Do you love chocolate? It’s most likely you do, but most chocolatiers would dismiss what we buy off store shelves as “not chocolate”. Years ago, I read chocolatier and chocolate buyer Chloé Doutre-Roussel’s The Chocolate Connoisseur, a book that aims to turn everyone into a taster—which is part of her job, and no, there’s no spitting involved; a taster eats the whole piece. But with the limited assortment we had in India back then, it was hard to make detailed notes and develop the kind of palate that can differentiate between “candy”, bonbons and true, artisanal chocolate. Over the past few years though, the shelves in department stores have deepened to make space for India-made artisanal chocolate, alongside mass-manufactured bars and international offerings. And with it, the bean-to-bar movement has been gathering pace, with home-grown brands experimenting with flavours. Our cover story goes into the craft of chocolate making—from cleaning and roasting to wrapping the carefully moulded bars—and meets the makers of Indian artisanal chocolate.
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Chocolate is often linked to childhood but for many children, the virus that causes covid-19 has transformed the experience of childhood. One of our big stories this week explores how to prepare children for loss, and the importance of talking openly and honestly to them about the pandemic and death. There’s another side to this story: Over the past few weeks, an alarmingly large number of tweets and forwards about children orphaned by covid-19 have been doing the rounds. While well-meaning people are moved by the plight of these children, just forwarding such messages could put a child in harm’s way.
Grief and loss affect children as strongly as they do adults, but we try to tiptoe around the subject with them. Experts have warned of a looming mental health pandemic but very few are talking about the emotional well-being of children who can sense changes around them but aren’t always equipped to express how they are feeling. It’s a conversation adults also are struggling to have, but it’s one to face up to.
Write to the Lounge editor firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @shalinimb
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