Meet Aneesh Popat

February 07, 2023

Aneesh Popat is a self-taught chocolatier in London with a degree in Mathematics and background in Philosophy. He fell in love with chocolate due to its unique qualities and has dedicated himself to perfecting his skills, constantly learning and researching the industry. He was inspired by his grandmother, a master cook who fuses Eastern flavors with chocolate. With guidance from a MOF Chocolatier and support from the industry, Aneesh continues to strive for excellence in his craft.

Original Beans interviewed Aneesh to give you a glimpse into his kitchen. Discover the behind-the-scenes secrets of how he serves you the best pralines for Valentine's Day and the rest of the year.  

Can you tell us a little about your background and how you became a chef?
I am born in London and Indian by heritage. I have a degree in Mathematics and studied Philosophy in India post graduating. I fell in love with chocolate because of its unique ability to be all of; delicious as an ingredient, scientific by nature and also versatile in its functionality as a material for art and sculpting. I am self-taught and have spent years perfecting my chocolate making skills and am very much a student today striving for that perfection. I love learning and spend almost all of my free time researching chocolate, techniques and skills to further advance my craft. I have had the privilege to spend time with a MOF Chocolatier who guided me in the art of sculpting in chocolate and the industry at large has been incredibly supportive and generous with its knowledge. My greatest inspiration has been my grandmother who I grew up around – she is a master cook and has an intuitive understanding of spices and even to do this day she experiments in her small kitchen, fusing eastern flavours with chocolate.

How do you approach truffle creation and ingredient selection?

The French chemist ‘Herve This’ inspired me to use water with chocolate instead of cream and butter as described in his book “Molecular Gastronomy”. I have been in touch with him since and he as generous as ever with his knowledge. Using water instead of cream and butter for my chocolates was a natural step for the reasons that firstly it gave transparency in flavor and opened up the nuances and notes in the origin chocolates that we use, and secondly it gave a great health benefit as there is significantly less fat and calories in the chocolate truffle. The genius in Herve This’s method is that we are making an emulsion between the fat in chocolate and with water, and so the ganache will feel creamy. Water being flavourless means that all there is to taste is chocolate and the ingredients paired with it and therefore, it is imperative to use fine chocolate which boasts an abundance of natural, complex and delicate flavours.

Can you tell us about a particularly memorable dish or experience 
from your career as a chef?

A memorable project from my career was creating a selection of chocolates inspired by flavours from Queen Elizabeth II’s British Isles in partnership with Fortnum & Mason to celebrate Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee. We sourced ingredients such as Tayberry, British roses, Kentish cobnuts, Welsh Honey and Jersey cream to create chocolate fit for a Queen!

How do you incorporate sustainable and/or ethically sourced ingredients into your truffle creations?

By using original beans! It is really important to The Chocolatier company mission: “Changing the World one chocolate a time”, that simply by eating our chocolates, collectively we are improving our impact to 100% regenerative cacao, improving the strength of the wild where the cacao comes from and in doing so supporting the wildlife and people who depend upon it.

Why do you enjoy working with Original Beans chocolate?

What I love most about working with Original Beans chocolates are the incredible flavour profiles whilst having a positive impact towards 100% regenerative cacao. When I open a bag of Original Beans chocolate, the intense aroma of chocolate reminds me of the distant lands where the cacao grows in the wild jungles and gardens, and the benefit the wildlife and nature enjoy from the sincere efforts of preservation.

Can you share a cooking tip you wish you knew when you started working with chocolate? 

I am glad that I did not have the benefit of any knowledge before starting working with chocolate. Being self-taught means my methods are rogue and natural. I have not followed conventional methods entirely and I have had to learn through trial and error which has allowed me to truly understand the characteristics and behaviours of chocolate in various environments and situations. I think it is important to not be overwhelmed by the books out there teaching about chocolate making as they can seem very academic and also make working with chocolate seem far too complicated and unapproachable. The best tip I suppose is to buy some chocolate, start melting and just have fun experimenting!

Can you tell us about any upcoming projects or events that you're excited about?

I am excited to have launched the new 9 chocolate boxes range this year, offering a great gifting and self-indulgence chocolate range. We have everything from the finest single origin milk and dark chocolate truffles to the ultimate snacking caramel rocher pralines and seasonal treats too such as strawberry and vanilla ganache hearts, gananche filled Easter eggs and a Christmas inspired chocolate truffle collection.

Esmeraldas Coast, Ecuador.
Silky notes of caramel and salt float through this chocolate from rare Arriba cacao like a cloud forest’s mist where tree frogs bask.

  • Vegan

  • Climate +

  • Fair +

  • Zero Waste