Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Chocolate in a different avatar

The 'Chocolat' festival at the Brunton Boatyard, Fort Kochi, is unusual, because it gives a different taste of chocolate

Photo: The perfect black forest cake

By Shevlin Sebastian

“We wanted to tests the limits of traditional chocolate,” says Brunton Boatyard executive chef Ajeeth Janardhanan. “For the common man, if you mention the word 'chocolate', it means the Cadbury bar and nothing more than that. Very few people know what can be done with chocolate.”

Ajeeth has really pulled out all the stops. So there is what is called chocolate water. “To the naked eye it is like a glass of water,” says Ajeeth. “But when you drink it, there is the essence of chocolate.”

One of the salads has pasta, layered with spinach, accompanied by cheese and chocolate. The cauliflower soup has grated white chocolate. The minced beef dish has kidney beans and dark chocolate, while the chicken is mixed with dry fruits and coco-nibs, and served with white chocolate.

One of the aims of the 'Chocolat' festival is to remove transfat from the menu. “Apart from the transfat present in chocolate, we have eliminated it, apart from all essences, colours, additives, and preservatives in all our food items,” says G. Radhakrishna Shenoi, general manager.

In chocolate, to avoid trans fast, the chef has used corvecture chocolate. “This consists of 71 per cent chocolate and the rest is cocoa butter,” says Ajeeth.

If you have a sweet tooth and if you are thinking a chocolate festival means just that, be warned in advance that none of the dishes taste sweet. It is just like an ordinary meal, except for the tang of cocoa now and then. But the cocoa has no sugar in it. “There is more to chocolate than just sweetness,” says Ajeeth, with a sweet smile.

But if you are patient, delight will appear on your face, when dessert is served. And again, Ajeeth has done some innovations.

“We have tried to make the perfect black forest cake,” says Ajeeth. “The bottom layer has a madeline base, which is a kind of cake. We have topped it with kirsch cream, a cherry brandy, which is a popular German beverage. On top of that, we have put a flour-less chocolate cake and layered it with cherries, and finished it with a chocolate ganache. You can see the individual layers.”

Another unusual dessert is a deconstructed traditional chocolate brownie. Instead of putting all the nuts into the chocolate and then baking it, individual layers have been cooked. “So there is an almond, pistachio and walnut sponge, and on top of that we have layered it with chocolate,” says Ajeeth. “It looks like a chocolate wafer, but tastes like a brownie.”

(The New Indian Express, Kochi)

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