Dark and bitter chocolate not always the best choice : Chef Anil Rohira
Chef Anil Rohira gets candid about the overrated dark and bitter chocolate
The moment Chef Anil Rohira says, "Dark and bitter chocolate is the most undesirable chocolate available in the market," there are some squeals of disagreement. The chef then goes on to explain, "If a chocolate earns the ‘good’ tag then it needs to exhibit some good fruity notes because chocolate comes from a fruit (cocoa tree). Dark bitter chocolate is a product of completely destroyed fruity notes." This from one of the most renowned pastry chefs lays to rest all the doubts in the minds of the people at Phoenix Kessaku’s Chocolate and Wine Pairing session.
Chef Anil is one of the top pastry chefs in the world. Currently, Anil works as the Export Corporate Pastry Chef at Felchlin, Switzerland — one of the producers of finest chocolate couvertures, fillings, pastes and more. Throwing more light on his statement, he says, "If I offered you a mango and told you it is bitter, you wouldn’t accept it. It’s the same with chocolate. It comes from a fruit and needs to present those notes."
Even as the chocolate industry keeps evolving in India with more premium offerings, the chef says it’s the common consumer who has contributed to this. "The evolution is happening not only because of chocolate connoisseurs but also because of the common person. As a community, we are more open to flavour ranges, intensities and diversities and that’s helping," he says.
Though there is a defined segment for fine chocolates, experiments are on to use chocolate as a main ingredient in Indian desserts such as jalebi, rabdi and barfi. Anil, a purist, doesn’t quite agree with this thought. "I am not a fan of enjoying chocolate in a jalebi. I will always like my jalebi the traditional way, with saffron. If I want a chocolate custard, I will make a pot de creme or a creme brulee," he says.
Even as he seems to despise the combination of chocolate with native flavours, the chef points out how the ingredient has blurred boundaries. "Fifty years ago, you wouldn’t have heard of a Matcha Truffle in France, but today, it exists. Chocolate has dissolved boundaries and there is acceptance of other cultures," he says. In addition to this, he shares an important aspect of how the Indian chocolate connoisseur is progressing. Anil says, this year, the demand for personalised chocolates will be far more. "The next step in India is that people will define their chocolate requirements. They will not be shy to say, I don’t like this. I think we will get rid of this ‘cool’ image of saying I like 90 per cent bitter chocolate," he offers.