Chocolate state of mind!

I can think chocolate all the time!

Consuming it can be relevant to moods, cycles (weather ones) and tsunamis (preferably emotional ones) and of course after battling out with a heavy-in-the-heart, humongous, sinful feeling of what is known as “guilt”

I think geometry was invented so that chocolate could be made in squares, spheres, bars, rectangles and 3D prisms, pyramids and octagons (that’s how far I have knowledge on shapes). Smooth and silky to touch, smiling and exultant to look at and sensuously luxurious to eat. Music in the mouth – slow, calm and uplifting all at the same time.

There is utter joy in wiping away the last streaks of brownie batter that are left behind, while the chocolate glacier is being baked into fudgy brownies. Or spooning the warm chocolate fudge sauce with an ice cream of your choice. Or would you rather bite into a crispy squishy macaron shell sandwiching a thick chocolate ganache made from swiss chocolate? Either way – its bliss!

The cocoa tree evolved in South America roughly about 3000 years ago and now the world is running out of cocoa beans, the basic ingredient of chocolate. Confectionary giants realize, much to their sadness, that there is not enough to meet the ever-rising global demand.

“There will be a chocolate shortage and there isn’t a solution to the problem. Seven years is what we think we have left,” chocolate taster and expert Angus Kennedy said.

I was deeply shaken (well obviously) when I heard that chocolate would be an extinct species in less than a decade. I mean would my grandchildren study about it alongside Indus Civilization or Tyrannosaurus Rex? The glory, the power, the might, the acclaim and the worldwide recognition – and a best, dependable friend to many – All extinct! Maar suttya zaalima!

The news threw me in panic and I headed out to consume, inhale and hoard chocolate. “Pantry” a new hang out in Karachi town had some solutions to my predicament. With hints of aroma and taste of coffee, the Mocha Java Chocolate Pudding is fit for sharing and drowning. Served in a cup, dolloped with whipped cream this is a heart warming concoction. As the the spoon gently breaks through the thin cake-like topping into a pool of thick, creamy chocolate the cream on top starts to meltdown into the dark pudding. A delight for the serious chocolate connoisseurs.

 

As if the above wasn’t enough, I was also served a generous triangle of Belgian Chocolate Tart. A thin chocolate glaze topping dark Belgian chocolate ganache on a thin nutty base, this dessert is certainly not for the faint hearted. Gives you the ultimate joy, an adrenalin rush similar to a thrilling roller coaster ride – yet be sure to have the appetite to down this sinful triangle (didn’t I tell you geometry was invented for chocolate?)

 

A few days later as the hangover from the above two settled down, I headed down to Espresso (no introduction required), for my usual coffee and could not resist their Swiss Chocolate Walnut Brownie (am I greedy or am I greedy?). There is no rocket science about this simple dessert. Warm, squidgy, melt in the mouth thick square (geometry again?) of magnificence housing a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream and a shiny chocolate shell. The ultimate spoonful of ecstatic mingling of sugar, fat and perfumed butteriness cooled off by white creamy ice cream. Sharing is advised otherwise be sure to handle the hangover at your own expense.

 

There is a possibility that after all this indulgence I will either house at the local gym or donate chocolate instead of blood.       So I better let Brillat-Savarin, a great French gastronome have the last word

 “So let any man who has drunk too deeply of the cup of pleasure, or given to work a notable portion of the time which should belong to sleep; who finds his wit temporarily losing its edge, the atmosphere humid, time dragging, the air hard to breathe, or who is tortured by a fixed idea which robs him of all freedom of thought; let such a man administer to himself a good pint of ambered chocolate … and he will see wonders.”

Bol key lab azaad hain teray…

The auditorium was packed with parents, teachers, students, musicians, brilliant talent and undeniable hope. It boomed with nervousness, fluttering hearts, confidence and genuine appreciation. It resonated songs from veteran singers of Pakistan by young energetic students. The excitement was uncontrollable as students recreated magic originally set by Nayarra Noor, Mehdi Hassan, Ahmed Rushdie, Farida Khanum and Atif Aslam – to name just a few!

Students were participating from 126 different schools across Karachi and sang to their best potential in front of a panel of judges belonging to the illustrious music industry of our country. Judges, who encouraged, critiqued and applauded the voices we are sure to hear in the future.

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“Obhartey Sitarey” a singing talent program conceived by The Citizens Foundation (TCF) is in its second year now. It aims to discover the gift and flair for music and melody in students ranging from 8-18 years. As TCF collected donations from schools across the city, they also encouraged the same schools to identify their top singing talent and present them for a singing competition.

A program put together by the tireless volunteers at TCF took over 6 months to plan, arrange and execute. 5 days of continuous singing and judging were to identify the top team and eventually the top singer. Although a competition of sorts, this platform was a source of exposure, encouragement and inspiration for all the participants.

 As encouraged by one of the judges, Afshan

“ Thori see mehnat,thori see lagan aur bahut see potential”

And well said by the beaming Tina Sani “ Absolutely great confidence, fantastic”

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Irrespective of the outcome TCF has proved yet again, talent in Pakistan is waiting to be discovered, and comes to surface only when eagerness to make a difference is combined with honesty and genuineness!