A Charminar to drool and eat
Chocolatier Adelbert Bucher shares some molten moments on cocoa, sugar and why chocolates turn us all into children. SERISH NANISETTI listens in
BUILDING IT UP Lindt chocolatier Adelbert Boucher creating a scaled model of Charminar which will be on display till September 26 at Westin PHOTOS: SERISH NANISETTI
When he steps out of the lift
car and proffers his palm,
he smells of chocolate.
"My family doesn't complain
when I come back from
work smelling like this," he says
with a laugh. Chef Adelbert
Bucher's cap has a single
smudge of chocolate and he fixes
you with his steel grey eyes
twinkling with mischief and
says: "I must have had my first
chocolate when I was two, maybe
when I was four? I don't remember.
But I lived just across
Lake Zurich near Lake Lucerne
so I could always smell chocolate
In the city for creating a Lindt
Charminar (will it be eaten after
the display?) Chef Adelbert
shares some of his gyaan about
chocolate, the fine art of savouring
it and the nuances that make
it such a luxurious craving.
Inside the chocolate room of
Westin Hotel in Madhapur
where the Charminar is being
created with the help of chef Joseph,
he is all hands and eyes. He
finds a column of Charminar
that is not being worked on and
he carries it like a baby and puts
it in the chiller where the temperature
is -2 Celsius. "Chocolate
should be savoured at room
temperature, only then you will
get all the flavours," he says. But
India is a warm country and
chocolates melt when you keep
them outside refrigerator.
"Switch on the room AC, keep
the temperature at 20 C, keep
the chocolate outside and you
will see heaven," he promises.
Chef Joseph sprays a fine mist
of chocolate on the arches and
columns which gives the room
an aroma that is drool-worthy,
the four chocolate finials are
still in their molten state in
cones for Adelbert to give the
finishing touches (he climbed
the monument on Sunday to get
a feel of the place).
"You should not bite a chocolate,
you should let it melt in
your mouth, let all the flavours
wash inside your mouth. It
should melt, you shouldn't have
to chew it like a chewing gum.
Even if you eat a chocolate every
day, you will find different flavours.
Chocolate is about cocoa
not about sugar. Cheap chocolates
are for bees, they are full of
sugar," he says.
He offers a ball of Lindt chocolate
wrapped in red. The moment
it is inside the mouth it
explodes, filling the mouth,
forcing you to savour the flavours.
"Chocolates are a luxury,
the beans are expensive, the
process of conching for creating
fine chocolates takes about
three days. This is what makes
them so special," he says.
"The beans for fine chocolates
come from Cuba, Madagascar,
Ivory Coast, Venezuela
and other hot countries. You
see, the cocoa plant likes warm
weather but not the sun. There
are variations in the bean depending
on the country of origin,
the soil, the climate and
even the season. Like sommeliers
who can tell the province of
wine, chocolatiers can tell that
for the bean. We use a combination
of beans to ensure the taste
remains the same," says Adelbert.
So what makes Swiss chocolates
different? "The Swiss were
the first to take to making chocolates.
That worked to its advantage,"
he says dismissing all
notions about magic, weather
and corporate secrets.
"If you want a hot chocolate,
don't buy a pound of cocoa
powder, boil milk and add sugar.
Why don't you just take a dark
chocolate or two (they have percentages
of cocoa written on the
wrapper) put them in a mug,
pour the milk, use a hand blender.
Then sit down and drink it
watching the rain?" he advises.
Aye, to that.
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