A while ago, I saw a Twitter friend (@BziB) talking about a new chocolate goodies' shop that her sister Michelle had opened. My curiosity was immediately piqued and I congratulated her on the opening. The sweetheart that @BziB is, she offered to send some samples across and I was thrilled that I would be one of the first people to be writing about it. And there it was, waiting on my desk this morning, a beautiful li'l batch made by the lovely Michelle!
A Sophia’s (HAFT) alumna, Michelle has worked in one of the most prestigious hotel kitchens in the country at the Taj Group of Hotels. She specializes in pastry and confectionery, and has continued to make and bake passionately even after she left the Taj. For a while, she has whipped up treats for friends and family, but she dreams of owning a café eventually. The little Chocolate Shop is the first step in that direction. She believes that because pastries and chocolates are indulgences, they should always be made only from the best, healthiest ingredients.
The little Chocolate shop was started on the first of May, 2013 and operates out of a kitchen in Goregaon. And it was from there that a beautiful pack of four goodies and a small pack of savouries was sent to me. I couldn't wait to sink my teeth into them! The pack consisted of a wholewheat chocolate brownie with walnut toppings, a gooey chocolate almond brownie, a butter caramel chocolate tart and a mini Banoffee pie, accompanied by a small pack of Garlic Herb crackers.
I started with the Garlic Herb crackers first, and found them crisp and subtly flavoured, just the way I like them. I think I detected some cheese in it too, but I could totally be imagining it. The herbs used in savouries like these are all home-grown by Michelle, who believes in delivering only the healthiest possible treats to her customers.
Then came the Mini Banoffee pie, which I thought was a splendid idea. These bite-sized goodies are perfect for weight-watching, sweet-toothed people like me. Imagine all that yummy, chocolate-sprinkled banana-cream-toffee goodness in your mouth at once! What's not to like, right? :)
I tried the butter-caramel chocolate tart next. The crusts of both the tarts were beautifully crumbly, and in my book, that's what makes for a perfect tart. The tart crust was filled with butter-caramel sauce, with a layer of chocolate on top. As I bit into it, my mouth was filled with the sauce, causing the most beautiful explosion of flavours with the sweet of caramel and the slight salt of butter. It was easily my favourite of the four things.
I tried the brownies next, starting with the gooey chocolate-almond variety. Perhaps because it was a day-old, the brownie had hardened a little. Tasty as they were, I did not find them 'gooey'. But I can imagine it going superbly well on a Sizzling Brownie platter with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce!
Lastly, I tried the Wholewheat Chocolate Brownie, topped with chopped walnuts. Considering there are few, if any, 'healthy' dessert options, this kind of brownie should resonate with the health-conscious. It had a dense, cakey consistency and was not excessively sweet. The chopped nuts added more character, making it quite a mouthful. Again, a little on the hard side, but I know many people like their brownies like that. A perfect choice, I repeat, for weight-watching dessert lovers.
Apart from these, Michelle makes lovely things like Baby Meringues, Dairy Free Pavlovas, Mango Tarts, Marzipan Cupcakes, and Rainbow Cookies among other things. You can check out their menu here.
Currently, The little Chocolate Shop takes only custom orders, but they will open a cafe shortly. They currently deliver to locations between Bandra and Malad (other locations on request) in Mumbai. You can address your enquiries to Karina Varma on firstname.lastname@example.org and can check out their FB page too for latest updates on all good chocolat-y things.