Nikhil Merchant takes chocoholics on a divine cocoa journey
Chocolate manufacturers around the world have found a way to ensconce some of the best spirits in their smooth and robust creations, providing a luscious experience for discerning palates.
The most popular ones, available in many duty-free shops at international airports including those in Singapore, Europe and America, are the Anthon Berg liquor-filled chocolates. Anthon Berg has borne the distinguished title, “Purveyors to the Royal Danish Court” and has been producing fine chocolates in Europe since 1884. These chocolates are easily identifiable due to their packing; they come shaped as tiny edible bottles made of chocolate and filled with the liquor. The miniature bottles are appropriately labelled Cointreau (my favourite, you can’t go wrong with the best orange liqueur out there combined with a minimum 55% high quality cocoa), Drambuie, Jack Daniels, Malibu, Ricard, Stoli Vanil...
Would you like that cocktail shaken, stirred or covered in fine chocolate? Anthon Berg has a limited range of cocktails poured into their quintessential bottle-shaped, premium dark chocolates. The liqueur-filled confections cost anywhere between Rs1,800-Rs2,000 for a box of 64.
Anthon Bergs are usually sweet and syrupy versions of the liquors; if you want something ‘harder’, Karl Fazer’s vodka-filled choco bombs—conceived in Finland, known for some of the finest vodka in the world—pack quite a shot. The construction of these chocolates is very interesting. Straight-up vodka (or any spirit), if not mixed with sugar, would start dissolving or eating into the sugar from within the chocolate enclosure. To prevent this, the chocolate is layered over a hard sugar candy that is generously filled with fine Finnish Vodka (Finlandia). The chocolate melts away as soon as you slip it into your mouth, leaving the crunchy candy standing between you and the warmth of vodka shooting down your throat. You can experience Karl Fazer’s Vodka chocolates at approximately Rs800-1,000/150 gm.
A Russian brand, Solidarno Liqueurs & Vodka has taken luxury pralines to a new level with these treats, only found in specialty stores (mostly online). These are harder to come by, as they are made in limited quantities and are distributed mostly in the country of origin. Vodka tends to be the preferred liquor, as its sharp spirited profile and lack of flavour make it versatile.
The other way around
Godiva, renowned for its immensely high-quality chocolates have been bottling a small variety of chocolate liqueurs including caramel, dark and milk chocolate liqueurs. Available mostly at duty-free or specialty liquor stores, they are not only creamy, smooth and rich, but also have the right alcohol content to give you an indulgent high with a subdued sweetness permeating the dark decadent liquid chocolate.
Nikhil Merchant is a gourmet consultant, food writer and blogger (Nonchalant Gourmand) and strives to wed the flavors of food to the myriad moods of life.