Rediscover the magic of the classic fruit and nut duo with Chef Prateek Bakhtiani’s Diwali specials
Diwali staples are incomplete without a healthy mix of exotic fruits and gourmet nuts. Now add to that an indulgent amount of the smoothest Dominican Milk-Dark Chocolate, and that’s what Ether Atelier Chocolat has on offer.
True to its name, the atelier is a harmonious balance of serenity and equilibrium. Embodied in its truest essence by Chef Prateek Bakhtiani, the chocolate offerings reflect the same as well. The chef’s origin story is as interesting as his eclectic experiments, journeying from a background in chemistry to a passion for pastry.
Chef Prateek’s wanderlust for flavours has taken him through several Michelin starred restaurants in France, Belgium and the United States. Post these stints, he also trained with the prestigious EPGB in Tijuana, Mexico and studied Gelato at Carpigiani in Bologna, Italy.
Moving back to Mumbai in 2018, Chef Bakhtiani’s search for a quiet chocolate sanctuary eventually led to the setting up of his atelier. Located in a quiet street of Wadala, the atelier is a creative space conducive to innovation in the sensory exploration of chocolate.
With Ether, the chef has created a space for his peers to experience the chocolate as much as experiment with it. They are encouraged to learn of the origins and compositions of the chocolate they work with, to be inspired by it and translate that feeling into a final product. These experiments then create a set of 5 inspiration driven collections biannually for indulgent enthusiasts.
But at a time where kaju barfis and laddoos are aplenty, how does a premium chocolate offering like Ether factor into Diwali gifting?
“I think the landscape for traditional Indian mithai is definitely shifting. Chocolate is a universally loved ingredient, and a very natural next step and progression into the creative application of sweets,” quips Chef Prateek.
Building on the same, Ether’s Diwali inspirations have been all about redefining fruit and nut as we know it. According to Chef Prateek, it’s all about making it a bit more intellectually stimulating as well.
Numerically labelled, the Fruit and Nut bars up for grabs include a Dominican milk-dark chocolate with some apricots and Iranian green pistachios. If you’re more of a milk chocolate lover, there’s some Ghana milk chocolate coupled with coconut and Goan cashew nuts up for grabs. For the dark chocolate aficionados, it’s Peruvian dark chocolate, figs, and the most delicious caramelized pecans all the way.
Additionally, the Fruit and Nut Dragées box is not to be missed this Diwali. The thought of caramelized hazelnuts coated in layers of delectable Japanese Yuzu and Ghanaian single origin chocolate is enough to set the cravings off.
“We’re also making a cake which we made last year as well, and is back by popular demand. It is inspired by traditional halwa making. It’s a three saffron cake, with Iranian, Kashmiri, and Arab saffron with a pistachio sponge. [The cake] is then filled up with saffron boondi. It’s a very textural experience of going through the sponge and the boondis. Beautiful,” adds Chef Prateek, once again reiterating his personal passion and belief in delivering only the best of the best.
Ether, or the fifth element, is all about chocolates that respect the source and deliver in terms of both flavours and nuance. It helps that a hundred percent of the chocolate used at Ether is single origin, and in most cases single plantation pure couverture chocolate. With origins ranging from Peru to Indonesia to Madagascar, it’s a trip around the world with every bite.
What makes the chocolates special is also the ease of handling it and creating something of your own at home this festive season. Skip the hours of labouring over traditional mithais, without losing the intricate taste expected of desserts. Who said Diwali needs to have you in the kitchen for hours on end?
According to Chef Prateek, all you need is a cool table, some great Noir bars courtesy Ether, and a quick trip to your local store for the fruits and nuts of your choice. With a recipe that’s as simple as it is indulgent, you’ve got a deliciously perfect equation on your hands. Make this Diwali like no other, the Ether way.
Ether’s Fruit and Nut Bars
- 3-4 Noir bars
- Columbian pecans
- Dried figs
- Smoked salt
- Melt the Noir bars down to 45℃ to make sure all the crystals are melted.
- Re-crystallize the chocolate on a cool table by moving it around and working the chocolate till it’s dropped down to around 28℃.
- Once done, pour the chocolate into a mold of your choice. Pump it with as many pecans and figs as you like.
- You can then set it in the fridge for about 5 minutes before leaving it out for an hour to set.