Vegetarian food blog featuring delicious and nutritious home cooked recipes, creative baking and luscious chocolate.

Devnaa Chocolates & Cookbook – Review & Giveaway #13

If you haven’t heard of Devnaa chocolates yet, you are just about to. Founded in 2006, Devnaa is a sister and brother team based in London. Roopa and Jay Rawal have taken a modern approach to traditional Indian sweets and produce a range of Indian-inspired chocolates and confectionary. With their distinctive Indian flavours, these are for the more adventurous palate, but if you like the combination of chocolate and spices, these are for you. I happen to be a fan of this combination and was recently sent their signature box to review along with a signed copy of their recently published cookbook, Indian-Inspired Desserts by Roopa Rawal. I also have the same set to offer as a giveaway.

Immediately, the vibrant packaging alerts you to the fact that this is not your average box of chocolates. Lime green, fushia pink, purple and gold all combine together to create a thoroughly exotic feast for the eyes and transports you from grey old Blighty to a place where the sun shines with more intensity and regularity. With my penchant for bright colours, I am in love with their boxes. The box is also cleverly designed to look like a tiffin tin, the standard lunch box used in India. The Devnaa logo, a distinctive gold tear drop, appears in all sorts of forms.

In my experience, Indians generally have a very sweet tooth, so I was pleasantly surprised to find these chocolates, although sweeter than I would prefer, are not overly sugared. The box contained sixteen chocolates, two of each flavour and they were a good mixture of chocolate, fillings, textures and flavours.

Chai Masala Caramel – This was the one I made a beeline for. I love chai masala and I love caramel. The caramel was delicious, salted and with a good chai flavour, but without being overpowering. The milk chocolate shell was thick and I would have preferred a higher ratio of caramel to chocolate, but I still wouldn’t hesitate in consuming an entire box of them. CT agreed on how delicious they were, but liked the thick shell which cracks satisfyingly in the mouth. These have won a Gold in the Great Taste Awards and if they hadn’t they would certainly get a gold from me.

Rose and Ginger Cream – Enrobed with a thick plain chocolate shell which worked well to take the edge off the sweet rose cream. The rose makes an immediate impact, evoking exotic locations. Later, a subtle warming taste of ginger comes through and lingers nicely on the palate. Being a big fan of rose, I found this to be delicious, if a trifle sweet.

Saffron and Ginger Fudge – I was expecting the ginger to take centre stage on this one as ginger pieces are contained within, but it was the saffron that dominated. I found this interesting, but it didn’t have me running back for seconds. Strange as I like saffron cake, which is a Cornish speciality. Covered in a thin skin of milk chocolate.

Almond and Orange Praline – A very nice nutty praline which has a slight crunch to the texture and is delicately flavoured with orange. Covered in a thin skin of milk chocolate, it was delicious. It reminded CT of a peshwari naan, but in a good way. He has a bit of a thing about overly strong orange flavours, but thought this was very nicely balanced and would have eaten several, given the chance.

Honey and Cardamom Fudge – Covered in a thin shell of dark chocolate, this has a powerful and persistent taste of cardamom. The more delicate flavour of honey comes through after the initial spicy surprise. I found the dark chocolate a little too bitter, the cardamom needed toning down a bit and milk chocolate might have been a better choice. CT, however found them invigorating and enjoyed the experience.

Saffron and Pistachio Caramel – Covered in a thick white chocolate shell with a nice vanilla flavour, the saffron was once again the dominant flavour. Although the pistachios added a nice crunch, the flavour was rather lost. The caramel was just the right consistency, liquid but not runny. I find the flavour of saffron rather overwhelming and a bitter aftertaste persisted on my palate. It also left a dry sensation and would probably be better taken with a nice cup of tea. Again, I found this one to be interesting, but not one I would pick out for preference.

Cinnamon Praline – As a cinnamon and praline lover, I was looking forward to trying this one and I was not disappointed. This has a good cinnamon flavour, but is not too strong. It has crunchy pieces of crisped rice within a smooth hazelnut praline and is enrobed in a thin layer of milk chocolate. Both CT and I thought this was delicious.

