Voted as one of the 1000 most influential Londoners, founder Aneesh Popat is an award-winning chocolatier and an ambassador of fine chocolate. His clientele includes royalty, Michelin starred restaurants, luxury hotels, department stores and leading global brands.
Aneesh joined us foraging on Hampstead Heath where we were all amazed by the variety of scents and tastes to be discovered growing wild in London as we created a series of fragrances inspired by the beauty in the ordinary. This led to the creation of our FORAGE chocolate collection.
At Miller Harris, we are always seeking ways to tell our stories in different ways. Taste is the closest sense to scent and these new chocolate interpretations of our FORAGE range speak more words than could be said, they describe the fragrances through another sense and can be experienced in-store now.
We sit down with Aneesh to find out more about the master chocolatier behind these incredible new treats, and discover how he brought our Forage fragrances to life with flavour.
It’s every kid’s dream, making chocolate for a living! How did the Chocolatier come about?
A wise person once told - you will only earn money to pay your bills and to spend it to be happy, be that charity. Then why spend your life doing something that you do not enjoy just to earn money which you will spend to make yourself happy? Instead, do something you love and you will already be happy and if successful then you can afford to make a positive difference.
Can you tell us about your process? How do you decide what flavours you want to use, is it experimental or do you go in knowing what you want to achieve?
Combining flavours is very much about experimentation. It requires some understanding of the desired result but when several flavours come together they often surprise with new flavour profiles. - which is where we really want to be going. Discovery.
Is scent something you think about in your work?
Always. We do almost all of our tasting through smell, both under our nose and once we are eating too - everything happens through scent.
Could you tell us a bit about each of the Forage Chocolates you have created with us?
DANCE - this chocolate for me was about being light and fresh - cardamom and fennel brought this characteristic out.
HIDDEN - In HIDDEN I found the more bitter notes more interesting but at the same time zesty zingy freshness - that moment spring is about to come to life.
WANDER - This was about abundance - the freshness of citrus notes from the Mandarin and overgrown shrubs of crisp tangy fruits in the blackcurrant.
LOST - Rhubarb played a prominent role here and is seen in the chocolate as the last flavour to appear after the rose and bergamot have subsided. That delicious acidity pushing its way through the dark chocolate.
The Chocolatier mission is to ‘change the world one chocolate at a time’. Do you believe brands have a social and environmental responsibility?
I firmly believe that, collectively, mindful business can flick a switch and change the world in an instance. By contributing and supporting to our fellow communities and by rejecting methods harmful to the environment we can drive change.
Favourite thing about living/working in London?
London is one of the greenest cities and I love the many avenues and parks. Having been foraging I now see the world as a big salad - it is truly remarkable how many things around us are edible - moreover are delicious too!
Where is the most unusual place you’ve found inspiration?
The most unusual place was on the project - we gathered near a pond where swans were nesting. Most were throwing seeds and bread to the bird and leisurely walking by on the walks. Next to where we were stood were a row of bushes. The guide got us to take a leaf each and eat this weed - and whoosh! The most delicious taste of fresh wasabi... I did not expect to get that heat and mustard flavour from a plant otherwise seen by us all as a common weed.
What’s your go-to sweet treat?
My go-to has to be a milk chocolate bar studded with roasted hazelnuts!
Is there a smell that holds significance to you or reminds you of a particular point in your life?
Chocolate cake coming out of the oven. This is very different from chocolate itself. Chocolate cake throws volumes of cocoa and vanilla flavours into the air. Walking into the home on a dark wet night to the waft of chocolate cake is one of the most beautiful food moments of my life and I am sure of many others too.
Find out more about Aneesh over on his website here. You can purchase our Forage Fragrances and chocolate in stores now!