These scoops of chocolate ice cream help you reduce the carbon footprint!
Once you go brown, all the other colours let you down.” Wise words by stand-up comedian Vir Das on dating Indian men. Turns out the same logic applies to Indian chocolate — we realise — upon going ga-ga over a spree of new chocolate ice cream flavours at 196 Degrees Below (which also houses Soul Garden Bistro) in Kilpauk. Rolled out as part of an Indian Single Origin Chocolate Ice Cream Festival (with cocoa beans sourced from Tamil Nadu and Kerala) — we sampled accents of rosemary, mint, coffee and even a thandai spice mix on this speed date of scoops.
Chocolatier L Nitin Chordia, whose company Cocoatrait is collaborating on the 10-flavour menu points out, “You always hear ice cream players (like Magnum and Arun Ice Cream) talking about Indian ice cream with Belgian chocolate. Why not Indian ice cream with Indian chocolate?” Diving into a decadent and OMG-worthy Dark Chocolate Hazelnut & Almond Butter — one can’t but wonder why no one boasted the goodness of desi cocoa beans before this!
We quickly fall in love with the freshness of the mint leaves woven into the Mint and Dark Chocolate. This apart, we’re told since all the flavours are made upon order, using liquid nitrogen — no scoop is more than five minutes old. To add a little drama to the serving experience, coffee mugs with perforations have been specially designed to release runaway wisps of liquid nitrogen, strategically concealed from view below your scoop.
There are some other options that have us curious — like the Organic Raw Dark Chocolate (regaled for its health benefits) and Keto friendly Dark Chocolate (with no dairy and sugar made of substitutes like stevia). The variants with nut butters are richer and certainly smoother to glide your spoon through — but for health nuts, these choices do not fall short on the flavour meter by a long shot. “Given that we’re using dark chocolate in all of these flavours, we’re using 20 per cent less sugar than the average ice cream in all the flavours,” reassures Nitin.
A majority of these flavours can also be made vegan with soy milk on request, but we were disappointed with our Dark Vegan Chocolate that was fairly weak compared to the others and lacked character. Quick to redeem any misgivings you might have about this menu — is the fact that “it helps reduce the carbon footprint” according to Nitin as 95 per cent of ingredients are sourced within 500 km of where it is made. Think organic buffalo milk from Tamil Nadu, cocoa nibs from Kodaikanal and coconut sugar from Kerala. Go ahead, do the world some good and eat some ice cream!
Available at outlets in Kilpauk and Alwarpet. Priced at Rs 199 per scoop. May 11 to June 30.
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