Karnataka will soon get its first official chocolate park at Kavu, near Puttur (Dakshina Kannada district) on the Madikeri-Mangaluru road. This is a place where people can walk in to have a first-hand experience of how chocolates are made as well as have the first bite of the just-made chocolate.
Kishore Kumar Kodgi, president of Central Arecanut and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Cooperative Limited (CAMPCO) said, “To know more about chocolates, people go all the way to Ooty or Mahabaleshwar because we didn’t have such a facility in Karnataka. As per the directives of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), we are not even allowed to entertain visitors into our chocolate facility.
However, since we were getting a lot of calls from the people to know more about chocolates, we decided to open the state’s first chocolate park. This park will not only give visitors a taste of chocolates but will also enhance their knowledge about their favourite treat. The chocolate park has been approved by the CAMPCO board and they are now scouting for consultants to execute it.
Kodgi said that currently, they are building a huge godown (to store cacao, arecanut and pepper) spread over 2.5 acres at a cost of Rs 30 crore while the chocolate park will cost Rs 3 to Rs 4 crore. The chocolate park will also have other features like artificial falls, a theme park and other facilities.
He said that this park would boost tourism as many chocolate aficionados were going to other states to visit chocolate parks, like the one in Ooty which is a big draw. The godown will be inaugurated by March and the work on the chocolate park is set to begin in the first week of April. Currently, CAMPCO has a chocolate factory near Puttur where 23 varieties of chocolate are made.
Sources also said that the chocolate park was being established on the Madikeri-Manglauru highway, so that it would be close to many tourist destinations. They hope that many people from Bengaluru will also head to Dakshina Kannada to visit the chocolate park instead of going to neighbouring states.