Tag Archives: chocolates

Indulge your taste buds, luxuriously

One does not really need an excuse to bite into a piece of sinful decadence – chocolates, I mean. I can never say no to chocolates. But yes, it is not every chocolate that I enjoy. The percentage of cocoa solids and sugar, matters to me, as this indicates the quality and taste of the chocolate. After all, the higher the cocoa content, the less sugar it contains and the more ‘chocolatey’ it’s going to be.

The epitome of chocolate for most chocolate lovers is the indulgent chocolate cake. But today, there’s more to chocolates than just that. Having tasted  many a luxury chocolate across the world, when I tried, Fabelle, our very own desi luxury brand of chocolates,  from ITC, I could safely say they had raised the bar. From now on, it is going to be difficult settling for any other.

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A visit to the Fabelle, exclusive boutique at ITC Maratha Mumbai, was a revelation of sorts. Fabelle chocolates have been in the making for almost a decade, with extensive research and innumerable trials in the company’s pursuit to craft the finest luxury chocolates in India that  compete with the best in the world. Fabelle has been created by  international chefs together with ITC master chocolatiers. Small wonder then that the end product is a piece de resistance.

 

The range of Fabelle creations  I experienced, were overwhelming. Fabelle Elements – intricately crafted pralines inspired by the elements of nature, Fabelle Ganache – velvety soft cubes of exotic cocoas delicately churned with butter & fresh cream, Fabelle As You Like It – personalized chocolate cup creations offering myriad possibilities of fillings and toppings, Fabelle Single Origin Cacoas – single origin bars, crafted using cocoa from 6 different countries (Madagascar, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Ecuador, Sao Tome and Ghana), each asserting its own distinct flavour and Fabelle Gianduja – recreation of an Italian delicacy from the Napoleon era fashioned with infusion of hazelnuts into rich, creamy milk chocolate.

 

I was in a trance, mesmerized and my palate awash with decadence. It was difficult to decide which one I had relished the most. But yes, my instant vote went to the apple and cinnamon ganache. Those flavours, so intricately combined, plunged me into a coma, hitherto unknown to me.

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The chefs at the Fabelle boutique enthralled us with their artistic creations, poetry on plate to say the least.

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A chocolate made from a single cocoa sourced from a single country, imparts a distinct characteristic and flavour which is unparalleled. Undoubtedly, chocolates made from blended cocoas cannot match this perfection. The cocoa % in these dark chocolate bars starts from 67% right up to 84% for the chocolate bar made from Ghana cocoa.The Fabelle Single Origins Cacaos – Rich Dark Chocolates were just that and stood apart, like none other. Each pack of Fabelle Single Origin Cacaos is a collection of 6 carefully crafted chocolate dark bars, each perfectly sized for a single serving. This is the most coveted box, a chocolate lover can possess.

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The chocolate boutiques also provide a range of exquisitely crafted desserts and cocoa beverages, created live by Fabelle Master Chocolatiers. Additionally,  one can pick up  the exquisite gift packs too for friends and family.

I left the Fabelle boutique, in a trance and of course with my dessert quota for the week. With the best around, there was no way I was not going to give into my guilty pleasures.

 

With the launch of the chocolate boutiques at ITC Maratha & ITC Central in Mumbai, Fabelle  is now present nationally across Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai & Kolkata.

So indulge all ye chocolate lovers!

Rating : 4.5/5

 

 

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The Cocoa-Tease

Somethings don’t change and that includes my sweet tooth!

I’ve been a cocoa addict, ever since I can remember. Yes, I have been hooked to this, “Food of the Gods,” for various reasons, but most of all for its elixir like qualities.

Loaded with medicinal properties, Cocoa reduces levels of stress hormones in the body and is used to treat ailments and maladies.

With anti-inflammatory, anti-allergenic, anti-carcinogenic and antioxidant qualities, the health benefits include relief from high blood pressure, cholesterol, obesity, constipation, diabetes, bronchial asthma, cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome and various neuro- degenerative diseases. It is also beneficial for quick wound healing, skin care, and it helps to improve cardiovascular as well as brain health. Whew! some benefits those!

With so many benefits, who would not indulge in the goodness of Cocoa? And with Cocoatease just a hop away from my place, I was delighted to gorge on some goodies.

Their range is simply marvellous. Their English Toffees with Almond, Hazelnut and Pistachio variants are crisp caramels wrapped in silky smooth chocolate and nuts. The Date Truffles are deliciously treated Turkish date morsels coated with chocolate and nuts, they too, are available in Almond and Pistachio variants.

