By Arushi Sakhuja
"Whenever and wherever you enjoy Läderach chocolate - Switzerland is its origin" - Elias Läderach
Chocolate – a word with multiple feelings, but simply a joy no matter what. Bringing a taste of artisanal Swiss chocolate to the capital is India’s first Läderach store in Delhi in DLF Emporio. When it comes to the new store, the Willy Wonka-esque store justifies the phrase, "When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile." With chocolate bars, assortments of truffles and pralines, massive slabs of FrischSchoggi – a Läderach speciality– with nuts and berries, and fresh chocolate, in flavours such as almond, pistachio, raspberry-blackberry, pink pepper-strawberry and salted caramel to chocolate coated popcorn, the variety of options will leave your frazzled (in a good way!).
After expanding in the Middle East, the US, the UK, and Canada, Läderach has partnered with Dharampal Satyapal Foods (DS Foods) one of India’s leading FMCG conglomerates, to establish its first store in India at DLF Emporio Mall in New Delhi. Speaking about the store launch, Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, DS Group said, “The first exclusive Laderach store at DLF Emporio is sure to be Delhi’s ultimate chocolate destination. We’re excited to bring our customers a unique experience offering unparalleled moments of chocolate indulgence.”
The burgeoning craft chocolate scene in India continues to grow in India with the new luxury Swiss chocolate brand Läderach foray into the country. The DS Group has an exclusive partnership with Laderach for the debut of the Swiss luxury chocolate brand in India. The Group is looking forward to opening 5-7 exclusive boutiques over the next 2 years. With a smooth, rich, silky texture, each bite of the Swiss premium chocolates tantalizes your taste buds and premium Swiss chocolates are incomplete without a mention of Läderach.
Founded in 1962, Läderach is a family-owned brand that has been crafting premium chocolate for the past 60 years and is available in over 18 countries. A walk through the glass-fronted swanky store with chocolatier Elias Läderach (the third generation of the family-owned Läderach chocolates) gave us an insight into the chocolate marvel almost feeling like we were living inside the fantasy world of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. Elias recalls that his love for chocolate started 35 years ago when he was born into a chocolate family and grew up right above the production site. "As a kid, I thought for a while I would like to become a gamekeeper. But, luckily, I decided against it and completed my education as a Patissier-Confectioner," he adds. In the store one can even find smaller pouches with combinations of these slabs, plus snacks like chocolate-coated orange and ginger sticks; tablets of everything from an Ecuador 70% to a Trinidad 80%, white, blond and milk varieties.
The Style List spoke to chocolatier Elias Läderach to know why they picked Delhi as their debut market, the new flavour combinations in India and a little about the history of what makes this Swiss chocolate so popular and premium.
While India has plenty of consumers who can spend good money on premium chocolates, a Rakhi hamper at Läderach costs Rs 21,500. What makes the brand stand out is that they produce exclusively in Switzerland. "We produce our own chocolate and, therefore, oversee the whole value chain. The freshness of our products is what sets us apart from other chocolate manufacturers in the world - It's the secret of our success. Short shelf lives allow us to use ingredients such as fresh butter and cream and to avoid preservatives." In the world of technology, the Swiss brand still believes in the making of artisanal chocolate, making it a delight. "From the quality and taste checks for our couverture (fine liquid chocolate) to the finishing touches of for example our pralinés. There is no machine that can do it the same way as our employees can." Speaking on what Elias loves creating the most he shared, "Actually, being innovative and trying out new things is what I like most. I get inspiration from places I visit or food I eat and then take these inputs into my lab when I work with our chocolate."
Back to the source
When it comes to the procurement of ingredients Elias ensures they pick the best quality ones. "The key ingredient is of course cacao beans. We source them from Costa Rica, Ecuador, Trinidad, Brazil, Ghana and Madagascar. As for our other ingredients, we always pick them based on where we have the best quality. For example, hazelnuts from Piedmont in Italy or milk of course from Switzerland." However, he does recognise the need for exploring new ingredients, "I think there is a mix of enjoying the let’s say more common products like milk chocolate with caramelized hazelnuts and on the other hand trying out products with special ingredients or unique combinations." He highlights some of the new chocolate trends saying that there is a trend towards more dark chocolate, mainly for health reasons. Additionally, the demand for vegan options is also relevant. "We have introduced our own vegan product line. Its couverture is based on cashew milk powder and coconut flower blossom sugar including caramelized cashews. What I have also noticed is a trend towards simple recipes – meaning fewer ingredients but without compromising on flavour. And here I think our FrischSchoggi offers are a perfect answer to this demand. Take our bestseller FrischSchoggi Hazelnut Milk – milk chocolate with caramelized hazelnuts, simple but yummy."
The choice of picking India and Delhi to foray into the country for the brand was a no-brainer. "Many Indians know us from their travels to Europe or North America and have been asking, when will we open a store in India," recalls Elias. "We are very excited to open our first store here in India together with our Partner DS Group and are planning on opening 5-7 additional stores over the next years if the demand continues to be strong in this market." Staying in sync with the brand USP, Läderach has not tweaked the flavours to fit the Indian market. "The products are always produced the same. We do have some special products in regions where for example Eid is celebrated. So, we are curious to see, what ideas the Indian market has for us, that we can work on."
Elias Läderach on the right way to taste chocolate
The right way to taste chocolate is to involve all our five senses: see, touch, hear, smell and taste. Look, see the wonderful colours of the chocolate and its semi-matt finish; Feel – when we touch the chocolate feels smooth and; Hear – when breaking the chocolate, you can feel resistance and hear the “click”, a clear break; Smell – fresh chocolate unveils a wonderful bouquet of senses and of course, Taste – a wonderful melt and crisp and you can taste the milk, vanilla, cocoa and all its other ingredients.