Sweet, chocolatey life lessons of sharing and valuing

The once-special Sunday treat of a carefully divided chocolate bar has turned kind of common today
CHOCOLATE DAY: From a humble chocolate square to fancy chocolate pastries, Goa is seeing a culinary shift.
CHOCOLATE DAY: From a humble chocolate square to fancy chocolate pastries, Goa is seeing a culinary shift.Photo: Cinco

In my childhood, with five of us at home, a Cadbury chocolate bar felt like a real treat. The creamy, melt-in-your-mouth squares were only for special occasions or happy Sundays when the entire family was together.

That one bar was equally divided among every member of the family, and since it already came in squares, there was never a fight of ‘she got a bigger piece’. That one little bite was pure luxury.

CHOCOLATE DAY: From a humble chocolate square to fancy chocolate pastries, Goa is seeing a culinary shift.
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It's funny how things change, though. Today, as most of us celebrate Chocolate Day, it makes me think about how that once-special Sunday treat has become kind of ordinary, with all the marketing and the varied choices that are now available in the market.

With restaurants hosting special offers and deals today – let’s take a look at how chocolate, which was a dessert of sorts, is now taking over traditional sweets, and is added innovatively in salads, too.

Chef Ashish Tripathi, a sous chef in the bakery of Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, says, “Chocolate goes beyond being a mere dessert treat. It is a versatile ingredient that can enrich both sweet and savoury dishes with its rich and decadent flavour.”

“Chocolate is packed with antioxidants and minerals, and is perfect for creating decadent breakfasts and energy-imbued mornings,” says Chef Ashish who made chocolate crepes using healthy options, and at the same time an easy meal to cook.

This quinoa salad with sweet chilli and chocolate dressing highlights how chocolate can bring depth and a unique twist to savoury dishes.

Chef Pornima Vargurmekar, Chef de Partie, Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Benaulim

ODE TO CHOCOLATE: Cinco, in Margao, is offering over 12 different types of chocolates in its store on the occasion of Chocolate Day.
ODE TO CHOCOLATE: Cinco, in Margao, is offering over 12 different types of chocolates in its store on the occasion of Chocolate Day. Photo: Cinco

Since Goa is known for its wide range of cuisine, chocolate now features in one of them. Cinco, which is known for its chocolates, too, is celebrating Chocolate Day offering over 12 different types of chocolates.

“It is an ode to chocolate. As a kid, I remember that we would get either chocolates from guests or Indian sweets. But now, people are exposed to chocolate and are open to trying out new and innovative tastes,” says Chef Pratik Roy, co-owner of Cinco, a bakery and pastry boutique in Margao.

CHOCOLATE IN SALAD: Quinoa Salad with Sweet Chilli and Chocolate Dressing is a unique and nutritious combination.
CHOCOLATE IN SALAD: Quinoa Salad with Sweet Chilli and Chocolate Dressing is a unique and nutritious combination.Photo: Taj Exotica Resort & Spa

Would you try chocolate in salads? Well, Taj Exotica Resort & Spa has tried innovations in the quinoa salad with sweet chilli and chocolate dressing.

Chef Pornima Vargurmekar, Chef de Partie, who created this marvel says, “This quinoa salad with sweet chilli and chocolate dressing highlights how chocolate can bring depth and a unique twist to savoury dishes."

"The blend of quinoa, sweet chilli sauce, and couverture chocolate (higher percentage of cocoa butter than baking or eating chocolate) creates a harmonious and nutritious combination. With its rich flavour and complexity, chocolate opens up a world of culinary possibilities,” she adds.

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Chef Dibendu Roy of Taj Fort Aguada laments his memories of chocolates as a child.

“Chocolates are a therapy for celebration. Happiness, sadness, festivities, togetherness, love, bonding, all come along with chocolate. There was a time, when I used to wait for the final academic results and if I scored well, I would demand my favourite chocolate!" he recalls.

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Somewhere, there is a sense of nostalgia every time I walk by the shelves in the chocolate section of a supermarket.

The idea of eating chocolate is not just one of mere fun, but for this family of five, it was a lesson of life, which taught us sharing, value and worth.

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