We recently met Gitana Singh, a baker who runs Cocoa Bark Series out of her home right here in Delhi. Her skills are self-taught; she spent summers away in music school in Boston, and working in Italy, but all along baking was a therapeutic refuge. “I passionately follow and do everything I love and have managed to find a way to make it my way of life: baking, singing and travelling (among others).”
On-set Singh is a ball of energy, and in between shots she told us, “Cocoa Bark Series is more about my customers than it is about me. It’s about giving someone exactly what they would like and letting them be the master creators of their treats. Every bark is handmade, and customised on order.”
In 2017, she tempered custom “barks” for all her cousins—thin, delicious slabs of chocolate that dabbled with different techniques, flavour combinations and packaging, and that was the start of it all. Over the past year she’s whipped up some lush pairings, from lavender and pink peppercorn, popcorn and salted caramel, through to marigold petals and cardamom, and each has been a gratifying experience. A cook who enjoys her time in the kitchen, she’s big on the trial and error approach, taste-testing her way from one indulgent brownie to the next buttery tea cake. A spontaneous kitchen takeover with all things delectably sweet, Singh has been flooded with orders for her clever ways with a palette knife ever since. “I still spend hours browsing through cooking and baking websites, photographs, videos, hacks and then walk into my kitchen with great determination to turn it into a science lab,” she professed.
For her shoot with us, she brought a dark chocolate and a delightful blueberry raspberry ice cream that ran fluid from the spoon; a very special Nicobar-tribute dessert that harnessed a tropical fresh vibe…a coconut ice cream sprinkled with toasted coconut that smelt wonderful and left a nutty aftertaste. “It’s a slow process of steeping fresh roasted coconut in the crème anglaise for hours, then heating, cooling and churning, so it packs as much flavour as possible,” she told us. She also brought an assortment of her barks (rose & pistachio, white chocolate with berry swirls, milk chocolate with cookie dust, and white chocolate with coffee and blueberries), and a melt-in-the-mouth mixed berry white chocolate ganache pie, and a bitter chocolate tea cake. All wonderful, and deliciously homemade, and all very us (even if we do say so ourselves).
For other would-be bakers she has this nugget of wisdom: “Don’t be afraid of kitchen disasters.. you may stumble upon something amazing.”
Want to make your own bark? You can reach Gitana at +91 98733 90485, drop her a line on Instagram @gitanasingh, or visit order.cocoabarkseries.com.