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SATURDAY, OCTOBER 25, 2008 ° WWW.LIVEMINT.COM




Hot chocolate
TREATS




   Try hand-painted cocoa pods, berry fillings
   and vodka centres from our favourite stores                                                                                                                                                             PHOTOGRAPHS   BY   ABHIJIT BHATLEKAR/MINT


LEONIDAS, MUMBAI                        idence, the chocolates are super
Belgium is to chocolate what Italy      fresh. The variety is large enough
is to fashion. And those in Mum-        to match different tastes but small
bai no longer have to wait for          enough to keep you from getting
friends and cousins to bring treats     confused. Few chocolatiers in
from stores in Brussels or Ant-         India make liquor-centre choco-
werp because Leonidas, one of           lates and the ones here are sinful
Belgium’s most popular chocolate        (Rs850-3,500). But the best picks
brands, opened a store in Mum-          are the rich Roasted Almond
bai this month. A fresh batch of        Chocolate Fudge (Rs950 per kg)
chocolates is imported from Bel-        and the Chocolate Coffee Fudge
gium every week to this little out-     (Rs950 per kg).
let at Kemps Corner. At least a 100
varieties of chocolate—liquor           The not-so-good
chocolates, nut chocolates, nou-        The chocolates are handmade,
gat, truffle, praline, white choco-     so the finished product is low
late and even marzipan and fruit        on aesthetic value. Even the
pastes (similar to jujubes, but         basic packaging could be more
made from real fruit in shapes of       attractive. In our box of
plum, pineapple, peach, apple,          assorted chocolates, the milk
pear, strawberry, lemon and             chocolates, such as the Orange
orange)—are available at the store      Milk Chocolate (Rs850 per kg),                                                                                                                                                           Raise the bar: The
through the year. For Diwali, they      were the least impressive.                                                                                                                                                               Leonidas store has
have a new range of leaf-shaped         Contact: 022-32953043                                                                                                                                                                    at least 100 types of
chocolates encrusted with                                                                                                                                                                                                        chocolates; (below)
almonds and pistachio.                  Rachana Nakra                                                                                                                                                                            Celebrations makes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 custom-made
The good stuff                                                                                                                                                                                                                   chocolates to order.
The liquor chocolates (with rum,        CHOCOLATE JUNCTION,
whisky and vodka centres) and           BANGALORE
pralines are among the best—and         It’s a cosy little store, with just
expensive. Everything at the store      enough space for you to stand
is priced at a flat rate of Rs450 for   and pick from trays of chocolates
100g. As de rigueur with most           displayed at the counter. Owner
mithai and chocolate stores, here       M. L. Amarnath swore by the
too the diet conscious and dia-         home-made chocolates filled
betics have an option of sugar-         with nuts that used to sell in the    BRUNETTE–THE LUXURY                     there is the fruit and nut special          The not-so-good                           which come in a personalized
free chocolates (they don’t con-        Nilgiris store on Brigade Road in     CHOCOLATE, BANGALORE                    on offer—almond, raisins, cash-             A flat price of Rs1,800 per kg,           wooden box (Rs1,500) with pull-
tain artificial sweeteners either).     Bangalore. When they stopped          Priyanka Singhania’s Bru-               ews, pistachios and other nuts              which goes up to Rs6,000 per kg           out drawers.
Packaging gets due attention: The       selling them nine years ago,          nette–The Luxury Chocolate              topped up on a bar or filled                for organic, vegan, diabetic and
photo frame package, which              Amarnath egged his wife               isn’t a store. After a short            inside one, depending on how                carob (a chocolate substitute),           The good stuff
comes with 10 pieces of choco-          Anupama on to make chocolates         course in chocolate-making              you want it. The other novel                would ensure that this treat              We sampled dark and milk choc-
late, makes for a personalized gift     at home. What started as an           two years ago, Singhania                offering is a whole fresh fruit, say        remains an occasional indul-              olate bonbons (Rs35 per piece)
idea at Rs1,450. A good option is       experiment (after a chocolate-        started taking orders on the            an apple, wrapped and coated                gence in most cases.                      with soft cores and the ones fla-
the Temptation Box (Rs1,450)            making course) ended with this        phone and inviting customers            with nuts or chocolate flakes.              Contact: 09810571113                      voured with vanilla and carda-
that opens into 14 small, colour-       store near Ulsoor Lake. All the       to her home to taste chocolates                                                                                               mom struck us as fresh and
ful boxes, each containing an           recipes are Anupama’s own and         and to select and design the            The good stuff                                                                        novel. Others with crunchy nuts,
individual piece.                       the chocolate is made in her fac-     packaging of their choice. She          We ordered an assortment of                 CHOKO LA, NEW DELHI                       rum and raisin, hazelnut and cof-
                                        tory at home.                         caters mostly to companies.             moulded chocolates, and every-              The two Choko La cafés in Delhi,          fee were also good.
