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Chef Sanjana Patel gets a design and architecture team to sculpt chocolate bars

Chef Sanjana Patel gets a design and architecture team to sculpt chocolate bars with unique topography, with quirky wrappers to match

As are the triangular patterns on the chocolate slabs Pics/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
As are the triangular patterns on the chocolate slabs Pics/Sayyed Sameer Abedi

If the surface of your chocolate bar reminds you of the Louvre Pyramid, blame it on Sanjana Patel. The dessert chef behind chocolaterie-patisserie La Folie decided to make architectural marvels of cocoa to mark the launch of La Folie Lab's latest outpost in June. Ten chocolate bars with unique triangular topography are now on sale.

"Our first prototype wasn't the best. The edges were too sharp, and chocolate's viscosity had led to air bubbles. Beans used from Kerala and Karnataka gave the bar a grainy texture," she says.

After introducing regular bars last year, she was looking to launch a whimsical line, but one that didn't lean towards luxury. She roped in graphic designers Bianca Dsa and Hetal Ajmera of Sharpenerinc, and architect Shweta Kaushik, also the team behind La Folie Lab's interiors. Kaushik took to researching international trends in architecture and arrived at the idea of tessellations, an arrangement of shapes closely fitted together in a repeated pattern. Dsa and Ajmera took the concept forward in the Lab's flooring and the chocolate bar.

This led to a 3D model of 70 mm by 140 mm and a base width of 10 mm. The trio focused on the herringbone pattern which is dominant in the interiors of the lab at both, Bandra and Lower Parel. "We had created a tessellation mesh pattern for the flooring which we used to create the base of the chocolate," says Dsa.
"Sanjana wanted fillings in the chocolate and we had to figure how much space she would require. It was important to get the grooving right to avoid air bubbles. We tried a lot of permutations and combinations on Google Sketch Up. The filling, we decided, would only be in the base, and top would be a topographical shape," explains Kaushik.

Their last stop was at the mould maker who created a plastic mould, the one to cut air bubbles out and ensured the chocolate flowed evenly.

The whimsical wrappers are a clear draw
The whimsical wrappers are a clear draw

Wrapped in a whim
The designers took cooking lessons from Patel to understand the ingredients used in the fillings, from dried raspberries to marshmellows, cookies and fudge. This has resulted in a line of 10 flavours and as many whimsical wrapper designs — from strawberries falling into a river of cheese (strawberry cheesecake flavour) to a woman diving into a pool of almond butter (organic vegan chocolate bar).

The bar we hold in our hand has a wrapper with a man sitting on a high stool looking into a pair of binoculars, against a backdrop of the Himalayas. Chocolate pieces fly around against pink crystal hills. The flavour is noted at the bottom of the wrapper — Smoked pink sea salt.

We try best not to tear the wrapper, which is too pretty to crumple. Inside sits a chocolate that you break into pyramids of different sizes.

Coming up next
"At La Folie, we have chosen to break barriers. I am studying cuisine and the influence of architecture and fashion. I was strongly influenced by Japan and its focus on origami, which is closely related to tessellations," says Patel.

Sanjana Patel
Sanjana Patel

While she returns to the kitchen to figure if her caramel and pretzel chocolate bar needs a mould of increased height, the design team will go back to their screens to create design version 2.0.

And we, can only wait to lay our hands on the next big bar.

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