THE WARM, comforting solidity of bread and the mysterious sophistication of chocolate make for a winning combo at Auroville’s newest café, Bread and Chocolate. It is a collaboration between chocolatiers Mason & Co — whose vegan chocolate bars are made from organic cacao beans sourced from Indian farms — and Wild Yeast Bakery—by California baker Daniel Trulson, who has a small but loyal following for his sourdough bread. “We share the same philosophy for healthy, unrefined, organic food,” says Jane Mason, on what brought them together. “We churn our own butter, we use both organic milk and coconut milk, and the wheat for our breads is milled here.” The café is not 100 per cent vegan, as it serves eggs and cheese in a few dishes, but there are options to have them without either.
An entire wall mounted with rows of Mason & Co chocolates in their signature wrappers — zesty orange, sea salt, espresso, chilli and cinnamon — add a pop of colour to the otherwise no-nonsense interiors. The café also doubles as the space for Mason & Co’s fresh experiments. Step in at lunch time and you may be asked to sample the just-launched peanut butter bar or a yet-to-be unveiled product. The bon bons arranged behind the counter are the most compelling, with options like peanut butter cups, jagged chocolate barks and the intriguing passion fruit ganache. While guided chocolate tasting events will be a regular feature (the first one will kick off later this month), the menu features tea and chocolate pairings (try a chilli black tea with coconut milk dark chocolate).
The gooey honey drenched cinnamon buns are a bestseller as are the vegan cakes made with olive oil. While quiches and tarts line the counter, Trulson wants to add more breads, including a chocolate variety. “The bread is handmixed, leavened naturally and baked the old-world way, in a wood fire oven I built,” he says. “From the time the yeast is added till the baking is done, it takes about 18 hours, which makes it easily digestible.”
Breakfast bowls, smoothies and organic coffee are part of the menu, while lunch options, themed dinners and Sunday brunches are soon to come.
On Kuilayalapalam road, near Tantos. Open from 8 am to 5 pm (closed on Mondays). From Rs 60 to Rs 250. Details: 08489197701
— Olympia Shilpa Gerald