Who doesn’t love chocolates? And, of late, there have been quite a few locally owned businesses that manufacture really good quality chocolates that can rival international brands. Shreistee Adhikari, one of the founders and manufacturers of Ecstasy Chocolates, says that they focus on great taste and smooth quality while making chocolates and claims that a taste of their chocolate will have chocoholics hooked to it.
Started in late 2018, Ecstasy Chocolates is the brainchild of Shreistee, her younger sister Celeste Pokhrel, and a few of their friends. After completing her bachelor’s degree, she was searching for an entrepreneurship niche that she could start working on when she realized that she could work with her sister Celeste to start a chocolate brand.
Celeste, who calls herself a choco-maniac, had been trying her hand at making confectioneries (especially chocolates) for a long time. Shreistee confesses that she had been pleasantly surprised at the quality and taste of the chocolates made by Celeste whenever she tasted them. The two sisters discussed this idea among themselves and started working on the launch of a chocolate brand almost immediately. Amidst all of this, Nikesh Adhikari, Aftab Alam, and Suman Adhikari also joined their team.
“The thing I was worried about the most was money,” says Shreistee adding, “We didn’t want to ask our parents to fund this since we wanted to run the venture independently but all five of us were students who – at the time – didn’t have any stable source of income.” Fortunately, the five of them collectively had around Rs 250,000 saved up and they used that to proceed with their plans. They created a makeshift production room in one of the spare bedrooms in Shreistee’s family house and started making the chocolates.
Because Celeste was already skilled at making chocolates, they could come up with a their standard recipe pretty quickly but Celeste mentions that she had to tweak the initial recipe around quite a bit after tasting the chocolates (made from those recipes) before settling on the final perfected recipe. The other members of the Ecstasy Chocolates team also spent hours researching how to create fine chocolate and shared their findings and tips with Celeste every now and then. Shreistee says all the effort was worth it since she’s very happy with how their chocolates have turned out.
Right now, Ecstasy Chocolates makes two types of chocolates, dark and white, and the customers can choose between three different flavors – butterscotch, vanilla and coffee – for the fillings in these chocolates. The chocolates come in three standard packaging – smalll, medium and large. The small packet consists of seven pieces of chocolates and is priced at Rs 200, the medium packet has 15 pieces of chocolates and is priced at Rs 400, and the celebratory packet has 23 pieces of chocolates priced at Rs 600.
Nikesh mentions that customers can also place customized orders if they want something other than these standard orders and flavors. Celeste believes that Ecstasy Chocolates make the best gifts and reveals that they also have a special packaging in case anyone is ordering these chocolates as a gift.
Shreistee mentions that their team often gets complaints from customers outside Kathmandu regarding how some chocolates are squished during delivery. The reason behind this, Shreistee says, is because the filling isn’t encased in hard chocolate shells. Instead the chocolate covering the filling is soft and smooth. There might not be much that can be done to prevent the chocolates from getting squished just a little but that doesn’t affect the overall taste of the product. Another good thing is that the chocolates don’t have added preservatives yet they can be stored and consumed for six months post their manufacture date.
What’s more, the chocolates are manufactured with extreme care. Celeste and Shreistee make the chocolates themselves. They prepare the chocolate mix and the fillings and fill them into the shape molds and all of it takes quite a bit of time. Nikesh does the packaging, Aftab looks after the marketing, and Suman directs the orders. Shreistee mentions that since Suman is currently studying in Australia, he can’t actively help out but he surely does his bit in ensuring smooth transaction.
Although Ecstasy Chocolates mostly gets online orders via Facebook and Instagram, they are available at many local stores, marts and department stores around Kathmandu. Shreistee mentions that an uncle of hers, who runs a souvenir shop in Pokhara, also sells these chocolates there and that the Ecstasy Chocolates team participates in local fairs and events to promote their product among the masses.
Although Ecstasy Chocolate’s online customers are urged to order at least a day or two prior to when they need the chocolates to be delivered, you can also ask for immediate delivery and they will comply. The team is also working on opening an outlet in Thamel in the near future so that people can drop by and sample their chocolates. “That should make things far more easier for those who like to see things before they purchase them as well as for us as we would like to get active feedback,” concludes Shreistee.