The not-so-good                                                                                                       thing we sampled came up                    at Basant Lok and Khan Market,
The prices—at Rs350 for a box           The good stuff                        The good stuff                          tops. The milk chocolate with               have carved a niche among                 The not-so-good
with just four pieces of chocolate,     The Luxury range is experimen-        Brunette has many packaging             orange filling, the white with              chocolate lovers for their great          A couple of pieces had an after-
going up to Rs2,500 for 25 pieces,      tal, and the best choices in this     options—from simple cardboard           blueberry and the dark with                 chocolate drinks, desserts, and           taste that reminded you of the
and a higher range going up to          category are the processed fruit      boxes, boxes made of board and          coffee—the taste and consis-                confectionary. For Diwali, they           plastic casing they came in.
Rs8,500—are too steep for pur-          chocolates that come in flavours      even luxury packaging in teak           tency were right and the combi-             have introduced two new offer-            That’s a big no-no, but merci-
chases in bulk.                         such as kiwi, mango and orange.       boxes. You can design your own          nations worked. Raj makes it a              ings, hand-painted cocoa pods             fully the rest had no such
Contact: 022-23883432                   They have liquid centres, and just    box with Singhania’s help too. If       point to use food grade packag-             (Rs65) in dark, milk and white            “added” flavour.
                                        as you bite into the outer cover-     ordered well in advance, the            ing which, she says, is essential           chocolate in lemon, mocha and             Contact: 011-41669595
                                        ing of chocolate, the fruit centres   packaging can be personalized           to maintain the flavour and                 plain flavours. Also available are
CELEBRATIONS FINE                       burst in your mouth (Rs17-35 per      with names, or the company logo         taste of her products.                      a line of tea-infused chocolates          Himanshu Bhagat
CONFECTIONERY, MUMBAI                   piece). Another must-try is the       embossed on brass strips. Bru-
“There are so many people mak-          Irish cream-centred chocolate.        nette also gives you the choice of
ing chocolate now, but most are
not passionate about it,” says
                                        There is a variety of coffee-fla-
                                        voured chocolates, and for fans of
                                                                              ordering just boxes, so if you
                                                                              require stylish boxes for mithais
                                                                                                                        THE NEXT STOP                                  More chocolate shopping in Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi
Mehrnosh Khajotia, who started          bitter chocolate, there’s Nesca—a     or brownies, you can get them
Celebrations about 10 years ago.        coffee-flavoured chocolate with a     custom-made here.                           MUMBAI                                  Contact: 022-22091445                    between Rs360 and Rs445 for
The man lives and breathes choc-        coffee bean placed on top. Tea                                                  Choc Affaires                                                                      250g packs
olates, so much so that his cabin       lovers, don’t despair— the Hazel-     The not-so-good                           The city’s chocolate lovers have          Bombay Baking Company,                   Contact: 080-32909246/23624325
at his “chocolate factory” in Lower     nut Tea is tea-flavoured choco-       The variety is limited. You can           Meher Pinto on their speed dial. All      JW Marriott
Parel has a sofa-cum-bed and a          late with a hazelnut topping.         pick up basic pieces of milk, dark        varieties are made from dark              The city’s favourite five-star bakery    Pavitra Jayaraman
shower cubicle so he can sleep          They allow you to add personal        or white chocolate with nuts, rice        chocolates; Cherry Brandy, Apricot        has a gourmet range of chocolates.