Coconut and Cardamom Caramel – Another thick dark chocolate shell with a distinctive bitter note which works really well with the sweet but delicious caramel filling. The caramel has a delicate but distinctive flavour of coconut with a persistent note of cardamom.

As soon as I heard that Roopa had published a book, I was keen to have a look at it. Indian sweets are deeply reminiscent of my student days up in the big and exciting cosmopolitan world of London where I indulged in them with, err, more than seemly regularity. That together with my mother’s love of curries have given me a passion for the exotic flavours of India.  Indian-Inspired Desserts is a lovely collection of exotic egg free cakes, biscuits, sweets, traditional and fusion desserts, drinks and frozen desserts. I’m not a Sanskrit scholar, but the name Devnaa may well have a similar meaning to our Divine, which is certainly how I would describe this book.

The book is beautifully presented with Indian inspired motifs and colourful pages. The cover is a distinctive saffron yellow and is a good solid hardback. Unusually for modern cookbooks, there is an illustration for each recipe, giving a good idea of what you are aiming to achieve. The book starts with a section on key ingredients and includes some useful information about each one. I for one didn’t realise that eggs are often not used by some groups in India due to cultural and religious sensibilities. Caution is given about using good quality spices, especially when it comes to saffron. Recipes for three basic building blocks are included at the beginning: Devnaa’s signature chai masala, an egg-free sponge and paneer, a fresh curd cheese which I find particularly delicious. I couldn’t wait to try something out and no sooner had I received the book than I was knocking up my first ever barfi. I was thrilled with the result and served it up at a dinner party the next day. I am looking forward to trying out more of these recipes with pistachio and coconut biscuits being next on my list. Other recipes I’m keen to try include: chocolate seera, apricot and saffron scones, white chocolate kheer, carrot halwa and a mixed nut and chocolate brittle (chikki). Further recipes can be found on the Devnaa blog.

I was sent a copy of the book and a box of chocolates for review purposes and as always, any opinions expressed are all my own, unless stated otherwise.

Giveaway

To have your chance of winning a signature box of Devnaa chocolates together with their cookbook, Indian-Inspired Desserts, please complete the Rafflecopter below. You will need to leave a comment on this post which then gives you additional chances to enter if you so wish. Rafflecopter will pick a winner at random from the entries received. If you are commenting anonymously, please give me some way of identifying you as I will be verifying the validity of entries. Any automated entries will be disqualified. This giveaway is only open to those with a UK postal address.
 
Closing date is Saturday 20 October
 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

147 Comments

  1. Teressa Oliver

    28th September 2012 at 2:18 pm

    is raisin a spice? its my fav with chocolate

    Reply
  2. Janine

    28th September 2012 at 2:39 pm

    I haven’t tried Indian sweets since I was a lot younger – I wasn’t a fan then, but my tastebuds may have improved since!I think my favourite spice to go with is cayenne pepper – a little bit fiery but still tastes good.

    Reply
  3. Camilla @Fabfood4all

    28th September 2012 at 2:43 pm

    I think cinnamon would be interesting!

    Reply
  4. hungryhinny

    28th September 2012 at 2:44 pm

    2nd attempt at a comment!

    I would go for the same ones as you – Chai Masala Caramel and Cinnamon Praline, they both sound amazing!

    Reply
  5. suburban prep

    28th September 2012 at 2:47 pm

    I think that cinnamon is great with chocolate.

    Reply
  6. chrisreid

    28th September 2012 at 3:43 pm

    I like ginger it goes great with chocolate

    Reply
  7. Mary Campbell

    28th September 2012 at 4:10 pm

    Ginger is an absolute delight when mixed with chocolate. Highly recommended 🙂

    Reply
  8. George@CulinaryTravels

    28th September 2012 at 4:35 pm

    Cardamom is my favourite spice to pair with chocolate.

    Reply
  9. Homebird

    28th September 2012 at 4:36 pm

    Cinnamon – it’s my favourite spice so I think that would be my favourite.

    Reply
  10. mummy24

    28th September 2012 at 6:27 pm

    cinnamon for me!

