The adage ‘saving the best for last’ has never been more apt when it comes to desserts. That sweet finish to a good meal puts the proverbial, and often, quite literal, cherry on the cake. After all, dessert is the last thing one remembers of a meal; the luxurious goodness of every sweet bite rounding off an indulgent evening so very well.
From a few, almost sculptural, confections to some truly scrumptious treats, the dessert scene in India has now entered a whole other realm, so, with this in mind, we have curated a list of some of the most decadent confections from across the country to indulge all of your senses with.
Levitating dacquoise at Izaya, Mumbai
As though magically defying gravity (and yes, logic), this stunning dessert, sitting pretty in a glass bowl hovers gently above a black plastic base, all thanks to the quantum mechanical effect called diamagnetism. Here, an applied magnetic field, both, at the base of the specially made glass bowl, and atop the black base stand, creates an induced magnetic field in the opposite direction, causing a repulsive force which makes the bowl levitate.
The dacquoise itself is a super light confection that is made up of Belgian Callebaut chocolate, Normandy Chantilly cream and Mahabaleshwar strawberries. A rather fussy garnish of small almond meringues, edible nasturtium flowers, micro greens and gold leaf adds that extra flourish.
Chocolate mushroom at Ophelia, New Delhi
In total sync with Ophelia’s whimsical floral motifs scattered across this pretty restaurant, the chocolate mushroom dessert on offer here is equally as stunning. Sculpted in the shape of a woody mushroom, the dessert is composed of a dark chocolate mousse covering that is stuffed with a rum ball made from fine Belgian chocolate and a combination of both Philadelphia cream cheese and Elle and Vire cream cheese for a lusciously smooth send-off.
Zen pebbles at Typhoon Shelter, Mumbai
Inspired by her stint at the erstwhile Gaggan Bangkok, pastry chef Solanki Roy draws in traditional French flavours and a contemporary approach, with a surprise twist to present this dessert. Here, we find a creamy caramel vanilla mousse that is coated in a melted white chocolate exterior, holding within its core a hazelnut crunch for that all-important contrasting texture. Much like one would do when making marble paper, the white chocolate-covered ‘pebble’ is then quickly dipped in a colour-swirled bath for that desired marbled effect.
Baobing at Cantan, Bengaluru
A colourful riff on the popular Korean shaved ice dessert called bingsu, this vibrant dessert with an onomatopoeic name like Baobing is the pretty-looking sum of an interesting array of components. Here, we have finely shaved ice that is set into different forms and layers, topped with a selection of adornments that take the form of fresh fruit cubes, jelly morsels, tapioca pearls and a quenelle of raspberry ice cream. All this is then anointed with a swirl of unctuous condensed milk.
Parched at Nueva, New Delhi
A full-on chocolate explosion, the visually brilliant ‘parched’ at the South American cuisine restaurant Nueva is a mélange of interesting flavours and textures to create a truly modern Indian chocolate dessert. A treat to satiate all your chocolate cravings, parched is composed of spicy chili-chocolate noodles, strawberry leather, and a red rice paper sheet to counter the rich, almost intoxicating presence of dark chocolate mousse.
The Godfather ‘cigar’ at The Runway Project, Mumbai
Presented with great flair and drama, the stylish The Godfather ‘cigar’ dessert is a great trick to the senses. What you have here is a cigar-shaped, cylindrical shell made from dark Madagascar chocolate that is filled with a coffee mousse-like crémeux with an almond brittle and tiramisu centre. Brought to the table with befitting ceremony, ensconced in a wooden cigar box, accompanied by a waft of the woodsy hickory smoke, this dessert is drama incarnate.
Image credit – the image of Baobing is courtesy of Vinayak Grover