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A new, cosy café in Kochi celebrates all things chocolate

Rakkaudella in Kochi is a café-cum-experience-centre of chocolate treats made with cocoa from Kerala's Idukki region

Chocolate bar, cake and croissants at Rakkaudella. (Photos by Sumitra Nair)

By Sumitra Nair

LAST PUBLISHED 08.04.2024  |  09:02 AM IST

“Have it, you’ll feel better," Professor Lupin advised Harry Potter as he handed him a piece of chocolate after soul-sucking dementors left their compartment in the Hogwarts Express. Maybe, chocolates have a similar restorative effect on us as it did for Potter. They infuse a sense of warmth that spreads through the body, like a hug from the inside. And that’s how it felt when I bit into a piece of 63 per cent dark chocolate by Rakkaudella, at their café in Panampilly Nagar, Kochi, Kerala.

The month-old café celebrates chocolates in all forms; be it drinks, baked treats and ice cream. The cosy interiors with just 10 covers have an enticing open display of their chocolate treats. The place doubles up as an experience centre of their products. Brothers Ouseppachan (30) and Kuriachan Johnson (27) started making chocolate bars about three years ago. They started the brand with two-ingredients-- cocoa and cane sugar--chocolate bars, after a chance meeting with the Belgian chocolate entrepreneur, Luca Beltrami.

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Beltrami and his wife Ellen Taerwe have been exploring chocolates produced in India since 2015. They source cocoa from farmers in the lush hills of Idukki, Kerala. These are fermented, processed and exported to Europe and the US. “The high altitude of Idukki gives the cocoa beans a great flavour profile—the beans are bigger." Johnson says. Rakkaudella processes cocoa from Idukki and turns it into carefully crafted chocolate bars in varying intensities, like 53 per cent, 60 per cent, 63 per cent, 65 per cent and 70 per cent.

Rakkaudella, which translates to ‘with love’ in Finnish, stands true to its name. The quaint café is situated in a small by-lane of the ever-bustling Panampilly Nagar of Kochi. It's a haven for chocolate connoisseurs, and offers various treats, like croissants, brownies, tarts and more. A chocolate lover myself, I tried the earthy and smooth chocolate ice cream first. Then came the eclairs, which oozed out a creamy chocolate filling as I bit into the buttery, flaky pastry. After a sip of an Americano, which served as a palate cleanser, I tried the hot chocolate; in the words of Goldilocks, it was 'just right' in terms of intensity and sweetness.

The brothers don't plan to offer savouries as yet. “But if we do, they will be items that have chocolate as an ingredient," shares Johnson. Apart from selling their chocolates on their website and the experience centre-cum-cafe, they supply couverture chocolates to several cafes and restaurants, like Javaphile and Love Fools in Mumbai, TFG in Bengaluru and The Stubborn baker in Chennai.

“It’s a false notion that intense chocolate or rather dark chocolate should be dark and bitter, which isn’t true. Good quality dark chocolate is light brown and isn’t as bitter," Kuriachan explains. One wouldn't say the café scene in Kochi is bustling as yet. This unpretentious place might be just what the city needed--a great stop for someone curious about homegrown chocolate from Kerala; and a warm space for a date or a meet-up between friends.

Cost for two 700.

Sumitra Nair is a journalist based in Kerala. 

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