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    Japanese Royce chocolates arrive in Bangalore to titillate even the most jaded chocoholic

    Apparently all it takes is a small taste of Royce to hook you on and thanks to co-founders of Burgundy Hospitality, Avani Raheja and Samir Gadhok, Nama – the Royce company’s signature brand is now available in town.

    Gadhok and Raheja are avid foodies themselves and long time Royce aficionados. Made from fresh cream from Hokkaido, the lush rectangles  come with a limited shelf life and promise to give niche chocolate brands like the Swiss-made Teuscher, French -Vosges, or NYC’s Mariebelle a run for their money. Royce comes in a whole gamut of flavours and textures. From delicate green tea and Champagne for lovers of bubbly, to bitter dark for true connoisseurs and delicate white for those who like to get a little experimental with the bean.

    page9lead1But the most easily recognised are the truffle-soft and melt-on-your-tongue, Nama’s. “Each box is individually wrapped in an insulating sleeve with an ice pack, before it’s neatly bagged and tied with a ribbon,” begins Gadhok as he introduces their offerings which are already reportedly flying off the shelves at their Palladium store in Bombay. Nama chocolates do not come with a hard shell or with a  melted mushy filling inside, like most  chocolates. They are small in size, and each square packs a hefty wallop of flavour that you would prefer to savour rather than devour. Plus, they come with mini-spades, to lift and shovel straight into your mouth – a silly, delightful gimmick  worth indulging in. The Nama  squares, dusted in a layer of cocoa powder, do indeed melt in your mouth in a creamy, velvety infusion as promised.

    Tasting diaries
    We started sampling — first the coffee-flavoured Criollo, made with some of the world’s rarest cacao bean sourced from Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela. It gives off a rich aroma, ending in a heady explosion of caffeine. “Perfectly full-bodied and well rounded,” says Raheja, like she was describing fine wine.

    Then, we tried delicate chocolate wafers, which Gadhok describes as “Kit Kat on steroids”. Smooth hazelnut cream, sandwiched between crisp chocolate-covered wafer squares. And baton cookies — individually wrapped, with a layer of  hazelnut or surprisingly mild coconut cream. The Ghana Bitter (my personal favourite), turned out to be a full-bodied, 48 per cent-cocoa chocolate, which tasted magically pure and undiluted.

    After recovering from our cocoa rush, a much-awaited sampling of their famed potato chip was in order. A Royce speciality that Godhak unveils like a magician. The ridged shavings of potato coated with chocolate could possibly make for the perfect movie watching treat as Godhak suggests, if you are feeling truly indulgent. Apparently, the brand works with food technicians to create their flavours, not a master chocolatier which explains why they are so technically superb.

    Rs. 495 upwards. Available at The Bengaluru Baking Company, JW Marriott, Vittal Mallya Road. Details: 67188551

    —Jackie Pinto

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