    Reply
  11. Janice

    28th September 2012 at 7:03 pm

    You have piqued my interest in Indian desserts, chocolate and almonds for me.

    Reply
  12. lapin d'or

    28th September 2012 at 7:16 pm

    saffron and pistachio make a good pairing in desserts

    Reply
  13. Suelle

    28th September 2012 at 8:25 pm

    These all sound so unusual – I’d love to try the coconut and cardamom, but I think I would like them all!

    Reply
  14. Lisa {Sweet 2 Eat Baking}

    28th September 2012 at 9:55 pm

    Oh these chocolates look divine. Such perfect little bites of heaven and beautifully packaged.

    As for a spice that I think would go well with chocolate. I’m the first to mention this but star anise? Either that or I’m game for ginger or cinnamon.

    -Lisa.
    Sweet 2 Eat Baking

    Reply
  15. caroles

    28th September 2012 at 11:58 pm

    Ginger is lovely and so is chilli.

    Reply
  16. Grace Lavender

    29th September 2012 at 12:45 am

    Ginger or Chilli

    Reply
  17. Jane C English

    29th September 2012 at 9:48 am

    The rose & ginger sound a great & interesting combination

    Reply
  18. Saran Benjamin

    29th September 2012 at 11:01 am

    Chilli is lovely in chocolate.

    Reply
  19. kasza

    29th September 2012 at 12:18 pm

    Anise

    Reply
  20. Anonymous

    29th September 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Either cinnamon or ginger. Love chocolate ginger. 🙂 😀 Good luck to everyone

    Reply
  21. kayleigh white

    29th September 2012 at 2:39 pm

    Has to be mint, lovely!

    Reply
  22. relisys222

    29th September 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Cinnamon Praline sounds so yummy x

    Reply
  23. tracey gibbons

    29th September 2012 at 3:09 pm

    chilli goes nice with chocolate

    Reply
  24. Maria

    29th September 2012 at 3:52 pm

    chilli – it really works 🙂

    Reply
  25. Sue McCarthy

    29th September 2012 at 4:57 pm

    Ginger

    Reply
  26. Foodycat

    29th September 2012 at 6:49 pm

    They sound delicious – I am such a sucker for ginger. Some of the chocolates look like they’ve bloomed a little – was it nice quality chocolate?

    Reply
  27. clairew137

    29th September 2012 at 8:13 pm

    chilli

    Reply
  28. saurus

    30th September 2012 at 7:23 am

    Ginger combines well – people rave about chilli but I hate it in chocolate

    Reply
  29. laura banks

    30th September 2012 at 8:22 am

    chilli

    Reply
  30. Mama G

    30th September 2012 at 8:28 am

    Chilli and dark chocolate

    Reply
  31. gill colling

    30th September 2012 at 11:06 am

    I’d certainly like to try these

    Reply
  32. Chris

    30th September 2012 at 11:53 am

    cinnamon……has a warm glow

    Reply
  33. Bdonna191

    30th September 2012 at 4:41 pm

    I’d have to go with chilli, but not too much

    Reply
  34. becky004

    30th September 2012 at 5:07 pm

    Cinnamon or nutmeg

    Reply
  35. Maya Russell

    30th September 2012 at 5:07 pm

    I love the flavour of cardamom and chocolate.

    Reply
  36. visioneer

    1st October 2012 at 9:15 am

    Morning. personal choice “Saffron”

    Reply
  37. Daisy Louie Craydon

    1st October 2012 at 9:27 am

    I absolutely love chili and chocolate.

    Reply
  38. missmamo

    1st October 2012 at 6:11 pm

    Sea salt and chocolate is my fave combination

    Reply
  39. Kelly Simpson

    1st October 2012 at 8:07 pm

    Chilli.

    Reply
  40. Susan

    2nd October 2012 at 10:41 am

    Cinnamon for me.

    Reply
  41. Jane Willis

    2nd October 2012 at 12:02 pm

    Ginger for me!

    Reply
  42. Stuart

    2nd October 2012 at 12:06 pm

    I’m old school…love the combo of chili and chocolate

    Reply
  43. Clare Woodman

    2nd October 2012 at 12:11 pm

    Really excited by the possibility of trying these sweets – it would be a totally new experience 🙂

    Reply
  44. Chas

    2nd October 2012 at 12:22 pm

    More chocolate!

