Shreya N. used to be content curling up with a good book or teasing her younger brother when she was not studying. Until she experimented with chocolates and came up with her own recipe in the free time she had in the aftermath of her class 10 exams, that is. This first year media studies student of Christ University tells us how she went from simply drooling over chocolate bars in supermarkets to making mouth-watering desserts herself.
Since childhood, the dark brown Dairy Milk bars were the first thing I picked up from the supermarket when I went shopping with my mother.
Chocolate made me happy. There were so many varieties, and as I grew older I found it fascinating.
The first time I made chocolates, they tasted so good that I never stopped making them. That my family and friends relished what I made spurred me to go on.
In the beginning, the recipe seemed tedious.
There are a lot of steps such as pounding, melting, tampering, cooling and setting, each one taking about 15 minutes. One has to take precise quantities of exact ingredients so as to get the right consistency. I couldn't go overboard with the cocoa or the sugar so as to keep them light without compromising on the taste.
I went for a two-day workshop to get it just right. In a year, I became more confident and experimented with the measures and ingredients to come up with my own varieties.
Of course, trials meant errors too.
The most difficult part of it all was learning to pour the chocolate at the right temperature and allow it to set for just the required amount of time, so that I could cut them up neatly into smooth yet firm pieces.
Homemade chocolates actually taste far better than those from the market.
Once I mastered the art, I started gifting them on birthdays and other occasions.
Occasionally, I even get orders to make chocolates and other desserts.
I might spend just Rs. 50 or even Rs. 500 on buying ingredients for making chocolate, depending on the variety and quality I want to achieve. But, at the end of the day, the joy of taste and the satisfaction of making them are priceless.
Chocolate making is quite a popular hobby these days.
There is plenty of demand for homemade chocolates now as they have a distinct taste and texture that factory manufactured ones do not offer. Besides, buying homemade chocolates makes one feel special and like a gourmand appreciative of a fine art.
My biggest learning from this hobby is patience.
Patience to learn, follow a process meticulously and wait until it all bears fruit, which in my case, was very sweet indeed.
(As told to Niranjana Ramesh)