Thursday, 20 February 2014

Royce Chocolates at the Marriott

        Earlier this week, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend and experience the pairing menu that was created by Royce chocolates at The Bombay Baking Co (J W Marriott Mumbai) on the occasion of the opening of their second store in Mumbai. Like we know, Royce chocolates is a Premium Japanese Brand that was started way back in 1983. Royce opened its flagship store in Palladium, Mumbai in the month of July 2013.


                   

Focusing on intricacy and innovation, Royce chocolates is looking to create a niche in the Indian market, which is currently hot for new products. Their concept of opening a "Chocolate Bar" in Mumbai, certainly left the food scene here abuzz. All the products of Royce chocolates were paired with appropriate beverages for us to experience them in all their complexity and element.            
     Chef Himanshu Taneja was there to lead us through the pairings. He was his usual warm and affable self, making everyone feel at home and made the event even more enjoyable.



                     

            
                   


  We started off with two types of teas. The Twinings Glendale Twirl was paired with Ghana sweet chocolate & the Twinings 2nd Flush Darjeeling was paired with the Venezuela Bitter chocoate. Being a dark chocolate lover, the Venezuela Bitter pairing with my daily Darjeeling was like a match made in heaven.

    

                            




                            




  


The 2nd Flush Darjeeling with the Ghana Dark
  
  Now shifting to coffee, pure espresso with the crema was paired with the Hazelnut Baton cookie. They also had a plain variation of the cookie to taste. These Baton cookies had a chocolate coating as their base. The cookies themselves were crisp, melt - in - the - mouth. Individually packaged, they were like the perfect accompaniments for whenever your guests come over for a hot cuppa! 
     The interesting part here was that J W Marriott had commissioned two "dessert cocktails" especially for this menu. The first one was "Chocolate D'zire" which was a concoction of Chocolate syrup, Vodka & Amaretto served in a chocolate shaving - rimmed martini glass and was paired with the Royce Nama "Mild Cacao"  which was perfectly moist and bite sized. The second dessert cocktail on the menu was a strong mix of Bourbon, hot chocolate sauce and a tiny bit of chocolate bitter which was accompanied by what was, if I may say, my utmost favorite chocolate of the evening -  the Royce Nama "Ecuador Sweet". 



                         

                                        

The piece of information that amazed me the most was that all the Royce chocolates are sold in a very special three layered packaging (with ice packs and stuff) because Royce chocolates are so delicate and exquisite that it cannot take any sort of heat abuse. Amazing huh?! 
 Also available on the pairings menu was is the Singleton "18" single malt, which is paired with the Royce Criollo Bitter, made from the world's rarest cocoa beans. 
    The Royce Chocolate Pairing Menu will be served at the Bombay Baking Co and Reflections at the JW Marriott, Mumbai.
    
    So my final verdict on Royce chocolates? They have certainly raised the bar in both quality and innovation in the Indian Market. It looks like the time is right for us to move towards things different than our usual dairy milk (A bar of dairy milk will always be special to us; but honestly, Royce is a must try, especially if you are a chocolate aficionado). Speaking as a chocolate lover as well as a food blogger, Royce is going to be giving a few other exclusive chocolate brands some stiff competition- not only quality wise but also range wise. I found their range (Approx. INR 900 and above) pretty reasonable. All in all, a refreshing and wonderful change. They've found a customer in me for a long time to come.

      


A special mention and thanks to the following people - Stacy from MSL, for giving me the opportunity to be at the event and Anchal for not letting me feel alone! A big thank you to Pri from Burgundy and Pracheta from the Marriott for being gracious hosts. And last but not the least, to Chef Himanshu Taneja for answering all my questions very patiently along with a smile. 
    



Monday, 10 February 2014

Orange and Chocolate Muffins

Yellow Daisies :)
                       No, I haven't taken leave of my senses, just thought I'd start off with a random thought cause thats what I've been doing recently :) What I am putting up today is actually a very old recipe but a super hit every time and as an added bonus, it is super healthy! :) What's better than guilt - free indulgence?

So these easy  orange and dark chocolate muffins are the perfect combo of a citrusy punch and deep warm chocolate! So lets begin,

Ingredients -
Makes 6 medium size cupcakes.
1 large cup of wheat flour
1 large cup of granulated sugar
1/2 cup of cocoa powder
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
1 cup of vegetable oil (preferably canola, but any other will do)
1/2 cup of milk
1/4 cup of water
1 teaspoon of white vinegar
2 medium oranges - peeled and juiced
keep the juice separately

Procedure
  • Pre heat your oven to 180 degrees.
  • First sieve the flour and mix in all the dry ingredients.
  • Grate the orange rind (you should have about half a cup) (and grate only till the orange part is off the skin - not the white part because that is bitter) 
  • Add 2 tablespoons of sugar and two tablespoons of water in a heavy pan and bring to a boil - add the orange rind to it and simmer until sticky. 
  • Remove immediately and add to the dry ingredients bowl
  • Add the orange juice.
  • Add all the wet ingredients one by one. Add the vinegar last.
  • The consistency should be thick and heavy. Not very runny.
  • Fill the cupcake moulds 3/4th its capacity and put them in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes - until the top is firm to touch 










Presentation suggestion - Candy a few orange sections like you candied the rind and place on top of the cupcake - dust with cocoa powder! :)
Variations - You can add melted Dark chocolate to give them that moistness (A not so healthy version). For the Vegan version, just skip the milk and replace with equal quantity of warm water. You also try this with different fruit juices like pineapple, apple and cranberry :)


Until next time then,

Cheers!