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Chocolates all the way

The right chocolate can make a dessert outstanding, says Chef John Evans of New Delhi's Jaypee Vasant Continental. Read on with SUMITRA SENAPATY to know about all those mouth-watering chocolates.


SINFUL CAKES and pastries or gooey puddings and soufflés, chocolate desserts remain menu favourites of customers and chefs alike. "That is why chocolate is so important to a dessert menu," says John Evans, Executive Pastry Chef at Jaypee Vasant Continental. "If people treat dessert as a reward after a meal, then they want it to be something spectacular, and that usually means chocolate. There will always be people looking forward to an awesome chocolate dessert, and I just cannot disappoint them."

At the hotel's Old Bakery Shop, Evans offers his customers a broad range of chocolate choices, from the simple to the sublime. Chocolate pralines, chocolate truffles, Black Forest pots, éclairs, chocolate mousse, chocolate disc, gold chocolate bars, hazelnut milk chocolate and many more. Growing up in Conway, the mountainous region of North Wales, John Evans did not realise his passion for pastries until he started making Italian ice cream, then wedding and birthday cakes in Wales. He later moved to London to train with a Swiss pastry chef, where he learnt classical pastries, chocolates and sugar works. The Swiss chef helped in establishing the foundation for techniques which the pastry chef uses to this day, so much so, that Evans believes in using only Swiss chocolate for preparing his products. Recognising that the right chocolate can propel a dessert from average to outstanding, Chef John insists on nothing less than Swiss-made Felchlin chocolate. Actually it is getting to be quite a trend, chefs using premium chocolates and listing them by name to add panache to the dessert menu. When it comes to creating a chocolate dessert, there are two ways of doing it, says Evans. Some pastry chefs go for a classic, like a Black Forest cake, and then jazz it up to make it more interesting. The other way is to go with something more innovative, like a warm soft-centred chocolate pudding with vanilla ice cream and orange salad, sweet lemon and palm sugar pannacotta with watermelon and grapefruit or a warm country apple tart with caramel parfait, etc.

"New trends are coming in from all over the world," says Evans. "I have to see what Indians like, maybe ice cream flavoured with different Indian flavours, maybe tea or coffee. Also think of praline with rose jam, nutmeg truffles and ginger/lemon pralines."

Few people can help themselves when it comes to chocolate, specially Chef John's plans for desserts at Vasant Continental - Liquor Chocolates with Grand Mariner, Crème de Cacao, Rose Liquor and more, a Mille Feuille with Seviya, decorated with Mascaporne and strawberries, a cardamom crème brulee, rasmalai with chocolate mousse and a three-pronged dessert combination of an ice cream, a sorbet, followed by a kulfi. The creation of this range seems a triumph, because it also proves that Indian flavours can be successfully blended with international products. As to chocolates, do remember that apart from its euphoria similar to falling in love, its energy-giving properties are so well known

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