It's rare that I describe something as "too pretty to eat," and I have to admit, when I do, I'm usually exaggerating, especially if I'm talking about anything sweet. My hunger for chocolate, candy, and baked goods is so rapacious, I really can't be satisfied with merely admiring a dessert. Consumption is how I show my love and respect. To food, I mean. (No cannibal here, no thank you.)
The offerings at Chamak Chocolates have posed the strongest challenge to this practice in recent history. They are so lovely that I stared at them for a full 24 hours, then I willed myself to eat them only after my husband noted their lasting beauty may be hiding declining freshness.
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The first beautiful victim of my Chamak Chocolate tasting was the "Texas Thithilee," a whimsical, butterfly-shaped chocolate (thithilee is Hindi for "butterfly"). The mildly sweet white chocolate exterior encases a stronger, seasoned interior of nutmeg and Texas pecans, a wonderful combination of Lone Star legumes and South Asian spices.
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I found even more intense heat in the "Sholay" (or "flame"), which matched bitter 60 percent cacao chocolate with cinnamon and red and black pepper. This confection challenged my standard American palate, which is accustomed to the idea that desserts are uniformly sweet, and while my heart of hearts is loyal to the more straightforward stuff of Hershey, I adored its spunky originality.
Gulabi aankhen jo teri, a lyric from and title of a classic Bollywood song, roughly translates to "your rose-like eyes." Although this flavor is the least showy in terms of appearance among Chamak Chocolates, its components -- a milk chocolate truffle infused with rose essence and petals, coated in poppy seeds -- couldn't taste prettier.
I saved the most attractive chocolate for last, because I think I harbored some vague hope I would be too full to eat it. Alas, the feisty flavors of the aforetasted sweets only intensified my hunger and my curiosity. The qadeem (Hindi for "antique"), swathed in pink, ivory, gold, and green, boasted an appropriately old-world flavor as well as look, thanks to the combination of ginger and milk chocolate that made me nostalgic for childhood Christmases.
Sarah Ali, the creative confectioner behind Chamak Chocolates, also makes South Asian-inspired brownies, cookies, and cupcakes. Unfortunately (for me), I don't think they're quite as beautiful as her truffles, which means should I get my hands on them there will be no hesitation on my part about demolishing them all in one sitting.