    Reply
  45. kitchen princess

    2nd October 2012 at 3:16 pm

    I love chilli with chocolate

    Reply
  46. Anonymous

    2nd October 2012 at 4:36 pm

    Cinnamon goes really well with chocolate.

    Hazel Rea – @beachrambler

    Reply
  47. Kayleigh

    2nd October 2012 at 5:47 pm

    Definitely cinnamon

    Reply
  48. legs21

    2nd October 2012 at 7:27 pm

    I think that cinnamon is great with chocolate

    Reply
  49. herb

    3rd October 2012 at 12:40 am

    nutmeg or cinnamon

    Reply
  50. zoboze

    3rd October 2012 at 10:17 am

    Chilli and cinnamon

    Reply
  51. honeydip

    3rd October 2012 at 5:51 pm

    Cardamon

    Reply
  52. anna

    3rd October 2012 at 7:04 pm

    I think cinamon but they all sound interesting

    Reply
  53. magic

    3rd October 2012 at 7:15 pm

    cinnamon

    Reply
  54. mandy

    6th October 2012 at 8:45 am

    i like ginger &chocolate

    Reply
  55. Isis1981uk

    6th October 2012 at 11:34 am

    I think Ginger is gorgeous with dark chocolates!

    Reply
  56. Caz B

    6th October 2012 at 8:01 pm

    Cinnamon and chocolate … yummy x

    Reply
  57. Sarah H

    6th October 2012 at 10:15 pm

    I love ginger 🙂 x

    Reply
  58. Isabel O'Brien

    6th October 2012 at 11:33 pm

    If cinnamon counts then cinnamon definitely.

    Reply
  59. alexmax

    7th October 2012 at 3:34 pm

    I love chai masala and chocolate! Sounds like a fab combo

    Reply
  60. Geebee

    8th October 2012 at 8:36 pm

    Sounds weird but wasabi is amazing with chocolate!

    Reply
  61. carol

    8th October 2012 at 9:22 pm

    cardamon

    Reply
  62. Shaheen

    9th October 2012 at 6:48 pm

    cinnamon

    Reply
  63. mellysocks

    10th October 2012 at 12:35 am

    Strawberry

    Reply
  64. Ursulab

    10th October 2012 at 11:06 am

    Ginger

    Reply
  65. Just_me

    10th October 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Anise or Chilli

    Reply
  66. Carolin

    11th October 2012 at 10:03 am

    Cinnamon, I LOVE cinnamon!! 🙂

    Reply
  67. carowood

    11th October 2012 at 11:47 am

    Ginger

    Reply
  68. tinam1

    11th October 2012 at 2:06 pm

    I really like chilli chocolate as long as its not too spicy x

    Reply
  69. Sandy Hallett

    13th October 2012 at 8:53 pm

    chilli and chocolate always go really well together.

    These look like such luxury chocolates – I might have to put some on my christmas shopping list for family members

    Reply
  70. Fiona Matters

    13th October 2012 at 10:43 pm

    I think ginger – or possibly chili.

    Reply
  71. tabbaz123

    14th October 2012 at 8:21 am

    Chilli for me!

    Reply
  72. Nicola P

    14th October 2012 at 10:22 am

    Has to be chilli. I always add dark chocolate to my chilli con carne.

    Reply
  73. Anonymous

    14th October 2012 at 3:28 pm

    Cardamom works beautifully with chocolate (Janet Bagnall bagnalljan@gmail.com)

    Reply
  74. Bev's Burning Books

    14th October 2012 at 9:12 pm

    hazelnut!

    Reply
  75. olivia280177

    14th October 2012 at 10:49 pm

    White chocolate with cardamom and milk choc with cinnamon

    Reply
  76. Dave Edwards

    15th October 2012 at 11:31 pm

    CHILLI… DELICIOUS!

