Conversation hearts, truffles galore and heart-shaped chocolate boxes—these are the symbols of Valentine’s Day for many lovers around the world. But why do we have a “sweets to the sweet” tradition every February 14? While the roots of Valentine’s Day go all the way back to Roman times, candy gift giving is a much more recent development. Is it because of chocolate’s reputed aphrodisiac qualities, or just a way for candy companies to sell more sweets in the lull between Christmas and Easter? Whatever the reason, those ubiquitous little red boxes flood shelves every year, and this week we’re taking a look at the reasons why.
Valentine’s Day is actually named for two different Roman saints, both called Valentine and both utterly unconnected to romantic love. Though legend persists that the original St. Valentine was a priest who performed illegal marriages for the Emperor Claudius’ soldiers, there’s no evidence to suggest this ever happened. The first mention of St. Valentine’s Day as a romantic holiday appeared in the writings of Chaucer in 1382. With the medieval period came a new focus on illicit but chaste courtly love, and it is here that we see some of the familiar iconography begin to appear. Knights would give roses to their maidens and celebrate their beauty in songs from afar. But sugar was still a precious commodity in Europe, so there was no talk of exchanging candy gifts.
By the 1840s, the notion of Valentine’s Day as a holiday to celebrate romantic love had taken over most of the English-speaking world. It was Cupid’s golden age: The prudish Victorians adored the notion of courtly love and showered each other with elaborate cards and gifts. Into this love-crazed fray came Richard Cadbury, scion of a British chocolate manufacturing family and responsible for sales at a crucial point in his company’s history. Cadbury had recently improved its chocolate making technique so as to extract pure cocoa butter from whole beans, producing a more palatable drinking chocolate than most Britons had ever tasted. This process resulted in an excess amount of cocoa butter, which Cadbury used to produce many more varieties of what was then called “eating chocolate.” Richard recognized a great marketing opportunity for the new chocolates and started selling them in beautifully decorated boxes that he himself designed.
From that point, it was a quick jump to taking the familiar images of Cupids and roses and putting them on heart-shaped boxes. While Richard Cadbury didn’t actually patent the heart-shaped box, it’s widely believed that he was the first to produce one. Cadbury marketed the boxes as having a dual purpose: When the chocolates had all been eaten, the box itself was so pretty that it could be used again and again to store mementos, from locks of hair to love letters. The boxes grew increasingly elaborate until the outbreak of World War II, when sugar was rationed and Valentine’s Day celebrations were scaled down. But Victorian-era Cadbury boxes still exist, and many are treasured family heirlooms or valuable items prized by collectors.
You can design the Valentine’s Day gift basket with chocolates and different types of gifts. You can fill the baskets with some favorite items of your loved ones and wrap it with color papers and tie it with colorful ribbons to enhance its beauty and value. Find your handmade chocolates for your valentine’s day at Chocolate Temptation.
Chocolate is sweet, dark, and absolutely tempting. It’s a mind blowing source of happiness that easily brightens up one’s day. It’s a fascinating amalgamation of luscious flavors that creates a stirring effect once it starts to slowly melt and caress your mouth.
Handmade Chocolate is, undoubtedly, one of the best comfort food that every age blissfully enjoys. And it just got better over the years.
All over the world, Handmade chocolate is celebrated in different countries with their own signature concoction. Most popular are the Swiss’ and Belgian’s, which are known for their creamy texture and rich taste although these treasured chocolates may come at a steep price.
Chocoholics can also celebrate because apart from a happy aura, handmade chocolate is also believed to possess health benefits as well. Medical studies claim that chocolate is an amazing source of copper, iron, zinc, and magnesium as well as antioxidants known as polyphenols. Handmade Chocolate is also good for the heart since it contains flavonoids.
And all these delectable attributes of chocolate is now here in the Delhi, thanks in large part to Chocolate Temptation for bringing its superior brand of chocolate products to our shores.
Known for its luscious taste, Chocolate Temptation chocolates are made from superior-quality raw materials. It also boasts of a delectable new line-up of products such as Goya Quadros, Goya Dark Raisins, Goya Bits Peanut, Crispy and Milk Chocolate and Dragees.
Chocolate Temptation products are available at very affordable prices in major supermarkets of Delhi NCR. To know more about us call at 9871119902 or visit our online chocolate boutique www.chocolatetemptation.co.in
If ever there could be something as blasphemous as ‘a bit too much indulgence in chocolate’, then Christmas is the time when Delhi collectively commits this sin – of drowning itself in the pleasures of this dark fantasy.
