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Aurovillians Jane Mason and Fabien Bontems offer chocolate minus preservatives

choc2JANE Mason’s tryst with chocolate began four years ago in Indonesia, when she was training in Bali to be a raw food chef. She ended up studying Ecolo chocolate making and now the 34-year-old specialises in bean-to-bar organic vegan chocolates and is retailing in Auroville and at Promenade in Pondicherry.  “My partner Fabien Bontems and I have been focussing on the Indian cacao market for about one and a half years, trying to source good beans and build relationships with farmers here,’’ says Mason, adding, ‘‘Most chocolate makers buy readymade chocolate which they re-melt and then mould or add ingredients to. We source the cacao beans directly from the farmers (I currently work with two farms in India and one in Ecuador), then sort, clean, roast, crack, winnow, grind, conch, age, temper and mould the chocolate in our factory in Auorville. So you can be sure that when you eat one of our bars it is exactly what it says it is. There are no preservatives or chemicals added and it is made with loads of love and attention.”

The true vegan
Is there a market for vegan chocolates?  “Sometimes I worry that the word scares people away,  but any good dark chocolate is actually vegan. Cacao is a super food and has lots of health promoting properties, so I try to keep the chocolate as close to the natural state as possible,’’ she shares. Most of the chocolate is dark, with no milk and minimal sugar. Plus there are sweet er options for those who don’t fancy dark chocolates. I am also working on a coconut milk flavour. Diabetes is a big problem in India so I am working on a sugar-free bar using natural sweeteners too,” says the yoga enthusiast.

Pinch of sea salt
The current favourites are their 75 per cent bittersweet dark bar and 75 per cent zesty orange bar. “Last week, I finished a limited-edition 65 per cent bar and I have plans for five regular flavours, to be released soon. I am also working on a bon bon range,” says the Australian, who came to Auroville three years ago.  “One of my favourite things to do is chocolate tasting, with beans from all around the world. Look out for our dark chocolate with sea salt that is coming soon,” she concludes.
40 grams priced from `100. Details: 8489197701

-Mrinalini Sundar

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