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Then there is the classic Almond Rocks and Rochers which are basically morsels of goodness, packed with either nuts or dry fruits like figs and coated with pure chocolate.

Apart from this the place has a range of cakes and brownies. The cocoa used in these Cocoatease products are of premium quality and they taste luxuriously splendid.

So enjoy some cocoa. And with the festive season round the corner, a guilt-free, heavenly, flavourful and beneficial bite of cocoa is good for everyone. Be generous and share some of the gift packs they have and trust me there is an array to choose from.

 

Chocolicious!

ROYCE’ Chocolate recently launched its second retail space at the Bombay Baking Company, JW Marriott Mumbai. It is a haven for chocolate lovers. There are decadent chocolates, for every palate The first-of-its-kind chocolate pairing menu, was launched, of which, I was lucky to get a sneak preview. And wow it was, to say the least.

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The fruity, citrus flavour of Twinings 2nd Flush Darjeeling Tea when paired with Royce Pure Chocolate “Venezuela Bitter” was the perfect harmony between bitter and sweet. The contrast in the two flavours was so evident on the palate and yet, they complimented each other.

Next came the ROYCE’ Baton “Hazel Cacao” Cookies with espresso. No chance of going wrong here. Coffee and chocolate are old friends. The acid-bitter balance and an aromatic blend of coffee and cocoa swept me off my feet.

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Our next stop was the Reflections Bar. There we relished the chocolate-based cocktails such as Chocolate D’zire, a sweet concoction of Chocolate Syrup, Vodka and Amaretto served in a martini glass with a piece of melt in the mouth ROYCE’ Nama “Mild Cacao” as well as the  Singleton “18” single malt, paired with ROYCE’ “Criollo Bitter”, the worlds rarest cacao bean. The complex and distinctive flavours of the Criollo were balanced perfectly, by the subtle fruity notes of the Singleton 18. A winning combination again! Executive Chef Himanshu Taneja painstakingly explained the pairings as did the ROYCE’ team.

The brand’s unique Japanese identity and its focus on quality, intricacy and innovation was experienced through and through that evening.

ROYCE’ was launched in India in July 2013 with a flagship store at Palladium, Lower Parel, Mumbai. Burgundy Hospitality, a first-of-its-kind fine foods and luxury gourmet venture by Avani Raheja and Samir Gadhok, is the partner for this unique brand of artisanal chocolates in India. Way to go guys!

 

 

Chocolicious!

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I have a weakness for chocolates. Who doesn’t actually?

Yes chocolates are synonymous only with desserts, but believe you me, this versatile ingredient, can very well be used in starters, in the main course too and yes, for savoury dishes as well.

Blessed with a sweet tooth, I have always gorged on chocolates since my childhood, but almost always, as desserts. It is only now that one encounters other dishes made of chocolate.

Chocolate in Mexican dishes, is commonplace, but now our Indian chefs too have taken to it, for a variety of cuisines. Dark chocolate however, is the most commonly used by Chefs in cooking. Its silky texture compliments meat dishes, thus enhancing their flavour Trust me, dark chocolate blends well with other ingredients and yet, helps them to retain their flavour, without compromising on its individuality.

 

Vasant Khot, Pastry Chef, Holiday Inn Mumbai International Airport goes a step further and says, “It is for a chef to use chocolate differently. I love to experiment and thus have made chocolate hummus, prawn chocolate cocktail, chocolate & corn samosa, spinach & chocolate herb polenta served with white chocolate & sesame tossed squids and chocolate red chilly mascarpone puff. These excite the palate and leave the guest wanting more.”

Don’t go overboard. Use chocolate carefully and in small measure. Don’t go overboard, as too much of it can ruin the flavour of a dish completely. Chocolate teams well with spices like cardamom, cinnamon, chili, mace and lends dishes a unique texture and aroma. Perhaps that is why it has been brought into Indian cuisine too. Some chefs have used it in aloo dum and chicken tikka as well.

Cocoa powder and unsweetened chocolate are not sweet at all and have more of a true chocolate quality, so you want to bring out those natural flavours instead of making them reminiscent of the sweet side of chocolate we know and love.

Oriental cuisine too has used chocolate. I have savoured Chocolate Kumquat spring rolls, which are like cylindrical molten cakes with warm chocolate oozing out of a crisp pastry shell.

We Goans, make our pancakes, stuffed with coconut and Goa jaggery. I think these can easily be replaced with chocolate. Another sure hit with chocolate would be ‘patoleos’ (sweet pancakes of moong dal, coconut and jaggery, steamed in turmeric leaves) which we make on August 15.  I am going to try some this weekend.