And chocolatiers, bakeries and five-star hotels have wasted no time in realizing that the darker, or the most exotic the temptation, the more will we fall for it.
Kumud Sood, COO, Chocolate Temptation, says that Christmas is the chocolatiest festival of the year for them. “Christmas, and the couple of days around it, account for 20% of the annual sales that we have, which makes it very important for us,” says Kumud, adding that this time, the company has also created a 20-foot-tall chocolate Christmas tree, which they’ve installed at a mall in South Delhi. “The idea”, says Kumud, “is to connect with the consumer. If you set aside the chocolate-based gifting that happens during Diwali, which, of course, is massive, then Christmas is really big. For self-consumption, Christmas is the biggest for us.”
Manisha Bhasin, senior executive chef at ITC Maurya, says, “Our gourmet shop sales have doubled during Christmas chocolate. And for us, in terms of chocolate consumption, it’s a bigger figure. We will sell at least 400 chocolate and plum cakes during this time.”
Executive chef at the Claridges, Delhi, Neeraj Tyagi says that besides the usual Christmas offerings like plum cakes and stollen cakes (traditional German Christmas bread), it’s chocolate and chocolate-based products that consumers opt for.
He says, “We’ve come up with chocolate based products like chocolate Santas and Christmas trees, reindeers with carts – everything in moulded chocolates. We’re also big on liqueur filled chocolates, champagne, cream filled chocolates, herb flavoured chocolates, etc. And the numbers say that people want this.”
Chef Deep Bajaj of the Oberoi Patisserie and Delicatessen, says, “People are looking for more exotic flavours. So, we’ve created chocolate houses and chocolate churches.
Customised handmade chocolates take center stage at this time, and we’ve created flavours like honey and pepper chocolates, chocolates with Christmas spice mix, etc.” The reason for this indulgence, says Ridhima Khanna, of the bakery, Addicted, is “that the weather’s such that people want to enjoy the warm feeling of chocolate. They enjoy that more than traditional Indian sweets at this time. Plus, Christmassy flavours like cinnamon, orange, etc also make you feel nice.”
Well, whatever be the reason, if Christmas is in the air, then the melody has to be chocolatey.
Mention chocolate, and you cannot miss the sparkle in the eyes of young and old alike. Chocolate bars, candies, cakes and shakes are passe; chocolates came packed with a new range of tastes, flavours, forms and textures in 2012.
From tasting some tangy spice-infused chocolates, sinking into the goodness of chocolate layered pizzas to gorging on desserts in the likes of chocolate paan and samosas, the year gone by was definitely a riot of quirky choco-flavours. We list the five innovations that were the trendsetters this year.
1. Building chocolate castles
Chocolate carving is an artistic pursuit and India being a tropical country could not guarantee ideal weather conditions for chocolate sculptures to survive long. However, chefs in the country were optimistic. Bliss Luxury Chocolates for instance, which is one of the first to open a chocolate lounge in India experiments with chocolate art every year depending on the occasion and requirement. Chef Gerard Mendis shares with us his interesting yet challenging carving stories and said, “From Taj Mahal, Champagne bottle, dancing couple, Easter eggs, Valentine sculptures to Santa and the sleigh; we have experimented a lot. The biggest sculpture our team has ever created with chocolate is a life-size Santa Claus.” Patience, precision and the right temperature are the three key factors that ensure the foundation for good chocolate carving. Mint, peppermint, cinnamon, chilli and all kinds of liquor are the best flavours to be incorporated in the process. Private parties, wedding receptions and Christmas or New Year’s celebrations of today display chocolate structures and figurines as a marker of grandeur and opulence.
2. Indulging in chocolate paan and samosas
Speaking of an Indian meal, it is with the humble ‘paan’ that we announce the final curtain call. What if this mouth freshener were to be wrapped in chocolate? In what can be called a desi-modern version, the ‘Chocolate Paan’ renewed the love of paan for some and instilled a new-found admiration among first-timers. Stuffed in caramelised sugar, mascarpone cheese and Gulkand (stewed rose petal- an essential ingredient in Paan), the impeccably structured chocolate paan can be relished with a shot of betel leaf juice that you can sip with every choco-paan-bite. Executive chef Diwas Wadhera, The Latitude, Mosaic Hotels believes that a balanced blend of flavours promises a delectable dish but an overpowering influence of one ingredient is a possible spoiler. “Apart from liquor chocolates, we have chocolate samosas with mawa, that, in a way redefine the otherwise salty and spicy Indian snack,” explains chef Wadhera.
