For the love of chocolates

Romantic, caramelized and earthy – who doesn’t love chocolates? Ahead of World Chocolate Day (July 7), learn about India’s love affair with this versatile food.

According to IMARC Group, a market research agency, the Indian chocolate market reached a value of $2.2 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach $3.8 billion by 2027. Driven by factors such as changing lifestyles, westernization, the growth of the food service industry, chocolate has given traditional sweets a run for their money. From fusion dishes to preparations with a healthy twist, there are plenty of options for everyone.

“There are three main varieties of chocolate: dark chocolate, milk chocolate and white chocolate. All three come either in the form of bars, pralines or truffles. It can be mixed with cream, condensed milk, caramel chips, salt, fruit purees, dried fruits, etc. and more recently, with spices and chilli too. It can be flavored, glazed, colored and decorated. The growing demand is not surprising as its variations ensure there is something for everyone,” says Pierre Nevanen, Executive Chef of L’Opéra.

This versatility is enhanced by the fact that chocolate can be paired with the most unlikely ingredients. “I spend a lot of time researching and finding new combinations and ingredients to create with chocolate. The best are dark chocolate with Monterey Jack or jalapenos, white chocolate with brie cheese or wasabi, and milk chocolate with curry powder or asiago cheese,” says Rahul Chahar, Head Baker, Taj Mahal, New Delhi.

Not only in sweets, it can also be used for savory dishes. “I made chocolate lamb, where the meat was slow cooked and the sauce was finished with dark chocolate. The vegetarian version was with cauliflower and jackfruit. We also created eggplant with cocoa powder, an interesting accompaniment with meat dishes,” says Chef Vanshika Bhatia of OMO, Gurugram. The restaurant sources cocoa beans from Idukki and Kerala for a unique flavor.

For fitness buffs, who want to indulge in some guilt-free snacking without ruining their health cards, chef Reetu Uday Kugaji has a host of options. Dark Chocolate Rose Roasted Almond Pudding, No-Egg No-Bake Dessert (recipe below), and Dark Chocolate Honey Brownies are healthy dishes to make. “Chocolate is indeed healthy, but any excess is bad. Use unsweetened dark chocolate to get it without ruining your diet,” says Chef Bhatia.

Basic things to remember when working with chocolate

1. When working with chocolate, make sure all your surfaces and tools are completely dry.

2. Do not stir your melted chocolate with a metal spoon – the cold could “shock” your chocolate.

3. Keep in mind that white chocolate can be a little harder to work with, as it burns much more easily.

4. If you notice your chocolate has a dull white or gray, don’t worry! It’s called “bloom” and can simply be recast.

5. If it bends or crumbles, either the quality is poor or the chocolate is old.

Rahul Chahar, head baker

Dark chocolate, roasted almonds and rose pudding

RECIPE

Dark chocolate, toasted almonds and rose pudding

Ingredients and quantity:

Whole milk, cold – 2 cups

Rolled oats, powdered – 2 tbsp.

Unique Cream -180 ml.

Dark chocolate, melted – ½ cup

Dark chocolate, coarsely chopped – ½ cup.

Toasted, unsalted and split/coarsely chopped almonds – 24 nos.

Rose powder, edible – ½ tsp.

Sea salt – a pinch / as needed

Brown sugar – 1 tbsp.

Soft unsalted butter – 2 tbsp

For garnish :

Edible rose petals – 02 tbsp.

Toasted almonds, slivered – 04 tbsp.

Method:

In a glass, take about 1/2 cup of cold milk, whisk the oatmeal into a powder, making sure it is lump free.

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the whipped oatmeal milk and add the remaining milk.

Add to this the cream, sugar, fleur de sel and melted dark chocolate. Whisk well until well blended.

Cook over low heat for 2 minutes or until the mixture becomes slightly thickened. Add the toasted almonds and the edible rose powder.

Remove from the heat and immediately stir in the coarsely chopped dark chocolate and unsalted butter so that they melt and combine fully.

Pour the mixture into verrines / transparent cups / pie molds.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and serve chilled garnished with edible rose petals and slivered almonds.

Reetu Uday Kugaji, culinary expert


  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Ruchika Garg writes about art and culture, for Entertainment & Lifestyle daily supplement, HT City
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