    Reply
  77. stephen holman

    16th October 2012 at 5:17 pm

    add a bit of spice with chilli 🙂

    Reply
  78. Eleanor Jones

    16th October 2012 at 7:05 pm

    I love ginger 🙂

    Reply
  79. kylie johnson

    17th October 2012 at 10:03 am

    cinnamon is my favourite 🙂

    Reply
  80. Sandsferguson

    17th October 2012 at 10:08 am

    Chilli!

    Reply
  81. Lindsey Gunn

    17th October 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Probably cinnamon for me too

    Reply
  82. stellabella

    17th October 2012 at 3:08 pm

    cinnamon

    Reply
  83. Gary Topley

    17th October 2012 at 5:11 pm

    Cinamon would go best.

    Reply
  84. Hayley Colburn

    17th October 2012 at 8:37 pm

    choc orange mmmmmmmmmmm outh watery

    Reply
  85. Diane

    17th October 2012 at 8:42 pm

    Ginger – my mother in laws favourite

    Reply
  86. Emma2321

    17th October 2012 at 9:25 pm

    The spice I like with chocolate is chilli

    Reply
  87. cachexia

    18th October 2012 at 7:29 am

    I love chilli chocolate

    Reply
  88. Anonymous

    18th October 2012 at 9:02 am

    Cinnamon or Ginger are my Favourites 🙂

    Rebecca/Becci Cleary

    Reply
  89. soozwales

    18th October 2012 at 1:04 pm

    cinnamon

    Reply
  90. Stacy Fenemore

    18th October 2012 at 4:30 pm

    chilli

    Reply
  91. krnries

    18th October 2012 at 6:16 pm

    I love chilli and chocolate, although I’m not sure I’ve tried many interesting combinations

    Reply
  92. Rikka B

    18th October 2012 at 6:55 pm

    For me it has to be ginger.

    Reply
  93. Clare cherrington

    18th October 2012 at 8:40 pm

    Ginger! Yum!

    Reply
  94. Yvonne Crook

    18th October 2012 at 9:56 pm

    Chilli

    Reply
  95. kelandab

    18th October 2012 at 10:12 pm

    Oooo, definitely chilli, have tried chilli chocolate & it’s amazing!

    Reply
  96. Olivia

    18th October 2012 at 11:12 pm

    This comment has been removed by the author.

    Reply
  97. Olivia

    18th October 2012 at 11:13 pm

    Oh wow never heard of these before, but they look yummy! Cinnamon! Sorry for deleting, spell checked 🙂

    Reply
  98. Nicky123

    19th October 2012 at 1:53 am

    Cinnamon

    Reply
  99. Phyllis Ellett

    19th October 2012 at 4:23 am

    Always wanted to try Nutmeg.

    Reply
  100. Catherine McAlinden

    19th October 2012 at 6:15 am

    Cinnamon for me

    Reply
  101. Running In Boise

    19th October 2012 at 6:50 am

    Cinnamon

    Reply
  102. haddockv

    19th October 2012 at 7:00 am

    Ginger

    Reply
  103. Cherry Mischievous

    19th October 2012 at 8:52 am

    I’m not a cook so honestly I don’t know what spice combines best with chocolate but for this competition I’ll give it a shot 🙂

    I imagine cinnamon would taste well with chocolate.

    Reply
  104. sarahlee3

    19th October 2012 at 9:46 am

    I think ginger is a great spice with chocolate!

    Reply
  105. hazhaddock

    19th October 2012 at 10:34 am

    Ginger

    Reply
  106. poppy101

    19th October 2012 at 12:35 pm

    One of the best spices that combines well with chocolate is chilli.

    Reply
  107. Kerry Kilmister

    19th October 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Cinnamon! Absolutely gorgeous with chocolate.

    Reply
  108. Elaine Livingstone

    19th October 2012 at 1:41 pm

    star anise

    Reply
  109. petertattersall

    19th October 2012 at 2:28 pm

    I like them all

    Reply
  110. thrlrds2007

    19th October 2012 at 4:05 pm

    MINT

    Reply
  111. shell35

    19th October 2012 at 4:07 pm

    ginger

    Reply
  112. Kateg1982

    19th October 2012 at 4:39 pm

    cinnamon

    Reply
  113. alison

    19th October 2012 at 5:03 pm

    chilli

    Reply
  114. antheaholloway

    19th October 2012 at 6:06 pm

    I think nutmeg is a good one!

