La Maison du Chocolat, the French luxury chocolate brand, has just introduced its first plant-based chocolate collection. Made entirely from natural vegan ingredients, the launch of the brand’s Naturellement Fruit box marks a turning point in the high-end chocolate world, in yet another signal of the sweeping impact the plant-based movement is making across the entire food industry.
French chocolatier La Maison du Chocolat has rolled out a new Naturellement Fruit gift box, comprising vegan versions of the brand’s most iconic fruity ganaches. Headed by Chef Nicolas Cloiseau, who dabbled with butter and cream-free chocolates back in 2018 when he launched the Bien-Être collection, the new range removes honey as an ingredient and is now entirely free from all animal byproducts, instead “multiplying the fruit by two”.
According to the luxury chocolate maker, “everything had to be redesigned, reworked down to the last detail” to recreate the iconic fruit ganaches – Salvador, Andalousie, Maracuja, Chiberta or Noir de Cassis – using a 100% plant-based recipe, made in their Nanterre-based atelier and separate from other non-vegan batches.
Taking the place of honey are vegan sweeteners like agave and maple syrup, while plant-based fats like hazelnut oil and coconut milk took the place of butter and dairy milk to give each chocolate the desired creaminess.
Cloiseau also made use of natural chicory fibre, which helped to “add structure to the texture” in the new vegan ganaches that are bursting with fruity flavours like blackcurrant, orange, lemon, passion fruit, and raspberry.
First launched in its domestic market in France in May this year, the collection is now being released in the U.S. and Hong Kong. A spokesperson for La Maison du Chocolat told Green Queen Media that it’ll also be available in Japan by August 2021.
With plant-based retail sales hitting US$7 billion in the U.S. for the first time in 2020, the brand’s launch is a timely move to respond to a fast-growing consumer trend taking hold across almost every sector of the food industry. Chocolate sales have also been rising amid the pandemic, with a third of shoppers recently reporting increased consumption over the past months in a Cargill survey.
Vegan chocolates have long been around, with even big confectionary companies like KitKat, Twix and Hershey’s on board and a whole host of plant-based chocolate startups like Happiness in Plants and Fellow Creatures, but the US$29 billion premium chocolate market has remained relatively slow to change.
The latest move by La Maison du Chocolat – one of the most recognisable boutique chocolate chains in the world – suggests that now, the sector isn’t immune to the trend.
Fellow French chocolate brand Edwart Chocolatier has also taken the plant-based leap recently, debuting a vegan ganache selection in 2020, featuring a creative mix of hibiscus, pepper and freshly roasted coffee among its ingredients, while British label Hotel Chocolat has continually added new 100% plant-based collections to its range in recent years.
All images courtesy of La Maison du Chocolat.