What the fudge!
Brothers Azhaan and Tozaar Cooper from Colaba are combining a nostalgia-inducing dessert with modern sensibilities for a sweet delivery offering that's worth sinning for
The sharp, yellow colour resembling sunshine in a colouring book, the crackling of the paper when you untwine a green top, and the burst of khatta-meetha flavours when you pop a Mango Bite into your mouth — an average-tasting candy that has had our heart for years, simply because of the memories it can evoke. It is much the same riot of emotions Lonavala-style fudge can inspire in a Mumbaikar because it is so much more than a treat — it’s the rapturous wind in your face when you hang your head outside the car window.
Riding on the sentiment attached to chocolate fudge — now ubiquitous across Mumbai — Azhaan and Tozaar Cooper, Iranian brothers aged 29 and 24, have started Nine 15. The delivery service offers seven flavours of the chocolate-y dessert. What’s different, though, is that they give the traditional sweet treat a new-age spin. So, you have versions, like the orange chocolate cointreau, chocolate nut mint, and nut rum and raisin.
It’s a natural evolution considering the Cooper Brothers — who until last month were working at restaurateur Amrish Arora’s twin restaurants in Cuffe Parade — come from a family with an interest in food. Training at Le Cordon Bleu, Pasadena, between 2014 and 2016 added skill to complement their lineage. "City Bakery in Pune belongs to my uncle, and my mother’s family used to own Nizam Bakery in Kalyan. Though it is shut now, fudge is something my mother has been making since we were little. The longer we worked in the industry, the more we wanted to start something of our own. So, we decided to take these classic recipes and make them more suited to our times," Tozaar says.
What he means is that their nut-based fudges carry modern flavour preferences, including mint. The experimenting, however, is not limited to flavour alone. Tozaar claims, "We’re using premium ingredients like Dutch cocoa, instead of drinking chocolate; quality alcohol and oils." This explains the unfamiliar texture of their fudge, notwithstanding the decadence. We sampled four variants and this is how they faired.
The chocolate nut mint (Rs325 for 200gms) fudge is denser than the other variants. The mint, which comes from mint oil, is subtle but has a stronger aftertaste. It could work for those who like this odd combination.
Nuts about this
With a gooey texture, oodles of hazelnut adding a delicious mouthfeel to the chocolate hazelnut (Rs387 for 250 gms), this decadent variant is our favourite. It has the right amount of sweetness, sitting perfectly between dark and milk chocolate; its palpable stickiness such that the mix melts into a pleasurable sludge in your mouth.
Get your caffeine fix
The chocolate walnut coffee (Rs300 for 250gms) is delish, but it feels slightly charred, perhaps from the overuse of coffee. The lingering bitterness that settles on your palate after you’ve gulped a spoonful is nice, but the subtle-yet-sharp notes of the walnut are entirely lost. It would taste great as cold milkshake, though.
How orange is too orange?
The chocolate walnut orange cointreau (Rs425 for 250 gms) has a mushy texture, and a strong citric essence that overpowers the velvety appeal of chocolate. While the walnuts help add crunch, the orange-flavoured liqueur is much too strong, and takes away from the classic combination of ingredients, instead of adding a pleasant headiness the way rum does to a Christmas cake.
AT Nine 15, Noshirwan Mansion, Colaba.
CALL 8291185667 (minimum order 1 kg upto 3 km radius and 4 kg for delivery in the suburbs; orders need to be placed 24 hours in advance)
She wears Lonavala’s fudge crown
There is a charm in consuming what comes to you after a slight struggle. Half the joy of finally digging a spoon into a pillowy brick of Cooper’s Fudges & Chikkis from Lonavala is the knowledge that it’s made in small batches. It is sold out every evening; it might run out before you get to the end of a serpentine line leading up to the modest shop in Jaichan Chowk, and no more than two people are aware of the original recipe. Everything about it is quaint, including the pin code, 410401. It’s also the original. Thanks to its fame, brands like Maganlal now produce their own recipe (runny and vapid). Over time, the over 80-year-old shop has introduced other flavours like kaju kesar and kopra pink, but their plain chocolate and choco walnut remain bestsellers. Unlike, the Cooper bros’ version from Mumbai, Rashna Irani of Cooper’s Lonavala doesn’t produce what the Parsis call ‘chikkat’ or sticky fudge. It’s lighter in colour, nuttier, muddier, and well, carries a fascinating story of how the recipe fought the odds to survive, handed down across families. But, that’s for another day and another column in this paper.
CALL 9850616181 (they deliver large orders to Mumbai)
by Tinaz Nooshian
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