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    Zuka’s five-day festival turns the traditional definition of chocolate on its head

    From fried chocolate to sea-salt dipped triangles and fusion desserts, chocolatiers at Zuka have come up with novelties that are available only at their annual chocolate festival. We visit the café, where a life-size chocolate statue of Abdul Kalam, carved by their chef Thankarasu Rajendran,  grabs our attention. “The annual chocolate festival is our time to showcase all that is possible with chocolate,” says Srinath Balachandran, proprietor of the six-year-old chocolate boutique on Mission Street. “There is a certain expectation of what you can find in a chocolate shop — we want to go beyond that.” Case in point is the ice-cream truffle that I sample. The sturdy chocolate shell splits with a crack and startles with a ECRStory1-1dvanilla ice-cream filling that explodes in my mouth.
    “What we try to do is take the conventional idea of chocolate and reverse it,” smiles Balachandran, proffering a chocolate finger. Instead of the usual chocolate coated wafer, this is deep-fried, with gooey chocolate sealed inside. Similarly, the chocolate chaiyo rolls taste like warm spring rolls but are stuffed with hazelnut praline and butterscotch. The frozen chocolate bomb that looks like a scoop of ice cream is actually an ice-cold cake, eaten with lashings of hot chocolate sauce.
    The sixth edition of the festival also features chocolates with a desi twist. “Chocolates with an Indian identity,” Balachandran calls these novelties by chef C Vijayakumar. An example is the Khova Truffle — a chewy, milky sweet that is encased in dark chocolate, with an almond at the core. While there are 30 new products, store staples like hot chocolate, desserts and cupcakes are also available.
    Festival specials priced from Rs 50; from today till December  22. Details: 0413 2221191

    —  Olympia Shilpa Gerald

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