Growing up, the only chocolate that had any kind of elevated status in our lives was Cadburys DairyMilk. Apart from it being the most widely available chocolate in India, it also tasted pretty damn delicious. Some people will argue that it was way too sweet for their liking, but that’s what I was exposed to and I loved it. When Cadburys came out with the Fruit & Nut version, I was convinced that it was the best thing that could happen to chocolate.
One of my dad’s best friends – Gandhi Uncle (so named because he was born on the day Mahatma Gandhi died) was always a hit amongst us kids. Apart from the fact that he was a great miniatures artist and told the best jokes – he always bought us bars of DairyMilk. It was a given that if he came home and we rummaged through his bags, we would always find some chocolate! And I always picked out the bars that had something more – fruits, nuts, crispies and nougat. Chocolate by itself was good, but with some other things thrown in – it was fabulous!
Over my adolescent years, friends and relatives from abroad would bring home hitherto unknown brands like Hersheys, Lindt, Ferrero Rocher and Godiva. Airport Duty Free shops ensured I was exposed to the pleasures of a bar of Valrhona, Guylian, Ghirardelli and Nama. But through all these expensive indulgences, I always wanted to eat a bar of Fruit & Nut. The taste was so ingrained in my palate that, the comfort of tearing open that purple packaging and diving into the semi-squished, disfigured bar (due to heat and improper storage in Bangalore) was unparalleled.
I make my own wonky versions these days. I get immense pleasure in roasting good quality almonds and then smothering them in some better quality chocolate. And to ‘bring out’ the flavour of the chocolate – I sprinkle some fairy dust called Fleur de Sel. Yes, I’ve gotten mighty fancy over the years, but you can still win me over with a bar of Fruit & Nut. And such is life.