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    Taj’s Patisserie is back where it belongs, in the lobby lounge, with tea cakes and nutty chocolate.

    IT isn’t easy to lure a Taj Coromandel regular away from the chocolate truffle cake. Pastry chefs have thrown up their hands in despair when everything from the French classic opera cake to nutty and fruity concoctions have failed to displace this birthday standard. Chef Ravi Varma is no different. In his ten months here, he has introduced travel cakes, party desserts and everything from the omnipresent Red Velvet (the eggless variety) to his take on the eclair (with crumbly craquelin). But the truffle cake stubbornly digs in its heels. This season, both the pastry chef and his boss, Chef Sujan Mukherjee, have decided to do something about it – they have introduced chocolate in several formats and flavours, seasonal pastries and cheery orange boxes for gifting. Plus, they have moved the bakery counter, La Patisserie, back into the lounge.
    Featuring Belgian Callebaut, Chef Ravi’s Nocciolati or chocolate bars studded with whole roasted nuts, are the best-sellers. They make for a pretty box of treats, together with smooth chocolate biscuit cigars, mendiants and florentines. Milk, white and dark chocolate are in demand; the darker variety has few takers. “We will have more action here, more seasonal pastries,” begins Chef Sujan, admitting to the growing demand for petit fours, dessert samplers and freshly baked croissants. In keeping with global trends, nutrition is key and the bakery has breads featuring polenta,  jaggery and nuts. Experiments with macarons in flavours like spiced strawberry, blueberry and star anise are coming soon. Grilled marshmallows are on the cards, as are baked apple classics in winter. For now, there are inexpensive travel cakes in dependable banana walnut and orange flavours. As for birthday orders, the Orange Chocolate Delice with ganache, biscuit, and the refreshing tang of citrus may just make the cut.
    A box of 14 chocolate fingers or 250 gms of nutty bars for Rs 1,000. Brownie cakes at Rs 1200. Happy hours offers post 8 pm continue
    (pastries discounted by 50 per cent). Details: 66002827

    Smells like coffee

    Chef  Sujan, missing the sandesh from back home, promises excellent Kolkata sweets at banquets and nolen gur-flavoured desserts at Anise next door. Last month’s cheesecake festival will be followed by a chocolate week in September — think single origin chocolates and possibly a coffee tasting to add to the experience.

    — Team Indulge

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