ₹249 – ₹599 per bar
Launched in 2016, Sova brings a youthful energy to Indian chocolate. Their tasty chocolate bars are artfully packaged in colorful wrappers featuring motifs like auto-rickshaws and Kolam designs.
Sova sources cocoa beans from South America and Africa to create silky smooth chocolates. Their 85% intense dark offers bittersweet cocoa while Raspberry Rose infuses white chocolate ganache in 61% dark chocolate for a fruitier experience.
Fun, innovative flavors coupled with eye-catching packaging make Sova a trendy dark chocolate pick.
Cocoa Percentage: 70% to 100%
Key Features: Traditional Indian flavor inspirations
Price Range: ₹325 – ₹1250 per bar
Led by Forbes 30 under 30 honoree, Chitra Choudhary, Chitra Craft Chocolate brings a contemporary twist to Indian sweets. Their chocolate like Gulkand Coconut Bar incorporates traditional ingredients like saffron and dried roses.
The Darjeeling Black Tea infused 70% dark highlights premium Indian tea. The 100% Raw Ruby Chocolate offers fruitier notes compared to traditional dark chocolate.
Based in Mumbai, Chitra has gained international recognition for reinventing Indian flavors in contemporary chocolate. For gourmet chocolate with an Indian soul, Chitra is a must-try.
How to Choose the Best Indian Dark Chocolate
Now that you’re familiar with the top brands producing diverse, premium dark chocolate experiences in India, how do you determine which one suits you best?
Here are a few key factors to consider when choosing dark chocolate in India:
- Cocoa Percentage: If you enjoy intense dark chocolate, opt for bars with 75% or higher cocoa content. For more balanced bittersweet chocolate, 60-72% cocoa is ideal.
- Flavoring: Try single-origin bars to experience pure cocoa flavor profiles from different regions. Go for flavored bars if you enjoy spices, nuts, flowers and other additions.
- Texture: Bean-to-bar brands will have thicker chocolate with a grittier melt due to stone grinding. Couverture chocolate is smoother due to mass grinding methods.
- Certifications: Check for Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance etc. to choose brands that support farmers and the environment.
- Budget: Plenty of excellent dark chocolate options are available under ₹500. Premium, niche brands using rare heirloom cocoa can go up to ₹2000 per bar.
- Purpose: Pick fun, uniquely Indian themed bars as gifts. Choose serious craft chocolate for a hardcore chocolate experience. Everyday snacking dark chocolate is also widely available.
The Future of Dark Chocolate in India
Over the past decade, dark chocolate has shed its niche status to enter the mainstream. Many factors have fueled this growth:
- Rising incomes allow more Indians to afford premium chocolate
- Increased awareness about the benefits of cocoa has boosted dark chocolate appeal
- Artisanal chocolate brands have made dark chocolate exciting and accessible
- Millennials’ tastes have shifted towards darker, bolder flavors
- Social media helps promote brands and artisanal chocolate culture
This has led to a booming craft chocolate industry in India. New brands and startups are launching regularly to capitalize on the increasing demand. More players have begun sourcing cocoa locally, helping Indian cocoa farmers earn a premium.
To build on this momentum, craft chocolate brands need to continue educating consumers on how to appreciate dark chocolate. Wider awareness of bean quality, cocoa percentages, tasting techniques etc. will expand the market.
Given Indians’ love for sweets, there is ample scope for brands to attract new consumers by Indianizing dark chocolate with local flavors. Regional flavors fused with chocolate provide an avenue for product innovation.
As the market matures, we may see consolidation with large players acquiring promising niche brands. However, discerning consumers will continue seeking out artisanal chocolate-makers striving for perfection from bean to bar.
The future certainly looks bright for innovative dark chocolate brands in India ready to tap into this rapidly evolving space.
Indulge in the Best of Indian Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate no longer intimidates the average Indian consumer. With iconic luxury brands and trendy artisanal players, high-quality dark chocolate is more accessible than ever for discerning chocolate lovers.
This guide covers the most exciting players shaping India’s gourmet dark chocolate experience, whether through premium ingredients, ethical trade or creative flavors. Sustainability, innovation and exceptional taste are at the core of these
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