I saw a really hilarious comedy set the other day by Sapan Verma about Lonavla. My favourite bit was when he mentions that the only thing one can do to pass the time is try to differentiate between Maganlal Chikki and ‘The Real Maganlal Chikki’. Unless you go with family or plan to drink the night away with friends at their cottage, there is basically nothing to do there except meet other Mumbaikars who have also come to Lonavla.
Though he got one thing wrong. When Parsis go to Lonavla they don’t spend time deciphering the chikki’s. Instead they head straight to Coopers’. Situated about 20m away from Maganlal, Coopers’ is a tiny little shop in Lonavla market that has been around for decades. While they sell all sorts of sweets and sherbet, what they are known for is their iconic Chocolate Walnut Fudge. Like most other bawa shops they only make a set quantity each day and if they get sold out, it’s just too bad for you!
My grandpa used to be a cycling addict when he was younger and they used to bike it up to Lonavla on weekends just for fun (I really can’t decipher how this could be fun!). Though, if you’re going to be like me and finish half the box of fudge yourself then I can understand why cycling all the way there might be a worthy penance for the body.
Whenever I ask #BawaGroom where he’d like to go for a trip sadly his answer is always Lonavla or Goa. We’ve been to the former atleast 7 times since we got married and that’s why last year I put a ban on the place! The only sad bit about that however is that my supply of fudge has completely stopped.
Given I am addicted to the stuff, I decided to try making it at home and after a couple of failures I’ve managed to get a recipe that is almost-like the real thing. Do give it a try and let me know what you think!
Start by chopping up the chocolate and the walnuts finely. If you want the really good stuff I suggest you use pure chocolate like Callebaut but I’ve made it with compound and that works just as well! Get all your ingredients out and measured at this point before you go further.
Now, setup a double boiler and melt the chocolate until it is smooth and runny. Add in the condensed milk and mix it thoroughly. Also, add in the butter and vanilla at this point.
Finally, take the chocolate off the heat and add the walnuts. Mix well.
Empty into a tray lined with baking paper and now here is the most important part – you must let this cool overnight at room temperature (20 degrees approx). Ofcourse, since the room temperature is never 20 degrees in Mumbai I suggest you cool the fudge in your bedroom where the AC is on all night resisting the urge to stuff the whole thing in your mouth.
The next day, your fudge is ready! You can store it in the fridge now or outside but I find it starts to melt and go excessively gooey with the latter.
To make about 500gm fudge you will need:
200gm dark chocolate (or compound) roughly chopped
200ml condensed milk
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
*Do note that your fudge taste will differ based on the quality of chocolate and vanilla extract you use so do try to use the good stuff.