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Utterly sinful indulgence



An out-and-out chocolatey extravagance at Painted Platters

IF YOU are a diehard chocoholic and love black forest pastries, you won't dare miss the Black Forest Festival at Painted Platters, the "desserts only" parlour. You not just get to ruminate over your dessert to the sound of retro music, but also get a thumbs-up from the creator of the dessert to lick up your plate spray-painted with chocolate art.

Your senses will be invaded by all things black forest — the soft and spongy juicy cake, the ice cream, the rich chocolate ganache and meringue with crunchy sugar bits, the fresh whipped cream melting in your mouth, the chocolate sauce, and the macerated red cherries in between that add that tangy twist to the concoctions. You must, however hang out your dieting coat and reasoning hat before you step into this place, and simply succumb to the sinful black forests.

Desserts to die for

"I've taken black forest to a higher level, to where other people have not taken it yet. We've made it very authentic," says Joe Manavalan, who created these dreamboats, rather nonchalantly, pooh-poohing the black forest cakes made in neighbourhood bakeries. For a man who headed The Oberoi's worldwide pastry and dessert division for over 15 years and taught it generously to young chefs, this must be child's play. He's also spent years in Europe getting his desserts right, the good old European way. (By the way, he swears he can munch his lunch, eat his desserts, and go back for another bite).

If you're looking for an out-and-out chocolatey extravagance, then you opt straight for the black forest concorde (to start with!). The brown-and-white layered dessert on a biscuit base will definitely drive you bonkers. The sensuous feel of chocolate meringue, sponge and fresh whipped cream melting in your mouth makes you crave more. Take your time and let a cold spoonful of dessert turn warm around your tongue. For those who live and swear by chocolate and consider it food for life, this is it.

Lick it off

Joe Manavalan takes pride in the fact that they produce "Art You Can Eat". Yes, each dessert is a masterpiece; we'll vouch for that. But there's also the platter.

Every helping you have comes on a platter that has been spray-painted with chocolate sauce and with an individual stencilled message like — "When God created man, she made a big mistake". I guess you get the hang of it. There's a cherry and chocolate sauce floating around your pastry, inviting you to lick it off your fingers, or for the more adventurous, put your mouth to it and get a chocolate-tipped nose!

The baby black forest is the miniature version of the dessert with moist and syrupy layers of chocolate cake, ganache, fresh cream, cherries and chocolate flakes. By the way, the dessert is inspired by the Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte (don't really bother saying the tongue-twister), the original German version. Though the name doesn't sound it, it's inspired by a romantic image — the dessert is said to resemble the dark brown pine forests snow-capped in winter when the pines are abloom with red cherries!

Ice cream black forest gateaux is quite the Concorde, but with a generous layer of ice-cream. "There's a very thin line between a dessert, pastry and cake. It's all very abstract," offers Joe dreamily. Three of his boys create the pastries in their factory.

"Making pastries works much like a manufacturing unit. Each part is made separately and then it's all put together," says Joe. A secret: he sets his desserts in PVC pipes to standardise their size and shape!

The black forest Alhambra, the cashewnut sponge cake version, and the black forest easterhazy with a walnut meringue are other options you can dig into.

Addictive high

And be prepared to handle the addictive high after the indulgence.

Each of the desserts at the festival is pegged at Rs. 110.

Suggestion: Don't have lunch before you get here. Make the dessert your lunch.

The festival took off on November 10 and is on for two months at Painted Platters and at Joe's other venture, Nineteen Twelve, on St. Mark's Road. Painted Platters is at Robby Arcade, (next to Café Coffee Day), CMH Road, Indiranagar. Phone: 25274711.

Ambience: Cosy, with junk turned into art
Service: Friendly
Speciality: Black Forest Concorde
Wallet Factor: Neat at Rs. 110 per dessert

BHUMIKA K.

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