Gupta’s chocolates don’t subscribe to the bean-to-bar niche, but they do however, come responsibly-sourced and packaged. All orders—a single box, or sixty kilograms a sitting are cast and wrapped by him and his wife. “I don’t add stabilisers to my products, so when it’s 45 degrees out, unlike store-bought chocolates, mine won’t retain their original shape. So in that sense, my process is pretty unadulterated.” he says. You’re not likely to find traces of hydrogenated oil, stabilisers, or foul smells that are bred over time in unwrapped, on-the-rack chocolates. His double-boiler sieves quality product that has—after several trials—now become a trusted formula for his sweet treats.
“The biggest drawback of being in the Armed Forces is when you start rising in rank, your friend circle keeps diminishing,” he said. The Malabar Coast, the torpid backwaters, and a two a half years’ bank of Sundays presented Gupta with the perfect opportunity to kick back and spend hours in front of the TV, or take to (the more exciting), sailing. One such television broadcast of chocolatier Zeba Kohli and her process on a languid Sunday, brought him to his Eureka moment: “chocolates with a touch of the sea.” Later his brand’s tagline, he was drawn to the accessibility of countertop chocolate-making, and what his unique affiliation with the sea could bring to the table. Nauticolates officially kicked off with his daughter’s wedding back in 2013. They went out with the invites and a note that read simply: “These chocolates were made by the father of the bride and have a touch of the sea.”
An instant success, Gupta hasn't looked back since. He has since been found siphoning caramel into dark chocolate, or peppering orange rind, mint nibs, or slivers of almonds, to his cocoa base. “I’d like to make something like a Ferrero Rocher one day,” he says of his next move. “Mint is my favourite of my own. Walnut rocks in general. I once tried a batch of wafers coated with my chocolate, which I thought were great. My chocolate making is quite methodical, so before I start (with a new recipe), I write everything as it would follow a step-by-step procedure.” A fledgling enterprise at first, Nauticolates is now in it’s fourth year running, and the man behind it all, is still as keen as on the day he started. “I recently found out about this chocolate-making machine in Europe that’s quite affordable. It allows you to control the quality of chocolate and its consistency. I’d like to buy that next.” he finishes with a broad smile.