Dark, white, milk, sugar-free or vegan... how long can you go without having a bite of chocolate? In 2018, India’s chocolate market reached a value of USD 1,495 million, becoming one of the world’s fastest growing markets for chocolates.
With increasing disposable income and changing lifestyles, the trend of gifting chocolates is replacing the exchange of traditional Indian sweets during occasions.
And this surge in the sale of chocolates is keeping the city’s chocolatiers on their toes.
Unlike any other food, chocolate symbolises luxury, comfort, sensuality, gratification, and love, believes Pastry Chef Sandeep Kanojia of The Imperial New Delhi.
“Consumers now want healthy and unique recipes, so my innovations are always based on their feedback. This, in turn, helps me to come up with a range of chocolates blended with exotic flavours like flowers, fruits, seeds and tea,” he says, adding how the concept of health has trickled down to even desserts.
“Palates have become accustomed to diverse flavours as people are now more than willing to experiment,” notes Devender Bungla, Corporate Pastry Chef, Hyatt Regency, adding, “Matcha is undoubtedly the biggest food trend of 2019. Apart from being delicious, it is also rich in antioxidants, vitamin C and fibre.”
For Chef Utkarsh Bhalla, Brand chef of Sly Granny Delhi and Hotel Delmaar, it is the finest varieties of cocoa from India and around the world that continues to inspire him in creating new recipes.
“Blending chocolate with spices, flowers, fruits and alcohol, to create unique flavour profiles has always been fun.
"Take, for example, blending chocolate with either lavender, chipotle, saffron, cardamom, earl grey tea or simply making a champagne truffle – a blend of fresh cream, butter and chocolate with a champagne cream centre, dusted with confectionary sugar,” he says, creating yummy visuals in your mind.
His season’s special is a Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake with buttercream frosting and white chocolate soil.
Chocolate sushi too has become part of this choco fever, as Chef Sagar Bajaj of Plum by Bentchair and Dragonfly, has created his own Nutella Banana Sushi.
“Modern chocolate sundaes, decadent chocolate mousse with vegan milk, hot chocolate almond soufflé seem to be trending this season. We are going innovative by stuffing chocolate Nutella with a banana in sushi.
"The amalgamation of rice, banana and Nutella is one of the most innovative sushi, and for sure – the most worthy combination.”
Chef Anas Qureshi of Molecule Air Bar, has explored regional produce, spices and herbs to create a plethora of tastes and flavours unique to every area.
“This season, I am working on a lot of new combinations with chocolate. I recently combined Cuban tobacco soaked single malt whisky and chocolate,” says Qureshi.
Delhi’s biggest Swiss Roll
Olive Qutub is celebrating the World Chocolate Day by setting a record of making Delhi’s Biggest Swiss Roll.
The week-long celebration begins today with a decadent chocolate brunch, specially curated sinful chocolate-based cocktails, special chocolate Amuse Bouche and Petit Four in association with a homegrown chocolatier All Things.
Elaborating further, Dhruv Oberoi, Head Chef, Olive Qutub, says, “For me chocolate, milk and malt is the perfect match in heaven and the best way to combine these three seductive locally-crafted ingredients is by baking the gigantic Swiss roll aka Rolly Polly.
"We are trying to attempt this gorgeous confection by rolling cacao butter-laced vanilla sponge drenched in fine Indian malt infused syrup and stuffed with 64 per cent dark chocolate by All Things sourced from Anai Malai foothills of Tamil Nadu.”
From bars and cakes to being a major component of vegan ice creams and sushi dessert filling, chocolates will always blend in with the season’s trending desserts.
With the vegan lifestyle gaining popularity, chefs across Delhi are trying their hands on a new vegan range. L’Opéra, known for its authentic French chocolate pastries, has invited Chef Gilles Maisonneuve, a renowned Pastry Chef with over three decades of experience.
“He not only reworked our existing line of products but also developed a full vegan range, which we’ll introduce at the beginning of September to coincide with Navratras,” says Founder Laurent Samandari.