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Masterclass: A date with a chocolatier taught us why chocolate is the best friend we all need

Can't fall in love? Try chocolates

Nivi Shrivastava @msjunebug_nivi 9 July 2018, 4:18 PM
T2 Exclusive
Will work for chocolate. Chocolatier and chef Sreyoshi Banerjee at Fabelle, ITC Maurya, gives us a lowdown on this divine food

Will work for chocolate. Chocolatier and chef Sreyoshi Banerjee at Fabelle, ITC Maurya, gives us a lowdown on this divine food Image: RAJESH KASHYAP

Have you ever heard of leftover chocolates? Not really, because the concept doesn't exist in a sane world. Dark, white or milk, every person has a type when it comes to chocolate. We discovered ours when we spent a day with expert chocolatier and chef Sreyoshi Banerjee at Fabelle, ITC Maurya, Delhi.

First things first, Sreyoshi took us through a quick introduction to various types of chocolates and told us how to differentiate between the varieties available in the market. The story of chocolate begins with cocoa mass (the original source of all kinds of chocolate) — it's 100 per cent pure cocoa, made from the roasted beans and is completely sugarless. The percentage of chocolate we often read in descriptions is an indication of the cocoa present in that bar. 

Choosing the right variety of chocolate is a tough job. Things we have to do in the name of work!

Choosing the right variety of chocolate is a tough job. Things we have to do in the name of work! Image: RAJESH KASHYAP

A basic rule to understand this is — higher the percentage of cocoa in the chocolate, lesser the sugar content. A dark chocolate will have cocoa content between 70 to 50 percent, whereas milk chocolate will have more sugar and fat and 30 per cent cocoa. Whereas, white chocolate is made of milk solids, sugar and cocoa butter.

Depending on the type of fat used to blend the two ingredients, the quality and price of the chocolate are decided. A bar of couverture chocolate costs higher as it contains cocoa butter and melts very easily (the fat is derived out of cocoa beans and is light to digest). Whereas, the other varieties are made of palm oil and can be stored at room temperature.

Learn from the master, always

Learn from the master, always Image: RAJESH KASHYAP

After a long informative session on chocolates, we began our masterclass and started with melting the chocolate. The chef showed us a cocoa bar and chopped the raw chocolate into smaller pieces with a knife. We collected the piece in a steel pan and kept it over another pan filled with boiling water — while doing this we had to be careful to not let the water steam mix with melted chocolate. 

Never melt chocolate over direct flame, always use a double boiler

Never melt chocolate over direct flame, always use a double boiler Image: RAJESH KASHYAP

After cooling the melted chocolate, we filled it in the piping bags and started to practise icing on a sample bread. Now, the icing may look pretty easy, but it could be quite tricky. So the ground rule is to use both hands, one to hold the top and press, and the other in the bottom to control the quantity. After some trials and tutorials, we were able to create a presentable pattern on a biscuit. 

Not as easy as it looks, handling chocolate can be messy

Not as easy as it looks, handling chocolate can be messy Image: RAJESH KASHYAP

After piping, we moved to food plating and learnt a few handy tips. With the help of a stick and melted chocolate, we could create some interesting patterns on the plate. And fill chocolate cups and place them on the plate with a cherry or fresh fruits on top. One can also use fresh cream in a separate cone and create patterns with chocolate and cream. 

Cherry on chocolate, sounds like indulgence, doesn't it?

Cherry on chocolate, sounds like indulgence, doesn't it? Image: RAJESH KASHYAP

The next thing we learnt was to create designs using fine cones and dark chocolates. We took an empty martini glass and started by created abstract floral patterns from bottom to top. Again, the use of right pressure and patience is the key to getting a good design. After making the design, store it in a fridge and use the glass to serve a chocolate martini or shake. 

Follow the flowers, you'll be at your destination

Follow the flowers, you'll be at your destination Image: RAJESH KASHYAP

Just like wine, even chocolates are classified on the basis of the origin source. Single origin chocolates are grown in tropical regions such as Madagascar, St Dominique, Venezuela and other parts of Africa and South America. One can pair these chocolates with jasmine tea, coffee shots, and green tea to enhance the flavours of flavonoids present in the cocoa. (An expert tip — let the chocolate set in room temperature for at least a few minutes after you take it out of the refrigerator. It blends easily and tastes much better with tea or coffee when it's not frozen.)  

Just like that, we could fill a choco cup without any spills

Just like that, we could fill a choco cup without any spills Image: RAJESH KASHYAP

It took us some time to understand how to work with chocolates and use the various types to create delish desserts, and in the end, all we can say is that there is nothing like too much chocolate. So, enjoy while it lasts.

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