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Am a contradiction of sorts. i love going out and having a good time with friends, and i can also stay home chill out over a book or a movie.. Am very passionate about writing, so give me a topic and watch me float away into wonderland... I Am crazy about music,books,friends and my doggie... :)

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Smoked Tofu and a salad in a jiffy

Last weekend was the By Hand from the Heart event at Crowne Plaza.. For the last few years I have been attending this event, it all began with a friend having a stall, and over the years well it has become a tradition of sorts. The event is different from others because it is a Maker's market, all products on sale are hand made - ranging from clothes, cheese, honey, chocolates, jewellery, bags, etc etc... 

So, on Saturday a friend and I made plans to visit, it was the 2nd day and we wandered about checking out the stalls. The 2nd stall right at the entry point was by Aurosoya, and there we met Dhaval Chandarana who spoke to us about their products and got us to taste the Smoked Tofu. It was love at first bite, we picked up a packet each along with few other items from the stall. 

I have always enjoyed Tofu and was quite excited about using this product in salads or stir fries.  Anyways, after about an hour we were done here and wondered where to head for lunch. I asked friend if she had been to Benjarong and she said it had been ages. It was down the road and within minutes we were in the restaurant and shown to a table. 

I have been here way too many times and the Chef [Ramkumar] is a good friend as well... But that day, I dint tell him I was coming and hoped to get away... [Wishful thinking]. We decided to try the Vietnamese set meal that started with the delicious Vietnamese coffee. Just as we were getting ready to dig into our soup, he came over and we chit chatted. I told him about the exhibition and proceeded to give him the packet of Smoked tofu to try. 

Voila, next thing I see him back at our table with a plate that looks divine. He has managed to whip up a salad using the smoked tofu and raved about its flavours. The salad was simple, yet packed a punch. It had lemon juice, garlic, some peanuts, chilli oil , cherry tomato and few other elements. The one thing about the dish was that it heroed the Smoked tofu...  How amazing is that. Friend was stumped and excited at the same time... 





As we wound up the meal and left the place a statement my friend made plays in my head often... "It is amazing how you connect people and are more than happy to do that"... :-) 



Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Fabelle comes to town, ITC Grand Chola, Chennai

There were Quality Street chocolates in those round tin boxes when I was growing up. And then I discovered the world of Lindt, Ghirardelli and Godiva… But then I am not a big chocolate fan, and am reminded of this every time the entire family comes together. They laugh about how they would have me in the room and wipe out the entire Quality street box and I wouldn’t cry asking for one. Well, am pretty much the same today when it comes to chocolate. Only difference is if there is dark chocolate around, you will see me come back for a second piece a day or so later. That apart my appetite for information has grown multi fold over the years, am constantly curious – origin, the process that transforms the humble cocoa pod into the chocolate and beyond… How fitting that I got to visit a Chocolate boutique when am reading a book called The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier which is about students and chocolate boxes.















When I heard about the newest entrant in the chocolate arena in the city, I was curious to say the least. Fabelle is the brand am referring to, they have partnered with ITC Hotels across the country and opened swanky chocolate boutique within the property.  In Chennai, ITC Grand Chola is where you find the Fabelle boutique.

If you are the kind who enjoys chocolates, loves to just let them linger in your mouth and allow the taste buds to have a party, then this is where you should head to. Sit down in one of the plush sofas, browse through some interesting and quirky books, walk around the place listening to the staff give insights/facts about the chocolates and finally do indulge…

You can choose from the box of Ganache [dark or milk chocolate], the one called Elements [Earth, wind, fire, wood and water] or maybe a dessert made with these fine chocolates [ranging from chocolates from Saint Dominican, Madagascar and so on] along with cinnamon, cocoa nibs, ancho chilli, nectar, almonds, salted caramel, coffee, berry, and some more to create the most amazing chocolates. The best part is, you pop the chocolate in your mouth and just let it melt, and enjoy the burst of flavours... Sinful ~!! 

I watched the Chef put together this beautiful dessert- Chocolate Flower [similar to a dessert created on MasterChef Australia]- she patiently arranges the mousse in the center with precision, and steady hands place the chocolate Petals around it, then the tiny drop of flavours all around; Wait, here comes the drama- a warm liquid made of orange and white chocolate is poured all around it and the petals fall down one by one. The mousse also has layers within- raspberry coulis and a crunchy pistachio layer.

 Oh and you can also create your own little cups of heaven - "As you like it" [on the tablet available at your table] - pick a base, add a filling, now the topping and voila and can bite into it within minutes.  Looking for something to wash it all down with- well choose from their hot or cold beverages.  ITC sure is turning things up a notch- be it food or these chocolates. What more could you possibly need? I loved the dark chocolate Ganache, it was just yummilicious. Oh and I also tried the 100% cocoa mass, and 84% dark chocolate- both of which I love love loveddd… 

The plated desserts are priced around Rs575 while the box of 5 pieces [Elements] is priced at Rs 400, and the box of 20 Ganache pieces is around Rs675. I must make a mention of this- their  attention to detail, if you were to ask for a box of the "As you like it" or the Ganache, it comes with a special ice pack to ensure the chocolate retains its texture and form till you reach your destination.  

Disclaimer: The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember that restaurants and eat outs sometimes change with time, so does their food and service. So, kindly consider these factors while visiting the places. Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon App├ętit  :-)
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