Late last year, Dana Askhar founded Caho Chocolate to improve the health of her community and offer kinder chocolate for UAE residents. Askhar has spoken out about her compassionate business, its first store Dubai’s Silicon Oasis, and how its treats are combating disease in a new interview with Khaleej Times.
“My family has a history of diabetes, thyroid, and other inherited diseases. Also, consuming milk and other dairy products triggered an asthma attack in my daughter,” Askhar told the local news outlet. “Most products in the market did not taste good, were expensive and contained preservatives. I wanted to bring more awareness about making healthy choices. So, I decided to create vegan, sugar-free chocolates without any preservatives where all the ingredients are ethically sourced.”
Askhar is a certified life coach and Theta Healer who has made her work marry with her natural disposition for enhancing the well-being of all. She notes her customers are not only sweet-toothed members of the growing Dubai vegan community, but also consumers actively seeking healthier treats. The chocolate company even runs a door delivery program and vegan chocolate subscription program.
“Chocolate in our region looks and tastes extremely boring,” Askhar commented. “Chocolatiers and chocolate retailers are mainly focused on [the] lavish presentation of chocolate, rather than focusing on taste and quality. At Caho, we focus on sustainable ingredients and intense flavors for our chocolate, by infusing our products with wellness-promoting ingredients such as high-quality cocoa and freeze-dried fruits.”
Fellow Dubai-based chocolatier Mirzam Chocolate Makers recently launched a new line of vegan chocolate-covered dates for the Islamic holiday Ramadan. For the same holiday, vegan Iftars (sunset meal to break the fast observation) have been more popular than ever before in Dubai, according to many local businesses and timely pop-ups.
In late May, Koita Foods, an organic Italian dairy milk company based in Dubai, announced a fresh line of vegan milk products to cater to the nondairy market. It began retailing organic almond, oat, soy, and rice milk. The country’s interest in veganism was recently boosted following controversy over meat products such as the protein being extracted from animal carcass dumping grounds in West Bengal.
Image Credit: Caho Chocolate