over whenever required. “I taste        touches to gifts by printing pho-     flakes, mint, orange, strawberry          Brandy and Rum flavoured                  The liquid centres with Black Dog          NEW DELHI
everything before I sell it to my       tographs on the chocolates.           and coffee (in the range of Rs100         chocolates in coffee and mint top the     and Tia Maria are a rare treat. Try      The Chocolate Box
customers,” he says. The Celebra-       There is also a range of bags and     to Rs2,500). Brunette does offer          list of favourites.                       the truffle and praline range with       The Chocolate Box at the Radisson
tions range is retailed from Kemps      boxes to choose from (a wooden        to make liquor chocolates and             Price: Rs700 onwards                      Champagne, Cointreau, espresso,          MBD Noida has a live counter, so
Corner. He claims that his com-         box or glass bowl costs an addi-      truffles but these have to be             Contact: 022-23868240                     nuts.                                    everything they stock is made right
pany uses ingredients imported          tional Rs500).                        ordered in advance.                                                                 Price: Rs35 per piece                    there for all to see. Their Diwali
from around the world—cocoa                                                   Contact: 09342559831                      Theobroma                                 Contact: 022-66933366                    offerings include a three-tier
from Belgium and Switzerland,           The not-so-good                                                                 Kainaz Messman’s reasonably-priced,                                                wooden box with assorted
cherries from Italy, etc—to make        Chocolate Junction is not for         Pavitra Jayaraman                         delicious desserts come to mind           Rachana Nakra                            chocolates and cookies and a leather
the final product.                      the last-minute shopper. If you                                                 whether it’s Diwali or Christmas. Her                                              hamper that includes Swiss
                                        are looking at large orders for                                                 chocolate offering is equally tempting      BANGALORE                              chocolate; apricot, coconut and fig
The good stuff                          gifts, place your order a month       SOFIA RAJ ROYALE                          and has new additions this Diwali—        Chocolate Philosophy                     loaf and a bottle of wine.
Made in Mumbai and sold at the          in advance.                           CHOCOLATIER, NEW DELHI                    chocolate-coated toffee, and nut          They have the whole range—hard           Price: Wooden box, Rs3,000; and
store here or delivered at your res-    Contact: 080-25555195                 “My forte is the bar,” says Sofia         chocolates.                               and soft centre with nuts, fruit         leather hamper, Rs1,500; taxes extra
                                                                              Raj. “You can have it in any fla-         Price: Starts at Rs900 per kg.            flavours, liqueur and coffee.            Contact: 120-4300000
                                                                              vour, look or feel.” The bars             Contact: 022-67305363                     Chocolates are packaged in boxes of
                                                                              come in dark, milk and white                                                        different sizes that hold 6-24 pieces.   Chocolics
                                                                              varieties, and the chocolate base         Sleight of Hand                           They don’t have a retail outlet.         Chocolics aims to provide great
                                                                              she uses is Belgian. Besides bars,        Aadore Sayani’s brownies are to die       Price: Rs250 (box of six pieces)         chocolate that doesn’t cost a bomb
                                                                              of course, are the regular                for, but her chocolates are no less       Contact: 09900149332                     and offer a wide variety of bonbons,
                                                                              moulded assortments—choco-                irresistible. They come in all sorts of                                            truffles, flavoured and plain
                                                                              lates with a variety of fillings such     innovative varieties, like their          Jus’ Trufs                               chocolates. In addition to Belgian
                                                                              as orange, mango or hazel,                best-seller Mr Bean, which are            The products are divided into Luxury,    chocolate, it now also uses Swiss
                                                                              honey and caramel. “The berry             chocolate-coated coffee beans. Try        Liqueur, Premuim, Sugar free,            chocolate to prepare its offerings.
                                                                              fillings—blueberry, cranberry             the orange rind covered in dark           Signature and assorted. The luxury       Customized packages are available.
                                                                              and strawberry—are quite popu-            chocolate or lemon rind in white          line includes truffles and Marzipan      Price: Starts at Rs350 for 250g
                                                                              lar,” she says. Raj also does what        chocolate; otherwise, the ‘anjeer’        based chocolates while premium           Contact: 09811591346
                                                                              she calls strawberry chocolate,           chocolate is a must-try.                  chocolates include chocolate-coated
                                                                              which she is careful to point out         Price: All chocolates are priced at       biscuits and lollipops.                  Himanshu Bhagat
                                                                              is not the same as strawberry-fla-        Rs200 for 100g                            Price: An assortment ranges              Write to lounge@livemint.com
                                                                              voured chocolate. For Diwali

				
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