3. How about a vegetable chilly with dark chocolate sauce?
Chocolate brochettes, chocolate sushi, Italian dishes like pasta with ground nuts, walnuts and Gorgonzola cheese topped with grated dark chocolate, chocolate in ravioli filling and such like have really set the trend among the present generation of food lovers. “Whether young or old, chocolate is the universal favourite among all. Chocolate makes us happy and is also a scientifically proven agent that relieves depression. Innovation with chocolate can never go wrong but we have tried to explore chocolate beyond a dessert and that too, without losing on its quality,” says Sakshi Tuli, executive chef and co-founder, Tandoori Nights Grand Catering.
The one chocolate-based dish that is a runaway hit among food lovers is the “chunky vegetable chilly with dark chocolate sauce that gets appreciated by all,” informs Chef Sakshi Tuli. Rich in taste and unique in culinary innovation, there were chocolate pizzas on offer this year that satiated the sweet cravings of many. Topped with almonds, walnuts and assorted candies, thin-crust pizzas in milk, white and dark chocolate clicked instantly with foodies. Fruit pizza with white chocolate, chocolate cookie pizza and chocolate pizza with peppermint and candy canes among others were other prominent variations in chocolate-inspired pizzas that we simply loved to gorge on in 2012.
4. Red hot ‘spicy’ chocolates
Archaeologists in 2012 found traces of 2,500-year-old chocolate on a plate in the Yucatan peninsula, and concluded that the ancient chocolate residue could have been used as a condiment/spice or sauce with food. In 2012, we discovered a creative way to add a zing to our dear chocolate. With a dash of cinnamon, mixing cloves and star anise in melting chocolate and going a little audacious by trying some tamarind juice, chocolates became spicier, hotter and tastier. Combined with spicy jalapenos, chilli powder and chipotles (smoked chilli pepper); as you smell the aroma and chew into the creamy chocolate, the hint of spice in the end is a wonderful experience.
5. Drinking chocolate is fun!
Hot chocolate turned ‘chocolate chilli chai’ this season with the drink being brewed with Aleppo chillies (Turkish crushed pepper flakes with a cumin-like flavour), red peppercorns and of course chocolate. Chocolate martinis comprising spicy red chocolate served with cocoa, choco-mousse martini and chocolate jasmine tea with cocoa were popular and novel beverage choices at family parties and get-togethers.
Chocolate Temptation is in Chocolate business and the best part about chocolate is that it is one damn thing whose temptation is beyond anything that divides. It binds. It unites. And it’s damn tasty too. Infect I have heard them saying “and on the eighth day God created chocolate”.
We thought how cool it would be start a culture which is united by chocolate?
Now we needed to name the culture. How could it be anything but CHOCOLATE TEMPTATION?
As Madam X becomes the brand ambassador for world’s top handmade chocolate brand, TOI asks some creative maestros about her brand worth
It is being touted as her debut in the advertising world, which is not exactly true because Rekha had done a campaign for Lakme almost three decades back, where she cavorted with the ad world showcasing her makeup skills and classic beauty with gay abundance. But, that was at the time, when she was the undisputed queen of Bollywood, winning classy awards and flooring masses with equal ease.
Now at 58, the original diva of Bollywood has sent advertising world in a tizzy, ever since she has been signed by $30 billion plus American chocolate and pet food giant Mars Inc, to endorse its Snickers chocolates in India. But, will this second coming of Parliamentarian Rekha excite the Indian buyers? TOI asks some of the creative experts…
Boys will drool A self-confessed Rekha admirer, ad guru Prahlad Kakar goes in a delirium, and says: “It’s a coup for sure! It will make all the boys from 16 to 60 drool, to see Rekha selling chocolates! She is regarded as Venus, the goddess of love, a timeless beauty, who will never age. If you ask a teenager about his ultimate fantasy, he will first say ‘Katrina Kaif, and then take Rekha’s name. Katrina is on top of his mind, but Rekha is to be admired from far because she’s unattainable! I think her foray in advertising will generate lot of frenzy, and expectations from the campaign will be huge. So, the agency, which handles it, will really have to work hard to deliver the goods!”
Pitted against Big B What gives extra colour and flavour to Rekha’s chocolate campaign is that her eternal love, Big B, is endorsing a rival brand. In her new role, Rekha will be taking on him, who has been endorsing chocolate brand Cadbury for several years. Anirban Das Blah, MD of a celebrity management firm, has gone on record to say: “It’s interesting and should be clutter-breaking at least in the short term.”
