Is Fruit the New Chocolate?

“People want a dessert but not calories. So,what better substitute for rich chocolate than fruits?” says Chef Gurunathan.

Written by Nupur Chaudhuri | Published: February 3, 2012 12:44 am

Healthy,seasonal and delicious,desserts made of fruit are redefining how foodies end their meals

A crumbly tart shell stuffed with cream,strawberries,plums and figs at Daily Treats,Westin hotel; a rich strawberry cheesecake at the recent Strawberry Festival at Hyatt Regency Pune; a raspberry kheer at Radisson Hotel; a fresh fruit pizza at Courtyard By Marriott City Centre; a fruit crumble at Forennte — this list could go on,indicating a sweet trend that’s healthy at the same time. Delicious desserts with more fruit than chocolate is fast rising in popularity in the city.

“People want a dessert but not calories. So,what better substitute for rich chocolate than fruits?” says Chef Gurunathan,pastry chef,Courtyard By Marriott City Centre. While chocolate brownies and chocolate bombs are still on dessert menus,it is the fruity variety,especially with strawberry,that’s screaming for attention. “Women,in particular,ask for strawberry cheesecake or then chocolate cake with strawberries and hazel nuts,” says Chef Roshan Mendonsa,pastry chef,Hyatt Regency Pune. “There was a phase when desserts were all about chocolate. But now,from the young to the elderly,everyone suddenly wants fruits,” he observes. How is he going to constantly cater to this craving? “We’re coming up with an exotic fruit festival as well as a mango festival. Fruits are healthier and packed with nutrients and minerals – a wise choice for desserts,” he says.

Step into the cosy patisserie,Forennte,at Koregaon Park and the picture gets bigger. The glass shelves are lined with fruit cheesecakes,mousses and fruit crumbles. Namrata Kripalani,owner,says,“We use the fruits of the season. These desserts are lighter,more refreshing. A big hit especially at afternoon brunches and weddings.” Strawberries,blueberries,cranberries — add to them cream,crust crumbles and you can hardly keep people for wanting just one piece more. “They’re as healthy as they’re delicious,” a customer points out in between munching on a fruit crumble.

If chocolate is called a sinful indulgence,so are Indian sweets. At The Great Kebab Factory at Radisson hotel,executive chef Arindam Bhattacharya has whipped up strawberry phirni and raspberry kheer. “They appeal to the Indian palate and lend a refreshing taste after a heavy meal,” he says. At the coffee shop,the apple and pear crumbles and the American cheesecake with a mixed berry compote on the side seductively stare at you.

“I think people are fed up with chocolate. Plus,they’ve become more health conscious,” says Chef Gurunathan. Chef Pradeep Persoya,pastry chef at Westin,nods in agreement. As he introduces you to the luscious looking orange chiffon cake and Tropical fruit tarts,he says,“It caters to the ‘staying healthy’ concept. People want to avoid sugar and chocolate and calories.”

Chef Gurunathan takes us over his new list of desserts. “See,no chocolate,” he says,showing off fruit cobblers,fresh fruit soup (“which goes very well with spices”),and lemon grass tea made with reduced lemon grass,sugar-free sweetener,and cubes of tropical fruits — quite like a fruit shot,fresh fruit pizza,fresh fruit parcels akin to fruit money bags,and fresh fruit pavlova – the crusty on top and macaroonishly gooey inside Australian dessert.

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