A few months after that, the young woman decided to build up that hobby into a full-fledged job. It was not the same old chocolate alone that she was making:
We have a diverse range from the traditional nuts to fruit-filled chocolates to more traditional flavours like Indian Indulgence and spicy chocolate. A whole range is in the trial phase and are yet to be introduced in the menu.I think she is on to something--the idea that chocolate is not merely something we have as a KitKat or a Mars bar. There is a lot more to chocolate, where we can enjoy a gazillion varieties, as we do with various foods we eat. With a rapidly growing upper-middle class in India, this might be a good time as any to test out such a hobby as a profession.
If there can be coffee bars, then all the more the reason to have chocolate bars. Chocolate, whose key ingredient is cocoa, ought to be way more of a delicacy, a prized one, than it currently is. After all, cocoa cannot be grown anywhere, and is typically only in the land areas within twenty degrees away from the Equator--both north and south of it. How this rare commodity is so valued and yet why those countries are not rich deserves a post of its own, and I shall resist that temptation here.
The point is that such a delicate plant's product deserves to be handled as a specialty, which is what the friend's daughter is attempting to do.
There are entrepreneurs of Indian origin attempting to do that on the other side of India--here in the US--as this WSJ report details:
Imagine eating a chocolate with mango or pistachio filling, or flavored with saffron. These are some of the offerings from Indian American entrepreneurs dabbling in chocolates, sweets and confections for Indian palates.Chocolate with saffron? My taste buds are salivating!
Co Co Sala is a self-proclaimed “chocolate lounge and boutique” that opened in Washington, D.C. in 2008. Its co-owner Nisha Sidhu says there was a need for “chocolate for grown-ups” and a place to go late at night for fine-dining desserts.
The WSJ has more:
Shefalee Patel, the owner of Sweet Silk in Queens, New York , is another chocolatier who uses Indian flavors – and French inspiration — in her confectionary.I love that phrase there: "who used to be a civil engineer." As I have often noted in this blog, life is a lot more exciting and fulfilling when our jobs are nothing but our hobbies; I "used to be an electrical engineer."
“I noticed that even though Indian sweets are made of very rich ingredients, such as pistachios and cashews, they were either too sweet or fell short on presentation,” says Ms. Patel, who used to be a civil engineer.
“I was inspired to create sweets that elevated the beauty of Indian sweets with balance of spice, flavors, sweetness while highlighting the main rich ingredients… I wanted to create sweets that were not only pleasing to the palate but to the eye,” she adds.
The WSJ report reminded me that I had read something similar not too long ago. As always, Google helped me out by tracking down this NY Times report from last July:
New York stands out for having the largest concentration of high-end chocolate boutiques in the United States, and among them two Indian chocolate makers — Shaineal Shah and Aditi Malhotra — are fast becoming stars in the competitive and crowded world of chocolate.Hey, my memory is not bad after all :)
How fascinating that his concoctions will be "kosher" within the Jain traditions!
“The philosophy behind my chocolate is that it should please all of your senses,” he said. “Each piece has a different color, smell and texture.” His 16 truffles come in traditional flavors like hazelnut but also more unusual ones such as sake and orange tangerine. Then there’s the distinct Indian influence in his work: a rose cardamom truffle and slates, or very thin bars, in a masala milk and saffron nut chikki flavors, and all his confections are eggless, in keeping with Jain traditions.
It is such a "sweet" coincidence that as I was nearing the end of this post, a colleague walked in with a bar of dark chocolate.
May you, the reader, have an extra sweet day!