With dilated pupils and a nod of sheer amusement, I bit into my first Naviluna American Barrel-Aged chocolate bar. The factory is set in a bright yellow building in Mysore that’s tucked away, and yet stands out perfectly in contrast to all the green that surrounds it.
Naviluna, formerly known as Earth Loaf, was founded in 2012 by David Belo, a former mixologist from the renowned LAB Bar in London who decided to leave it all and become India’s very own Willy Wonka. I knew I'd won the golden ticket when I was given a tour by the Naviluna team on the process by which, their locally-sourced beans make their way into your hands.
Commonly, chocolate was never considered as an artisanal craft. It was meant to be an indulgence, perfect for unwinding after a long and tiring day at work. But just like the Third Wave Coffee, artisanal chocolate is creating a buzz by bringing forth interesting combinations using ingredients one could never imagine pairing with chocolate.
This is exactly where Naviluna struck gold.
For instance, flavors like the Mango, Red Capsicum and Chilli Chocolate Bar, and my personal favorite, the Jackfruit and Black Pepper Chocolate Bar (which I was extremely apprehensive to try, but my curiosity got the better of me) are absolutely genius flavors that elevated an already amazing experience.
David and his team at Naviluna work tirelessly to constantly create new combinations to pair their chocolates with, whether it’s a Pomelo infused chocolate bar or their signature Tokai and Pineapple chocolate bar (that emerged from a collaboration with Blue Tokai).
Naviluna Chocolate bars are made with unroasted cacao beans that are cold-pressed to retain most of its nutrients and produce the richest bar of chocolate, doing complete justice to their locally-sourced beans.
As soon as you step inside the Naviluna kitchen, you cannot miss the symphony that plays through the whole process, starting from dehydrating the fruits that need to go inside the bars to the chocolate skillfully being hand-tempered. The entire process is beautifully orchestrated by David and his team. Maybe it’s because of the hyper-local sourcing of their cacao beans.
Naviluna chocolate bars comprise of 72% dark chocolate.
The chocolates are vegan and free of preservatives/emulsifiers, and sweetened using coconut sugar. The cacao beans are passed through a crucial cut test that determines the fermentation of the beans, which gives a remarkably improved texture once the chocolates become your late-night fridge heist.
David and his team at Naviluna have managed to squeeze all their energy into each and every bean of cacao that goes into making their wonderful chocolates wrapped in eco-friendly and sustainable packaging; using dehydrated cacao nibs and the gorgeous screen-printed designs. One should definitely see the respect and attention given to the chocolate bars.
To really experience this magic boxed up by David and his team at Naviluna, head to your nearest GoNative outlet or you could order online at https://naviluna.in/
- By Nikhil Suresh