CHENNAI: Who said your Christmas tree can’t taste as good as it looks? With Chennai’s hoteliers and bakers looking for novel ways to ring in the yuletide every year — it turns out there’s a silent new trend on the rise... Rising as high as 12 feet if you count the Hilton Chennai’s inspired chocolate creation recently showcased in their lobby. According to executive chef Yogendar Pal, the massive project took 250 kilos of chocolate, 12 chefs and a total of 15 hours to assemble! “We’ve even created a coral effect before the chocolate set using ice cubes,” he tells us proudly, “And our mini ornaments on the tree are all made with icing sugar.” While the lobby of the hotel now bears an inviting whiff of cocoa, the only unfortunate part as the chef admits is that this lifesize tree will not be sampled by guests.” It’s out in the open and will be for a while, so I don’t recommend it,” he tells us cautiously.
Home-baker Linu Freddy however, who has been experimenting with mini cookie snowmen and Santas that dangle from her tree at home, has no such reservations though. “Half my decorations are eaten by kids before December 25 rolls around,” she says with a laugh. Sturdy enough to be suspended with twine, and made with a generous hit of spices like cinnamon over sugar, these ornaments are as hardy as they are ant-free. And she adds, “They are a big hit with people who want to do some novel gifting over the festive season.
Another Christmas indulgence that catches us a tad by surprise is the abundance of tree-shaped cream cakes flying off the shelves this season. “It’s something that has picked up over the last three years,” says head pastry chef Boopesh P, of French Loaf. “It started with assorted slices that people wanted to take home or carry with them during their visiting of neighbours and friends. Then whole cakes started moving...and why thought, why not make them in Christmas themed shapes?” So if you’re too busy to put up a tree and lights this year, and have your five-year-old on the warpath — here’s the next best thing: a mouthful of Christmas tree. “Try our forest berry option or rum and raisin,” the chef offers. “You won’t be disappointed.”
Whether you’re five or 50 - how can ‘tree tasting’ not be a fun time? From old traditions to the new...’merry’ as we know know it, just got a whole lot merrier.