Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 16, Tuesday April 22, 2008




Forget love-I'd rather fall in chocolate!

The little beans, sitting snugly in their trees in the Amazon, perhaps never realised that one day, they'd be controlling the hearts and minds of people around the globe. They might have had an inkling when they achieved the status of currency during the Mayan civilization, when a human slave could be bought in exchange for 100 beans. They might have even begun to guess the power they wielded when the Aztecs overpowered the Mayans and the Chimimeken and imposed a tax of cocoa beans on the conquered. Yet chocolate as a global phenomenon was still a long way off.

Chocolate arrived in Europe in the early sixteenth century, in the ships of Hernando Cortez. It took almost a century and a royal marriage for the well-guarded secret of the bean, still regarded then as a source of a bitter beverage, to spread through Europe. The predecessor of pralines made their appearance in 1671, while chocolate began to enter the ingredient lists of cakes and rolls around 1674. In 1857, the first milk chocolate hits the market, but it is in 1879 when, in the hands of Rodolphe Lindt of Berne that chocolate melts in the mouth. This was made possible through his invention of the method of “conching” the chocolate, which involves airing out its natural bitterness and coating the ingredients with cocoa butter.

Over 160 years later, with a history of some of the world's finest sweet treats to their name, Lindt chocolate comes to Bangladesh.

Transcom Distribution Ltd., recently brought in some eleven types of Lindt chocolates to Dhaka. Officially launched on March 30 at Agora's Gulshan outlet, the sweet treats will be available at 20 super markets, including Agora, PQS and Almas, in Dhaka and soon in Chittagong. Given the premium quality of the chocolates, they are a little pricey. A Lindt chocolate bar is priced at Tk 275, while a gift box containing 18 pieces of chocolates is priced at Tk 1230.

So if you want to say it sweetly, say it with Lindt.

By Sabrina F Ahmad
Photos: Syed Zakir Hossain

Shop talk

Happy feet

Walking always requires the right kind of gear. It is essential to buy the perfect shoe; otherwise the walk will never be comfortable. People often go for the cheaper pairs, which in most cases eventually end up causing damage to their feet. The human feet has unique curves and if the shoe is not right, it affects posture and balance.

However, some brands do keep these in mind and have come up with a collection of trainers and sneakers. Brands like 'Bata' proudly launches different designs of their 'Power' sneakers ranging from Taka 1,300 to 2,000. These are mainly worn by teenagers and also middle-aged people with a knack for strolling. The shoes are definitely trendy and as there is a good variety you can choose your favourite one with ease.

For those who opt to stick to classics, Bata provides a wide range of 'North Star' collections for both men and women. The price ranges from Tk 290 to Tk 1,300. The look itself is very distinct and often appreciated by this class of walkers.

Gallerie Apex has a different category of sneakers. The price range is between Tk 1,850 to Tk 2,500. People who value their comfort should take a look at them. They will meet your expectation for sure. Apex also has great pairs suitable for women.

People who like exclusive foreign brands can go for Reebok, Nike or Adidas. Puma has become popular introducing durable, fancy sneakers fit for all ages and sex. Prices start from Tk 4000 and up.

At the end, it's your decision to make. As pairs define the person, make sure you buy ones that are nice, simple and stylish.

By Yamin Tauseef Jahangir

Call-cutta Calling

One day in Shillong, a friend of ours brought a very old classmate of hers from Kolkata to meet us. This lady and her family turned out to be very sociable. One thing led to another and I ended up calling the lady didi and her son called me mashi. We parted company promising to visit one another soon. My newfound nephew and I kept in touch through emails. He'd tell me about the different eateries of Kolkata and we'd exchange notes on different types of food. It seemed from his mails that if he could he'd send all the good grub through the internet!

By the end of the year my sister in law, Ninkoo, and I went to Kolkata for a visit and stayed with her sister, Nimmi. One day I called up my didi. She came all the way to Tollygunge to see me and invited us to her place for dinner the next evening.

She came again the next day to take us to her beautiful house in one of the posh areas of Kolkata. After a long time we were served chicken patties and coke. We ate a bit and left space in our tummies for dinner.

Soon it was 10 o'clock but there was no sign of dinner. We looked at one another and then Ninkoo reminded us that it was time to leave. We hoped didi would get the hint and serve us food. Well, no! It seemed didi hadn't invited us to dinner at all. She got up and told us to come back to her place again, how much she enjoyed our company, blah..blah..blah, and all the things one says when seeing off guests.

We got into Nimmi's car and drove away. After a couple of minutes Ninkoo asked us if we wanted dinner. Both Nimmi and I were too embarrassed to admit that we were hungry. Ninkoo declared that she was famished and wanted to eat something before going home since we'd said we would not have dinner at home! Slowly we confessed that we were very hungry too. Then we burst out laughing. So much for all the food filled emails!

The next day we went shopping to Metro Shopping Mall. We shopped around and decided to go downstairs. We came to the escalator when Nimmi's younger daughter, Udita, started screaming that she wouldn't get on the escalator. Apparently, she was frightened and didn't know how to get on it. Nimmi told me that if anyone could help her, it was me. By that time I was almost half way down. But being the gallant person that I am, how could I not help her? I had to do something quickly, so I started climbing the escalator that was going down. The more I climbed, the more I moved down. This went on for some time. Finally I didn't have a choice and I let myself be carried to the bottom. When I looked around, I found a large group of onlookers staring at me with their mouths open. What an entertainment it must have been!

This happened a few years back. I went out with Nimmi's sister-in-law, Tumpa, who needed to buy something. After picking up what she needed, we window-shopped till we came to a shop selling sweets. The lovely white roshogollas, shondesh, kalachand, barfi and a huge array of different varieties of sweets were just too much for me. I had to savour them all. Our craving for the mishti was total chokher khida and we ended up buying a whole lot and we ate them too! Imagine readers! What happens when you have had a bit too much of sugary stuff! My whole digestive tract seemed as if it was soused in syrup. I just needed to get the taste off. So we rushed to a paan shop.

I dramatically told the paanwallah, “Dada (brother), ami Bangladesh theke eshchhi. Amar jonno amon ekta paan shajen je amar chiro din mone thake” (I am from Bangladesh. Make me a paan so good that I remember it all my life). The man was, no doubt, highly amused. He made me my paan, which I was desperate to have due to the sweetness in my mouth. In a few minutes the world seemed to be reeling around. My limbs felt weak and my heart thumped away. I tried to lift my hand but it dropped down. I was in no position to walk back. Tumpa hailed a rickshaw and we rode the few yards back home. My dada added a bit too much zarda (chewing tobacco) in my paan!



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