This psychologist from Assam is uplifting mood with homemade, handcrafted chocolates
Who doesn't love the richness and sweet savour of chocolate? Whether it's the good feeling you desire or the dopamine and oxytocin boost you need, chocolate is popular and loved by all for many reasons. As a universal snack and flavour, its unique savoury and sweet taste gives it an edge over other flavours and is the main reason why it is used to complement numerous dishes all over the world. Whether eaten as a snack or used to complement a dish, you can't deny chocolate's invaluable goodness.
In Assam, chocolate is fast gaining acceptance as a feel-good snack, as gifts for loved ones, and as a flavour for a variety of meals. However, the dearth of good home-made chocolates has created a vacuum. To bridge this gap, ventures like Chocolate Mood, owned by Sanjeevani Goswami, is dedicating its existence and resources to providing people with this sweet tooth delight whenever it is required.
Goswami is a counselling psychologist by training, but it didn't take too long before she discovered her passion for entrepreneurship and began the Chocolate Mood venture. She was born and raised in Guwahati and had a solid educational foundation before going off to Christ University, where she bagged her degree in psychology. She currently works with an organisation called MIND in India.
The shift from psychology to chocolate production and distribution is quite an unusual one. Goswami reveals that her love for chocolate and desire to produce high-quality, richly-satisfying chocolate, inspired the transition. She adds, "My mom has been making homemade chocolates for us since we were kids. One day, I learnt how to make praline, and then my mom and I searched on the Internet to learn how to make chocolates with fillings. We then started with our first chocolates; Dark/White/Milk chocolates with praline. It did give a nutty-like flavour, and my brother and I were extremely thrilled. The entire family is involved; we have divided our roles as per our convenience and skills – chocolate making, wrapping, accounts, purchasing, delivering, marketing, etc. Of course, our best friends and relatives help us in spreading the word and sometimes in wrapping whenever they're home.”
For Goswami, entrepreneurship has always been a part of her childhood. She comes from a family of entrepreneurs, and that inspired her to follow suit. "I posted the pictures on Facebook with the caption, 'Homemade chocolates for you. Place your orders.' And then on September 21, it began. Just like that with a minimum initial investment of Rs 4,000."
In producing chocolate, Goswami adopts several unique ingredients, most of which she orders online as a result of the restriction in movement due to the pandemic. There are a few ingredients you're sure to find lurking around her kitchen on a regular day. "It's definitely almond pralines and caramel for me. They go very well with Dark/White/Milk or basically any other type of chocolate. Then there's Blueberry with White Chocolate which is another favourite for me," she says.
Most of the different types of chocolate on her menu were inspired by 'food-related series, videos or even a small Instagram story she accidentally comes across'. However, she mentions that many of her customers come up with their ideas of chocolates which are also added to the menu. "The Vegan Chocolates were introduced when my dear friend wanted a gift for his friend (who is a vegan) and wanted me to make those.”
"The sugar-free chocolates were made for my aunt who watches her sugar intake; the peanut butter variety was again ordered by a friend, while the gooey ones were initially customised for a friend, and today all of them have made it to the menu," she adds.
Goswami has a few delights of her own. "We have the classic Dark/White/Milk chocolates with a range of fillings- praline, dry fruits, blueberry, Nutella, caramel, peanut butter and coconut. Then we have Vegan Chocolates, Extra Gooey Chocolates and Sugar-free Chocolates. The signature chocolates are the Chocolate Mood Elevators. And very recently, we have added four varieties of Truffles: Red Velvet, Choco Mocha, White Coconut, and Dark Chocolate."
Although there have been several challenges along the way, the little successes and joys she gets from the success of production and delight from customers make it worth her while. Goswami recounts her very first chocolate sale. "It was so unexpected because I had just uploaded the pictures on Facebook, and almost immediately, my colleague replied, saying, 'I want'. Even though those were only five chocolates, we gave it our best.
"I can still recall the first few orders, and I feel blessed. The response has been good. People are enjoying the chocolates. My cousin, a photographer, after having a taste of the chocolates, volunteered his services because he felt I needed to make them look better than my phone camera does. We have got many reorders, which is a good sign. They're sharing in their own circles, also on their social media handles, so it keeps us very happy and motivated," she notes.
On the back of her success after only a few months since she launched, Goswami is motivated now more than ever before to continue delivering nothing but the best. With plans to include more varieties by Christmas, she truly is quelling every 'chocolate appetite' one order at a time.