This patisserie lets you indulge in healthy desserts without guilt-tripping

Delhi-based Cocodate delivers a range of delicious treats that are free of refined flour, refined sugar, and other ingredients that are unhealthy.
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As the season of indulgence, this time of year can be difficult for those who are health-conscious or those who suffer from gluten allergies. Delhi-based patisserie Cocodate is here to help.

Launched in September 2021 by Avantika Sinha Bahl, who is also the founder of popular eateries Kampai, Mai Bao, and EBK Catering, Cocodate is a one-stop shop for healthy desserts. By using natural and healthier alternatives to traditional baking ingredients such as butter, refined sugar, cream and refined flour, Cocodate aims to shift the focus on to a healthier and more mindful pattern of consumption.

“I have always been passionate about healthy cooking and love experimenting with new flavours and cuisines in order to elevate healthy food to the next level. The idea for Cocodate was born during the lockdown when I decided to get certified as a vegan pastry chef and convert my passion into a new brand within my portfolio - a high end wellness based bakery brand called Cocodate,” says Avantika in a candid chat with YSWeekender.

The idea

With a bachelor’s degree in Design from NIFT, New Delhi, and a master’s in Luxury Brand Management from University of the Arts in London, cooking and baking were not Avantika’s initial career focus. She ventured into the food and beverage industry in 2018 with Kampai, a modern Japanese restaurant located in Worldmark 1 in Aerocity, Delhi.

Avantika Sinha Bahl

Inspired by its success, she opened Mai Bao in early 2021 as Delhi’s first restaurant serving Singaporean street food. Cocodate is her first experiment with a delivery-based format.

She explains, “The pandemic gave me a lot of time at home. I’ve always had a sweet tooth, but found it quite challenging to source desserts that were ‘healthier’ options. Refined flour, refined sugar, etc., don’t have any nutritional value. Hence, I decided to start experimenting with nutritional ingredients as replacements for traditional ones. Today, people have become very health conscious and are particular about what they’re consuming. The pandemic strengthened this further. This is why I feel now is the perfect time for Cocodate!”

Avantika was very clear from the start that she did not want to bring another ‘diet’ brand on the market. Cocodate was envisioned as a wellness bakery brand focussing on natural alternatives to traditional baking ingredients.

Each of the recipes on offer were curated by her after a year of vigorous research and multiple trials. She focussed on ingredients like almond flour, tapioca flour, sorghum flour, organic maple syrup, organic coconut oil, coconut sugar, dates, jaggery, raw khandsari sugar, coconut flour, oat flour, nut butters, premium nuts and seeds, ragi flour, nut milks, high quality couverture chocolate among others.

The products

Cocodate’s menu consists of products that are either gluten free or made with whole wheat flour. Its extensive selection offers a wide range of food products like cookies, tarts, brownies, blondies, tea cakes, celebration cakes, granola jars as well as specially curated gifting hampers.

Avantika names her signature items as the House Made Nutella Stuffed Hazelnut Cookies, Dark Chocolate & Salted Caramel Tart, Cinnamon Almond & Honey Tea Cake, the Ultimate Belgian Chocolate & Nut Cake, Lavender & Lemon Cake, Nutella & Hazelnut Praline Tart, Date & Walnut Cake, and Fudgy Dark Chocolate Brownies.

“Our tarts and brownies are definitely our signature items. We have a unique range of tarts, which took months to perfect. It was extremely challenging to get a perfect tart shell which is gluten free, as well as free of refined sugar and vegan. We experimented a lot with the fillings. Since there is no cream or butter, it took a lot of time to get the perfect texture. Our house made Nutella & Hazelnut Praline Tart is quite special. It is a four layered dessert with a flaky tart base, crunchy hazelnut praline, house made Nutella and a rich chocolate ganache,” shares Avantika.

Chocolate cake by Cocodate

The launch of Cocodate has been timed with the gifting season and it is offering a wide range of hampers and gifting products. Specially curated boxes offer a variety of combinations of their signature products. Their gifting range starts from Rs 2,700 and goes up to Rs 5,200.

The growth story

According to mordorintelligence.com, India’s gluten-free foods and beverages market is projected to value at $189 million in 2024 registering a CAGR of 8.7 percent. The largest market share of gluten free products consists of cookies, snacks, and bakery products such as breads, cakes, etc. Hence, the entry of Cocodate on the market at this period in time bodes well for its future success.

Since the brand was set up in Avantika’s pre-existing bakery kitchen, which has been running their large catering business and restaurants, she did not have to put in much for infrastructure. Her initial investment was mainly on research and development, packaging, marketing and manpower, and has been around Rs 7-10 lakh so far.

Avantika maintains that there aren’t any brands like hers in the market at the moment. The only competition is with a few quality driven bakeries, which she personally admires such as Miam Patisserie.

“A Mumbai-based brand I personally look up to a lot is ‘An Ode to Gaia’. I love what they’ve done by transforming the world of baking with a strictly vegan menu,” she says with candour.

As a niche service, Cocodate has faced its fair share of challenges. Avantika says it will take a lot of education for people to understand that their products are free of many of the nasty ingredients that are present in traditional baked goods. Another challenge they faced was with the pricing, which is on the higher side since the ingredients are more expensive.

However, the appreciation she receives from her customers makes up for these difficulties. “Receiving my first award in 2019 by Times Food and Nightlife Guide was my first big recognition. Since then my restaurants have been recognised and awarded by several platforms. I was recently awarded by the Economic Times as 40 under 40 F&B leaders, which was quite exciting! I have also recently been appointed by the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) as a member of their management committee, which is a huge honour,” she shares with pride.

Cocodate currently takes delivery orders across Delhi NCR, and caters for large orders for celebrations, private events, and high-tea soirées. Plans for pop-ups with similar brands are also in the works.

“Cocodate is a celebration of healthy pastry and dessert-making art, which I’m sure our patrons will love. We are eager to bring a slice of this healthy and mindful experience to the capital,” Avantika signs off. 
Edited by Megha Reddy

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