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    Good Earth’s annual offering from the Japanese luxury chocolate brand is back this weekend.

    LAST year, at the end of Royce’s weekend pop-up at Good Earth in Rutland Gate, every last box of the Japanese luxury chocolate was sold out. And that was when the city was fairly new to Hokkaido’s best kept secret. This year, Samir Gadhok of Burgundy Hospitality, is sending a team that is more prepared. But with new offerings like Aroma, a box of 32 pieces of chocolate priced at `1295, the lines are only going to get longer. After all, the offerings from Ghana, Ecuador, Venezeula, Trinidad, Madagascar and Ivory Coast (with 45 to 80 per cent cocoa) in one box makes for a good gift for the well-travelled patrons of Good Earth. Plus, the country (and the world at large) is enjoying a renewed fascination for Japanese luxury (think Muji’s Indian debut next month) and Royce, with its precise rectangles of creamy chocolate truffle (Namo) and sweet-salt potato crisps is just the snack we want to be having.

    Spreading the word
    Using cream from free roaming corn-fed cows and high quality cocoa, many of Royce’s offerings have to be stored at 10 degree celsius. At least 18 varieties can be shipped across the country, but there is no online retail. While reports on social media point to Royce patrons like Hrithik Roshan and Karan Johar, the company prefers to rely on word-of-mouth marketing strategies. Unwilling to share details on growth of the company or expansion plans, Gadhok only admits to working on a Chennai store in 14 months. “People are appreciating more bitter flavours in Tier I cities,” he says, referring to a growing artisan chocolate market. Known to scout for new food brands while on holiday with his wife and business partner Avani Raheja, Gadhok, 33, says a recent trip to San Francisco saw them bring back Speculoos butter (after the famous cinnamon biscuit) from a company named Lotus. Burgundy has plans to introduce another international food brand in four months, but he is tight-lipped about it. For now, he urges Chennai to enjoy all things Royce, from the Prafeuille chocolate (thin strawberry-scented milk chocolate squares filled with a sweet-and-sour raspberry and blueberry sauce) to the finger-sized nutty bars.
    On July 16-17. Priced from Rs 495.
    Details: 43087878

    — Rosella Stephen

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