Perfecting the art of chocolate

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There’s an idiom which says if you could bottle passion, you could make millions.

Qudsia Karim has done the next best thing – she’s turned it into chocolate.

The confectioner launched her boutique chocolate shop, Cocosia Artisan Chocolate, earlier this year, building her business on pure passion for the delicacies she produces.

Each chocolate is handmade in the boutique which is based in Al Barsha, with a tantalizing array of aromas, flavours, hints and tones to tempt even the most under-developed taste-buds.

“There’s a growing niche in Dubai of people who want good quality chocolate,” says Karim.

“It takes a lot of time and effort to get it right – to make something really, really good and to develop the flavor – and people are starting to appreciate that more.”

It’s a good time to be in chocolate in the UAE, say the statistics. Retail chocolate sales in the Middle East and North Africa are expected to reach $5.8bn in 2016, according to a report by global audit firm KPMG.

Another report by AC Nielson estimated the UAE market at almost $150m in 2012, with a growth rate of 27 percent in terms of values of sales, and fourteen percent in terms of volume.

Encouraging figures for any newcomer to the market, especially one who has dedicated the past three years to the fine arts of chocolate making.

Having previously learnt the basics of chocolate, Karim’s journey began in earnest in December 2010 when she undertook the Master course a Ecole Chocolat in Vancouver.

Researching the origins of chocolate to the process of making it, and refining its presentation, she starting producing treats for her family, who’s positive responses encouraged to take her learning farther.

“Then I went to Barry Callaubaut Academy of Chicago,” she says. “I learnt how to formulate my own recipes, maintain the shelf life of the chocolates, and so on. Lots of the technical side of things.

“It really got me more and more interested, so I experimented even more at home and started to do some research about the Dubai market.”

But her chocolate education didn’t stop there. As well as taking a HACCP (hazard analysis and critical control points) course, Karim went deep into Europe’s chocolate heartland, studying in France, Germany and Switzerland.

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