The Chocolatiers of Bahrain

, Q&A

May Mahmoud and Tariq Mahmoud acquired a penchant for combining flavours from their childhood experiences at Tariq Pastries. In 2015, they launched Bare Chocolate to use food, especially premium chocolate, as a catalyst to bridge the gap between cultures. They talk to Gulf Life.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and Bare Chocolate.

Tariq: My sister May (who is a trained pastry chef) and I launched Bare Chocolate in 2015, with the founding principles that our chocolate be organic, GMO free and FairTrade certified. All bars are produced in Switzerland and we currently have 12 flavours. Currently, you can find Bare chocolates in over 100 supermarkets in Bahrain. The company was born out of a simple idea: To create a selection of chocolate bars featuring local flavours made with a combination of all-natural ingredients and the classic techniques of Swiss chocolatiers.

How long have you been working with chocolate?

May: We’ve been developing a knowledge of chocolate since childhood.

What’s the flavour profile of the chocolate you use as a base?

May: When it comes to flavour profiles, dark chocolate is our favourite by far. At Bare, our premium dark chocolate comes with a high percentage of cacao, which contains a multitude of vitamins as well as calcium, magnesium, potassium and iron.

How do you come up with flavour combinations for your sweets? Where does your inspiration come from?

May: We initially launched with a small selection of flavours that would appeal to diverse consumers. They included dark chocolate infused with organic orange, candied ginger, lemon and black pepper. We are constantly experimenting with new flavours, especially those reflecting the Gulf’s culinary traditions. Our intent is to expand the line thoughtfully and strive for a great tasting chocolate bar.

What is the most difficult part of vegan chocolate making process and why?

Tariq: Making vegan chocolate in and of itself is not difficult for us, because Bare Chocolate doesn’t contain any emulsifiers, stabilisers, or flavour enhancers to begin with. That’s where the risk lies.

May:When most people think of a vegan diet, they assume chocolate is the first thing to go, which isn’t necessarily the case. Vegan chocolates basically use cacao butter as an alternative for dairy. The challenge is to come up with the right balance and combination of ingredients and flavours.

Favourite food/drink to pair with your chocolate?

May: Strawberries, oranges and blueberries work well with white chocolate. It also pairs well with Matcha tea or Colombian coffee. Dark chocolate works well with sweet or tangy foods and spicier flavours like ginger, wasabi and jalapeno peppers. It also pairs wonderfully with figs, grapes, goat cheese, Parmesan and aged gouda. It also combines well with teas such as Earl Grey and Assam Tea.

If you had to take one of your chocolates to a desert island with you, which one would you choose?

Tariq: I would choose our unique Lemon Pepper and Ginger chocolate. It’s a dark chocolate, and my favourite.

What is your USP?

Our USP is our ingredients. We use only organic ingredients and deal only with Fair Trade approved suppliers. All our chocolates have cocoa as the main ingredient and the sugar we use is organic raw cane sugar or from pressed cane juice.

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