Needed: Brand fit While the rest of the ad world is mighty thrilled with Rekha’s latest tryst with chocolates, adman Bharat Dabholkar, however, offers a word of caution, as he says: “Just having a celebrity to endorse a particular product does nothing for the product, unless there is a brand association. Years ago, we got Amjad Khan to endorse Tata Tea, which was very successful. Now Amjad was known to drink over 50 cups of tea in a day, and this fact had been reported in various magazines. Similarly, when Narain Karthikeyan endorses Castrol Oil, it makes sense, or when John Abraham endorses Yamaha or even a fitness product, people can associate him with those things. But, is Rekha really known to be a chocolate lover? Unless she is a brand fit, I wonder how successful her campaign will be.”
Still a newsmaker Bharat may have some logical doubts, but National Award winning filmmaker, Shyam Benegal, who has directed Rekha in critically acclaimed films like Kalyug and Zubeida, allays all fears. “The fact is that even at 58, Rekha is still a huge celebrity. She may not be doing films these days, but whatever she does, creates news – and media follows her closely. So, her celebrity status will certainly generate lot of interest in her latest advertising foray. These days, age doesn’t matter, especially when it comes to ad world. Look at Big B, who’s endorsing so many products at this age. Then there is Hema Malini, who is selling Kent water purifiers. So, nothing will stop Rekha from giving her best, provided there is a story, which requires her to do something different. If she’s portrayed as a film star, it may not have much impact,” says Shyam Benegal.
History is coming full circle: borrowed from the Aztecs four centuries ago, perfected for the palate by the Europeans, chocolate is conquering new worlds, with sales booming from Asia to Brazil. Every second, 95 tones of chocolate are wolfed down around the world, or three million tones
a year, according to figures supplied by the annual Salon du Chocolate fair, which kicks off Wednesday in Paris.
The globalization of chocolate is most striking in Japan, where annual sales are soaring by 25 percent and French chocolatiers are feted like stars while rheir Japanese counterparts now rank among the world’s best.
“Japan has converted en masse to chocolate in the past decade, with chocolate Salons in seven different cities,” said Francois Jeantet, co-founder of the Paris fair, which has spawned 21 sister events from New York to Shanghai.
For the Salon’s annual fashion show featuring life-sized chocolate dresses, this year’s model is a kimono-inspired number created by French chocolatier Frederic Cassel — who has three stores in Japan.
“We wanted to express Japanese tradition, cherry blossom in the wind,” in the long sleeves with chocolate flowers, said Cassel, who worked to a design by a young fashion student, Audrey Lempeseur.
The 15-kilo edible dress — a month in the making — will be slipped on just moments before the show, lest it should melt under the spotlights.
Afterwards, it will be shipped straight to Japan.
According to Jacques Pessis, president of the highly-serious Chocolate Crunchers’ Club which each year rewards the best world chocolates, France and Japan are the current masters of the game.
“Thirty years ago Belgian and Swiss chocolate ruled the world. These days French chocolate is known the world over. And more and more Japanese chocolatiers, taking their inspiration from the French, are truly excellent.”
Japan aside, chocolate sales are also growing 30 percent year on year in China, while in India — even though one in two Indians have never tasted chocolate — growth is 20 percent, for a treat taken ultra sweet and milky.
“Nearly every country in the world is now part of the chocolate trade, including Asian countries and their colossal potential markets,” said Jeantet and his fellow founder Sylvie Douce.
Six multinational firm’s together account for 85 percent of the vast market: Hershey, Mars, Philip Morris, Nestle, Cadbury and Ferrero.
Producer countries like Brazil have turned into major consumers, while others like Vietnam or Indonesia are moving into cocoa growing.
“In Brazil, the market is going through the roof,” said the master chocolate maker Stephane Bonnat.
“Production-side, the country has shifted these past six years towards fine, high quality cocoa. On the consumer side, I had sold my whole stock of chocolate bars within half an hour at the first fair in Salvador de Bahia in July.”
Bonnat works with 42 small-scale farms around the world. Like him, many chocolatiers now foster direct ties with cocoa-growers, who also take part in fairs, Douce explained.
“Different worlds have come together, and it has helped to vastly improve the quality of both cocoa and chocolate,” she said.
Some 200 chefs from around the world are set to converge on Paris for the 18th edition of the fair, which draws some 100,000 visitors each year.
