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ROYCE’ no Plain Jane chocolate

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a guilty pleasure

The two of us were enjoying a cup of coffee in J’s open terrace one morning, when her uniformed bearer came in with a box of chocolates. It was a birth announcement addressed to her mother in law.

J asked him to keep it on her bed and we continues with our conversation. Suddenly, her curiosity got the better of her and she went inside and brought the box out.

“She’s not returning for a week. Let’s just try one! ”

As she opened the box, we both felt the thrill of girls breaking a school rule. We took a chocolate each and slipped it into our mouths , unconsciously looking over our shoulders for a Prefect to catch us eating in class. As the chocolate melted and the hidden taste of orange hit our palates, we reached out for the next. And the next and the next. It wasn’t long before they were all over.

“She doesn’t eat chocolate , anyway, ” she said as the last bit of bitter sweetness swirled around in our mouths .

That guilty pleasure remains with me whenever I pass a chocolate shop and I quickly look away before I succumb to the temptation of indulging in a bite of sin.

A bite of royce’

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I always wondered what ROYCE‘  tasted like, every time I walked by the shop at Palladium. What was so special about it that everyone whispered around it in reverential tones? Was it bitter? Was it soft and creamy?

Yesterday , I found out ,when I was gifted a box of pure pleasure.

no Plain jane

Carefully removing it from the blue cool bag it was packed in , I gently removed the ice bag and slowly opened up the slim box. Removing the inner plastic cover, I must confess my disappointment at seeing row upon row of plain chocolate finely dusted with cocoa. Where were the fancy curls and swirls? Or the bits of nut ?

But the moment it’s bitter sweetness assaulted my taste buds, I knew just why .

The bite sized pieces were just right . They were soft and creamy as they melted in my mouth, filling it up with a sweetness and bitterness that was …. well …perfect balanced.

Unassuming and unpretentious , they were small but packed  a punch .

A Gem of a Chocolate Cake

It’s been quite a while since I’ve made a cake and was a bit hesitant about making one for my grandson’s birthday. But always one to take a challenge, I acceded to my daughter’s request to make one and found a very easy recipe in one of the newer books on my kitchen shelf. I actually doubled the quantities in this recipe as there were 10 adults who would be eating it. This cake is very dense and rich and was finished by all the finicky eaters!

Originally I wanted to make a tyre as a cake for my grandson who has a passion for tyres and cars and everything mechanical. But then I took the easy way out simply since the round baking tray was larger than the bundt I had and made a simple chocolate cake in my regular round loose bottom baking tin.

Here’s what I did:

Get together

  • 75 g dark chocolate ,
  • 50g unsalted butter softened  (I used regular Amul butter salt and all)
  • 175 g light brown sugar or light muscovado ( I used demerara sugar)
  • 2 eggs beaten,
  • 1/2 Tspn vanilla extract,
  • 150 g plain flour,
  • 1 rounded tablespoon cocoa powder,
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder,
  • 1 Tspn soda bicarbonate,
  • 125 g sour cream (I used plain regular dahi or curd)
  • 100 ml boiling water

I broke the cooking chocolate into bits and allowed it to melt in a double boiler.

While it was melting, I sieved together all the dry ingredients.

In a big mixing bowl, I beat the butter and sugar till soft and creamy. To this creamed mixture I gradually added the eggs, one at a time . To this I added the molten chocolate and vanilla essence, beating all the time.

Then I added the flour and dahi alternately till they were used up. Lastly I added the hot water, gave it a good stir and poured it into a floured tin to bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 C. I allowed the cake to bake for 25-30 mins, checking to see if it was done by poking a knife in the centre to see if it came out clean.

 

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After the cake had cooled, I split it into two and slapped some butter cream icing in the centre. I reassembled the cake and poured some thick chocolate ganache over which I sprinkled the Gems to make this gem of a cake!

Originally, my intention was to involve little P in the project and he enthusiastically held my hand while the mixer whirred away. But when it came to decorating the cake, he preferred to eat the gems rather than part with them on the cake and I had to quickly sprinkle them on the top before he gobbled them up!

La Folie : quality at a price

If you are looking for a chocolate fix with a difference do go down to the new chocolaterie in town La Folie. It’s been around for quite a while but I was intimidated by the steep steps one has to take to enter, particularly since I had a baby in tow . However, late last week an opportunity presented itself when Ro and I were looking to satiate our sugar dip after a late afternoon business meeting.Tucked away in one of the bylanes of Fort, that old historic district which is soul of the island city and still weaves its magic as you walk through the narrow streets lined with quaint shops or old businesses. Now gradually getting gentrified with restaurants like Trishna, The Kala Ghoda CafeThe Pantry and Mamagoto, cafes like . Once the hub of the business district, it still has quaint businesses sharing space with newly opened eateries like La Folie, which unlike the Seafood restaurant Trishna that this gully is famous for, serves really high end chocolate confections.

This tiny little space with just one counter and three tables has just about enough space for six people at a time and the strange strong smell of linseed oil and turpentine that assailed my nostrils was attributed to the recently cleaned up counter (as per the cheery sales girl’s explanation). However, the smell notwithstanding, we continued gazing at the artistically made chocolate confections beckoned us with their “Come Eat ME” looks.

It is always hard to make a choice especially when you have just one choice. Luckily there were two of us who decided we’d share so I went for my favourite flavour Caramel which rarely disappoints in any for. It turned out to be the right one because it truly was a simply melt in your mouth chocolate caramel treat with its mousse like interior

Ro’s option which was a Praline something or the other looked like a miniature christmas pudding coated with soft molten chocolate sitting on a crown of chocolate leaves. Honestly the leaves were the best part of the chocolate, dark and sharp. The rest of the chocolate was a bit stodgy, almost like a pudding but since chocolate in any form is great, we did down it in a jiffy.

After placing the order we were asked if we wanted tea or coffee. I opted for plain water (which I never got!) which turned out to be a better option because the teas and coffees were not for free as I’d imagined. The cappuccino that Ro ordered was nothing spectacular and at the price it went for, I was glad I gave it a skip.

As we sat inside slowly savouring the chocolate delicacies, catching up with gossip on a drizzly afternoon, we were glad that we chose La Folie to fix our chocolate craving. A word of warning though, La Folie is really very very expensive – at Rs 600+ it was quite an expensive coffee break and truly  you’d have to be a tad mad to indulge in such a chocolate fix.

La Folie claims it also home delivers which is probably a good option if you want to take this delicate chocolate confectionery home to eat!