Anusha Chowdia recalls walking into a cafeteria in Brugge while she visited Belgium with her friends. That is where she had her first cup of Belgian hot chocolate. It was not the fine brown powder or the chocolate syrup that added flavor to the piping hot milk. It was just one solid block of Belgium chocolate that made all the difference. On getting back to Bangalore, Chowdia attempted on recreating what she saw and experienced the other day in a foreign land, and so went about venturing L’inoui, a chocolate cafe in Phoenix Market City. They sell Hot chocolate, Truffles, Macarons, Pastries and chocolates that come in different shapes and sizes. All of them are made of pure couverture chocolate, with no additives, preservatives or vegetable oils. They also have their ingredients sourced from California, Belgium, Switzerland and the little corners of Europe where chocolate making is a hereditary art. So every little nibble makes a heavenly difference.
Having grown up eating classic chocolate bars, most Indians do not like to go that extra mile to explore fine chocolates. People always tend to consume chocolates when they get sweet cravings as most of them fail to differentiate between sweet and chocolate cravings. As accessibility and affordability increased over the past few decades, the Indian chocolate industry has managed to launch a lot of new products. It has also been quite successful in tricking its consumers into believing that whatever they produce is real chocolate as it tastes sweet to the palate and appears to be brown in color.
As your doctor suggests, substituting ghee drenched Indian sweets with a few grams of dark chocolate, will not be of much help when it comes to saving you from heart diseases, because the supposedly Indian dark chocolate that you will find on the shelves of retail stores in India are not actual dark chocolates. The dark-brown colour packaging of Cadbury Bournville compels you to conclude that what you are going to take to your home is the best dark chocolate available in the market. In reality, Bournville contains milk solids and is only a 50 percent dark chocolate. The average Indian never really understands the concept of dark chocolates and tends to assume that all dark chocolates are bitter and develop a natural resistance towards purchasing them. Good dark chocolates are expensive and are also sparsely available in the market. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) have taken stringent measures to ensure that what we know everything about the product that we consume. Being ignorant consumers, we rarely go through the ingredients or nutritional facts that are printed on the back side of the wrapper. The consumers miss out on a lot of vital information that the packaging may not want to reveal as it might bring down their sales or even spoil their reputation. FSSAI makes sure that the required information is available to the consumers even when they do not demand it.
There are very few chocolatiers in India who live up to the international standards by using only cocoa butter and no other substitutes in their chocolates. In fact, we cannot always blame the chocolatiers and other companies because they have a strong bond with the mass consumer and often deliver only what they promise. After all, as they say, its Kuch Meetha Ho Jaaye, Chocolate Nahi!