Chefs and Instagrammers vie with each other to come up with unusual combinations, from Oysters to bacon
During the first COVID-19-driven lockdown in 2020, the avocado-chocolate brownie was tried and tested. This year — hold your breath — chocolate meets Maggie.
The popular noodles, garnished with Cadbury’s Gems or MnMs, created a stir on Social Media. It was not the only one. It inspired another dessert, created by mixing crumbled Oreo cookies with boiled Maggi, much to the delight of meme-makers.
Deepa Reddy, founder of Fonce Chocolates in Hyderabad, says she still has nightmares about an encounter with chocolate dosas. “I saw it on a menu in Hyderabad and felt bad for both the dosa and chocolate. I love both, but cannot imagine putting the two together, even for the sake of experimenting.” She tried chocolate makhana (fox nut) too and was left disappointed, she says.
Nevertheless, Deepa is eager to push boundaries too: At Fonce, she has introduced potato wafers with chocolate (on the lines of popular Royce chocolate potato wafers), and also offers more conventional combinations with fresh fruits like kiwi and pineapple.
Indians are not the only ones experimenting with unexpected combinations; worldwide, there have been experiments like chocolate pasta, chocolate mushroom, chocolate Cheetos, chocolate octopus and more. And then there is the oddly seductive chocolate bacon.
In the meantime, however, many connoisseurs prefer their bars unsullied by distracting ingredients. Ameen Barazandeh, founder of the European style patisserie Feranoz in Hyderabad, says, “What goes for me, might not work for someone else. I wouldn’t want to experiment much with chocolate for my products: I like to stick to the classics.”
Chef Mandaar Sukhtankar, corporate chef at Windmills in Bengaluru, says, “At an official dinner in Italy I had the misfortune of putting oysters in chocolate sauce in my mouth. Though I gulped it down at the dinner table, the rest of the evening had me wondering how the dish was even thought of. Sometimes a dish is made to sensationalise, hence even negative publicity works. The curiosity around an unusual dish or pairing itself is enough to drive diners to the restaurant.”
Undeterred? Try chocolate momo or chocolate idli, both getting startlingly easy to find now. Sheetal Saxena, founder of Colocal Chocolates in Delhi, discusses how she introduced chicken with chocolate and wine sauce, which diners would order that out of curiosity. “We eventually discontinued it because the demand wasn’t meeting the work that went into preparing the sauce. In my next experiment with chocolate bars, I will be introducing lavender chocolate and I am 100% sure it will hit the right note with chocolate lovers.”
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