Arty and Handmade: Meet the Minds Behind this Artisanal Chocolate Brand
Any chocolate purist will tell you that a single bite of premium cacao has the power to conjure up a complex range of pleasures and emotions, all at once. While the bars made by the artisanal chocolate brand All Things are unlike any other, it is the covers that are too beautiful to tear apart. This tiny operation was started in Delhi by two school friends — Tejasvi Chandela runs her own patisserie Dessert and looks at pairing fresh flavours with handcrafted chocolate; graphic designer Kuhu Kochar is the brains behind the delightful wrappers.
Revolving around their individual moods (think English breakfasts, blue Mondays, birthdays, travel and childhood memories), the wrappers are inspired by the flavours contained within. While themes such as All Things Earth, All Things Barcelona, All Things Polo were created in-house, it’s the collaborations that are even more fascinating. All Things Summer and All Things Winter were illustrated by Manuja Waldia (who is currently working on a monsoon edition for them). For All Things Single, the duo begun collaborating with Indian musicians, interpreting their distinctive sounds as unique flavours and cover designs. The first of the series — with singer-songwriter Prateek Kuhad — includes a free download of his single Big Surprise. Adds Kochar, “We recently got our supporters — All Things Clients — to send us short stories about chocolate, nostalgia and love and things they associate with them. These were illustrated by (musician and designer) Aaquib Wani and we called them Stories in Chocolate.”
What was the starting point for All Things?
Kuhu Kochar (KK): Tejasvi was running Dessert and had just started experimenting with chocolate, while I was only doing design projects for other clients. We were at a point of creative saturation and we wanted to do something for ourselves. I was always interested in packaging design and was working on All Things as an independent idea at that time. I met Tejasvi and we figured that it could work really well for chocolate.
How did you meet each other?
KK: Tejasvi was a year senior to me in school. We used to attend art class together, and she couldn’t sketch to save her life. We had a barter system where I would do the work for her and she would give me her fancy stationery in return. Years later, we touched based again when she moved to Delhi. That’s how we began!
How do you develop the flavours?
Tejasvi Chandela (TC): We work with suppliers who work directly with farmers and they get us fair-trade cocoa. This goes to a craft chocolatier in Belgium who makes all our chocolate. I work with the chocolatier on pairings and flavours, figuring out what percentage of cocoa to use, whether we want caramel or vanilla notes, all of that. We pair our custom blends with local ingredients that are fresh and available to us here in India. There are no additives or extracts used.
Can you describe the visual language?
Both: Our initial idea was to create dynamic packaging. One brand does not necessarily have to have one mood. A lot of luxury brands are doing that, and building really strong identities. We wanted All Things to adapt to our moods, or phases that we were going through, or whatever was inspiring us at the moment. Chocolate became an instant fit because it’s universal, it fits all moods.
How does this translate to the packaging?
KK: We are living in a time where packaging is 50 per cent of a product. So the whole idea behind All Things is to take chocolate out of its conventional space (which is tear the wrapper, eat the chocolate and its over) and make it more engaging. It is supposed to take you to a different place, and help you build new associations with flavours and visuals. That’s what a product should do — stand out on a shelf and be able to tell its story better.
What is the hardest part about creating the wrapper designs?
KK: We have this bar called All Things Birthday, and everyone’s immediate association with birthdays is happy, cheerful imagery. But to me, they have always been bittersweet. You are never 100 per cent happy, you are a bit existential. Hence we made the cover slightly dark and people asked us why we did that. The whole point of this is individual expression and some of these covers may not be commercially viable. People may want to see a certain representation of things, and that becomes a design challenge, and you wonder, are you creating a product that sells, or are you creating something that feels good?
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