June 2, 2018
Swiss chocolatier, Du Rhône gives Mumbaites taste of their dark delicacies
Du Rhône Chocolatier brings to India – a luxury of Swiss chocolate, handmade in Geneva and now available in the city. Federico Marangoni, Du Rhône’s elegant CEO was in Mumbai for the store launch earlier this month.
“Du Rhône Chocolatier is one of the oldest Swiss chocolate brands. We are 143 years old and have been in continuous operation since 1875”, says Marangoni who became CEO in 2014 and in 2015, took over as the company’s sole shareholder.
“I got involved with Du Rhône Chocolatier with the idea to export chocolates”, says Marangoni. Between 2015 and 2016 he’s opened stores in New York, London, Dubai and Shanghai. Earlier this month, Marangoni unveiled the first store in India, in partnership with Liberty Luxuries Pvt Ltd, behind Japanese luxury brand, Yoku Moku. “Chocolate is the fastest growing consumption good in the world and India with its 1.3 billion population is a great market to be in,” says Marangoni.
Du Rhône chocolate is handmade in Geneva and then sent out (vacuum-sealed) to stores worldwide. There is a minimal amount of preservatives (to keep the shelf-life) but no artificial colours or flavours. The beans mostly come from São Tomé, off the west coast of Africa. “Of course, we use some beans from Brazil and Papua New Guinea but our base product is made with 63% São Tomé cacao,” explains Marangoni. A team led by master chocolatier Jean-Pascal Sérignat, works with Du Rhöne’s heritage recipes to come up with a range of pralines, truffles, and other chocolate delicacies. Most of the products currently available at the Mumbai store are heritage products, though Marangoni says that they are currently experimenting with new offerings. “We are creating a line of healthy products for the US market. We are also developing a line of diabetic-friendly, sugar-free products, which I’d like to test in India”, he says.
Whatever experiments they do, Marangoni is clear that they will not come up with chilli-spiked chocolate and other ’new-age’ flavours. “Chocolate is a sweet product. When you eat chocolate, you want to taste chocolate, not chilli or pepper or whatever. We are not very keen on this new wave, which is going down already,” he explains. Du Rhône’s bestseller is the Mocca Glacé, which is also their oldest recipe that combines cacao butter and coffee into one melt-in-the-mouth praline. We also try Coline, which is 70% dark chocolate ganache sprinkled with gold and silver flakes, a truly decadent praline that won first prize at the 2011 Salon International du Chocolat.
Marangoni picks Helene as his favourite. “Its salted marzipan and caramel covered with dark chocolate to balance out the sweetness of the caramel; it’s one of our newer chocolates and I like it very much,” he elaborates. “Other flavours that we sample include Jaffa, which has Spanish oranges pressed and melted into dark chocolate ganache, while Exotique combines milk chocolate with passion fruit.”
Any expansion for the chocolatier? “To open a second store in Delhi this year. In India, we think it will mostly be a business-to-business model targeting corporate customers so you don’t necessarily need too many stores. I don’t think we’ll have 20 stores, probably just three-four but we’ll have a large commercial team for corporate, gifting, weddings etc.”, elaborates Marangoni.