A cheesecake with gulab jamun, a blend of phirni and chocolate and a rangoli cake filled with gulkand. These exotic-sounding concoctions aren’t the stuff of fantasy – they’re what sweet makers are now devising to please bored palates. People like indulging their sweet tooth during the festive season, but in the past few years, there’s much more than ordinary mithai out there. Chocolate has become the new ‘mithai’ for a lot of us (except that a lot of locally made chocolate is pretty ghastly). But there’s a new dessert trend now: ‘fusion mithai’, in which the best of traditional mithai is teamed with exciting new global flavours.
“The idea behind creating these fusion sweets is to offer something that is healthy, tasty and sweet so that people can indulge themselves without guilt,” says Kumud Sood, owner of Chocolate Temptation, a Delhi bakery. A patti (you can’t get more traditional than that!) filled with apricot, anyone? “Traditional sweets are going in a new direction. Chefs are mixing them with Western ingredients. It makes for a nice change. But traditional desserts and their unique flavors will never lose their luster.
Phirni in chocolate
If the idea is to provide a new twist to something that is traditional and yet simple to make, phirni fits the bill perfectly. But instead of serving it straight, use chocolate flowers to give the sweet dish a contemporary touch. Another interesting variation is to make chocolate balls and fill them with shrikhand (not difficult to prepare). They make great sweet munchies for when guests visit.
Available at the Chocolate Temptation, New Delhi
Rangoli fruit cake
Want to have the flavor of a fruit cake and also indulge in your paan fetish? This rangoli fruit cake is filled with dry fruit and a dash of gulkand to add some sweetness. It also contains cinnamon and cardamom to give it a spicy twist and keep it from tasting too sweet. Considering its Diwali, you can stick a pretty diya on top of the cake instead of a candle. The best part about the cake is the colourful rangoli-like design on top which can make for an attractive centerpiece too. (And yes, this rangoli is totally edible!)
The cake is also available at Chocolate Temptation, New Delhi
(L to R) Phirni in chocolate, Rangoli fruit cake, Dry fruit & apricot patti
Dry fruit & apricot patti
This nouvelle twist to a traditional snack involves preparing a baked mix of soft dried apricot, mixed dry fruit, whole-wheat flour, rolled oats, orange zest and orange juice to add that tang. To keep the patti healthy and light, brown sugar, olive oil and oats are used in the mix. It can make a great accompaniment to tea or coffee or you can serve it as dessert. Want to add a special touch? Drizzle 30gm of melted white chocolate over the cooked mixture and allow it to set before slicing.
Available at Satya Niketan Chocolate Temptation, New Delhi
Kalakand and florentine almond cake
Here, kalakand, that classic Indian mithai, is blended with almond Florentine (almonds in caramelized sugar). It is then infused with butterscotch and raspberry sauce to create a dessert that is at once familiar and exotic. A small word of warning though: this delectable dessert is not for those watching their weight.
But frankly, it’s Diwali, so throw your diet out of the window!
Available at the Hilton Mayur Vihar
Gulab jamun cheesecake (left) and Kalakand and florentine almond cake
Gulab jamun cheesecake
Bakery aficionados in the West swear by the cheesecake for its softness and flavor. Closer home, there are few things as satisfying as a nice juicy hot gulab jamun, particularly on a cold winter day. What if you want the best of both worlds? Well, you cook a plain cheesecake sans flavor (recipe below). That’s when the gulab jamun will impart its own distinct flavor – and sweetness – to the cake. And yet it won’t be as sweet as a gulab jamun.
Available at Chocolate Temptation, New Delhi
150gm mascarpone cheese; 250gm whipped sweetened cream; 5gm gelatin; 20-25 gulab jamuns; 100gm cookie crumbs; 30gm unsalted butter; 1tsp cardamom powder, 1tsp saunf powder, a few drops kewra water.
Method: Melt butter, add cookie crumbs to it. Line base of cake tin with crumb mixture. Spread evenly and press hard to form a firm base. Refrigerate for 15 mins. Soak the gelatin in 20ml water. Stir the mascarpone cheese in a bowl till it is creamy. Add cardamom, saunf powder and kewra water. Add melted gelatin to the creamed cheese, mix well and fold in the whipped cream. Place a layer of gulab jamuns on the crumb base. Pour the cheesecake mixture into the tin. Refrigerate for 2 hours, then keep at room temp for 10 mins. Slice and serve immediately.