    Reply
  115. Kristy Brown

    19th October 2012 at 6:19 pm

    Cinammon or ginger…..I can’t decide which. x

    Reply
  116. sheridarby

    19th October 2012 at 6:34 pm

    cardamon

    Reply
  117. abijanebrighton1986

    19th October 2012 at 6:56 pm

    mmm cinnomon (unless vanilla is a spice?!)

    Reply
  118. Anonymous

    19th October 2012 at 7:16 pm

    Cinammon

    Reply
  119. Bubbles17

    19th October 2012 at 7:27 pm

    chilli

    Reply
  120. Claire Sales

    19th October 2012 at 7:30 pm

    five spice 🙂

    Reply
  121. Ellen Stafford

    19th October 2012 at 7:38 pm

    Cinnamon – love it!

    Reply
  122. Ceri

    19th October 2012 at 8:03 pm

    Cardamom?!

    Reply
  123. Bruce

    19th October 2012 at 9:10 pm

    chilli

    Reply
  124. Angie Hoggett

    19th October 2012 at 9:12 pm

    I love Cardamom

    Reply
  125. straysuzi

    19th October 2012 at 9:25 pm

    Chilli it gives it that heat and bite without taking away the flavour

    Reply
  126. Zoe Coen

    19th October 2012 at 9:38 pm

    Ginger or Chilli x

    Reply
  127. Mrs Voucher

    19th October 2012 at 10:25 pm

    I think lavender and mint with chocolate would be a great combination

    Reply
  128. bloomers

    19th October 2012 at 10:31 pm

    I would have to say Cinnamon, yum

    Reply
  129. Angiem32

    19th October 2012 at 11:00 pm

    I’d definitely say nutmeg 🙂 yummy!

    Reply
  130. Cute Aprons

    20th October 2012 at 6:05 am

    Ginger is my favourite spice with Chocolate

    Reply
  131. daisychain

    20th October 2012 at 6:33 am

    Ginger and chocolate is the only way.

    Reply
  132. Rich

    20th October 2012 at 7:28 am

    Chilli or ginger

    Reply
  133. elizabeth barker

    20th October 2012 at 8:56 am

    It has to be ginger.

    Reply
  134. CHOCOAJ

    20th October 2012 at 8:56 am

    I like Cinnamon, lovely at christmas 🙂

    Reply
  135. Beth

    20th October 2012 at 10:01 am

    I am a huge chilli and chocolate fan – I don’t think anything else comes close! Alwyas chilli or perhaps cayenne pepper for me!

    Reply
  136. Cake

    20th October 2012 at 11:07 am

    I love ginger with chocolate 🙂

    Reply
  137. Vicky Robinson

    20th October 2012 at 12:21 pm

    Cinnamon sounds heavenly!

    Reply
  138. olivia280177

    20th October 2012 at 1:11 pm

    following as oliviamcc GFC and olivia kirby on NB

    Reply
  139. Tara Davies

    20th October 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Almond and orange

    Reply
  140. Anonymous

    20th October 2012 at 3:46 pm

    Cinnamon for me!

    Reply
  141. Tracey McPartland

    20th October 2012 at 3:51 pm

    Saffron and Pistachio Caramel sound divine, would love to taste this one

    Reply
  142. LAURA PUGH

    20th October 2012 at 5:11 pm

    I love chilli and chocolate

    Reply
  143. Anonymous

    20th October 2012 at 7:33 pm

    I think Ginger and chocolate are the perfect pair.

    Reply
  144. neet

    20th October 2012 at 7:47 pm

    chilli definitely xx

    Reply
  145. BeX

    20th October 2012 at 8:52 pm

    cinammon

    Reply
  146. elisaw

    20th October 2012 at 10:53 pm

    Cinnamon & choccy – yum!

    Reply
  147. Severe Rambler

    20th October 2012 at 10:57 pm

    Definitely saffron. Beautiful with dark chocolate 🙂

    Reply

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