On this dreary January afternoon, I need a pick-me-up. Something to lift my mood and to awake my senses. After a 45 minute workout, and a strong cup of Chai Tea, I still cannot muster the enthusiasm to tackle the weekly kitchen deep-clean.
Out of the corner of my eye…what do I see? Yay!, I have a brand-new box of Devnaa’s Coffee Masala Caramels waiting for me! From the bright pink and purple, tiffin-box inspired packaging to the heady chocolate aroma, this is just what the doctor ordered.
From looking at their lovely website, I learn that Devnaa is a British company, run by brother and sister duo Jay and Roopa Rawal. Roopa is a former student of the Slattery School of Excellence in Manchester, where she gained knowledge of Artisan chocolate making. Together they founded the company and have been inspired by Roopa’s natural talents at making Indian desserts.
Although Indian food is hugely popular in the UK, Indian puddings are often said to be too sweet or too rich. I spent many childhood holidays visiting relatives in Kolkata (or Calcutta as it was known back then), where I was spoilt rotten by every female relative, by being given huge plates of Indian sweets (and often scolded for not being able to eat it all!). I admit, I also found many of the sweetmeats sickly and soon became tired of them. So I am intrigued by one of Devnaa’s creations; their Indian Sweets Tiffin Box, which is a selection of hand-made flavoured barfi enrobed in Belgian chocolate. I am interested to see how they have managed to balance the delicate flavours of fine chocolate with the powerful punch of exotic flavours in the barfi. This may have to be my next purchase from Devnaa.
Roopa and Jay have also written a cookbook, entitled “Devnaa Indian-Inspired Desserts“, which includes some traditional Indian sweets, alongside some recipes with a western influence. This has already been added to my wish-list (Husband…take note).
Created as a limited edition run for Autumn/Winter 2012, I snapped up a box of the Coffee Masala Caramels just after Christmas. The caramel is infused with a signature blend of spices (cinnamon, cardamom, clove and ginger) and roasted coffee; an intoxicating combination, and just what I need to bring a smile back on my face.
The chocolates are packaged in a beautiful purple box, with a bright pink tiffin-box style packaging reminiscent of the metal Indian lunch boxes that my cousins would take to school each day, stacked full of parathas, dahl and vegetable curry (and of course, some obligatory sweetmeats)!
Inside, are sixteen devilishly handsome dark chocolates, shaped into little balls, nestled in royal purple finery. These are kings indeed! Biting into the thick dark shell, brings an almighty snap and a crunch from the crystallised sugar on top. The caramel is thick and gooey, smooth, not too sweet and strong with the masala flavours. I find tiny traces of cinnamon and ginger within the caramel which pleasantly linger on my tongue and mingle with the chocolate.
The chocolate shell is thick, which means that the coffee and masala flavour is muted at the end of the tasting, once the chocolate starts to melt.However, the darkness of the chocolate compliments the strong coffee and fragrant masala very well, and I feel that without the thick coating, the caramel would be far too sweet and the chocolate would be overpowered.
After devouring just three delicious morsels my happy mood is again restored and I am once again ready to face the world (and the kitchen)!