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    Go natural this Diwali with desserts packed with the goodness of dates, jaggery, honey, and fresh fruits

    This could be the right time for you to say no to refined sugar.The adverse effects of the tiny white grain, such as obesity, hypertension etc, are no longer a mystery. But that does not mean you have to give up on sweets and desserts entirely. All you have to do is choose healthier options such as jaggery, palm sugar, fruits.
    Text: Priyadarshini Nandy | Pics: Jithendra M & Pushkar V


    Ovenderfula��s beautifully spiced jaggery wholewheat cake is a treat for those who love the intensity of flavour that comes from organic jaggery. a�?We have quite a few customers who are not allowed to have any sugar, plus some are generally concerned of their health. The cake is completely free of artificial flavours, colours, or preservatives, and is freshly baked before delivery,a�? says Simran Oberoi Multani, founder and chief baker at Ovenderful. They also make a cake with honey and walnuts that is equally delicious.
    Pre-order for `300 for 300 gm.
    Details: 9740255588

    Palm sugar
    The Bavarois, served with sweetened
    tomato chutney, is a customised dessert
    created at The Leela. The natural sugar used in
    the bavarois in this case is palm sugar, which not only makes it a lot healthier, but also adds a lovely flavour. Apart from that the dessert has cream and egg in it. a�?The sweetened tomato chutney in the bavarois also has a hint of rhubarb in it, adding a freshness to the whole dessert,a�? says executive chef Zafar Ali. The two other festive desserts one can order here is the red velvet and beetroot cake,
    and the jaggery eclair with praline.
    `450 ++ on special orders only. The Leela Palace Bengaluru, Old Airport Road. Details: 25211234

    Dates & nuts
    The Dates and Nuts Rolls by Jiyo Naturals
    is made with just dates, finely chopped cashews,
    pistachios, and just one tablespoon of ghee (for 24 servings!). a�?This preparation is completely free of sugar, and has heart-healthy fats, which lower cholesterol. Being rich in natural sugars and fibre, this would be a good choice for diabetics and people with cholesterol issues, but has to be eaten in moderation. It is also a great snack choice for children and pregnant ladies,a�? says Dr Sunandini Sharma, chief health officer and co-founder of Jiyo Natural. Apart from the dates and nuts roll, you can also buy sweets made from oats and flaxseed.
    Pre-order at `650 per kg. Details: 41474347

    Fruit puree
    The fresh fruit yoghurt parfait by Jusa�� Trufs is sweetened with natural fruit puree and honey. And it contains no cream. To add a crunch to the dessert, ita��s got granola bits in it as well. And that is sweetened with honey, and loaded with almonds, chia seeds, black and white sesame, and raisins. a�?It might be a dessert, but ita��s a powerhouse of energy and good health ,a�? says Chenddyna Schae, co-founder of Jusa�� Trufs. On another note, you can also buy Bean to Bar 72% Dark Chocolate, which is sweetened with organic palm sugar, and has no additives.
    `90 for a 50 gm take-away serving. Details: 23624324

    Maple sugar
    The date sesame ladoo, served atop a spiced fruit brioche
    is no ordinary dessert. One, it keeps with the traditional diwali sweet,
    and adds a hint of a western touch to it in the form of the brioche. The ladoo is made with white sesame seeds, chopped dates, dry grated coconuts, and it is sweetened with maple sugar. The brioche has in it ginger bits, cinnamon, cranberries, figs and sultanas, which brings in the goodness of fruits (these are not candied). In fact, the butter used in the brioche also happens to be unsalted. This dessert can also be served with a yoghurt
    sorbet, which is also free of sugar.
    `450++ per serving. JW Marriott, Vittal Mallya Road. Details: 67189999

    Coconut milk
    The coconut parfait with quenelle
    of beetroot halwa, and rose jelly is one of
    the signature desserts at the Shangri-La. The original dish does use sugar in it, but if you call ahead and order, the pastry chef will gladly do away with sugar and replace it with jaggery. However, the basic sweetening agent for this decadent treat is coconut milk. Plus it has milk, cardamom powder, cashew nut, and raisins, and beetroot for the halwa. You can choose to have it served with jaggery ice cream as well, or eat it just like that.
    Pre-order at `450 onwards. At Shangri-La, Vasanth Nagar. Details: 45126100

    If youa��re dining out this Diwali, check
    out the terrine of gulkhand, rasmalai with
    white chocolate served with paan ice cream and gajar ka halwa strudel and honey comb at the Oberoi Hotel. The entire dessert has been thought through from an Indian flavour perspective given the Diwali season but the rendition is Western. The entire dessert has been made using honey as the natural alternative to sugar. This is also what adds a different body of flavour to the creation.
    `450++ per serving. The Oberoi Hotel, MG Road. Details 25585858


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