As Shakespeare once said, love knows no time. It’s present here always.
Valentine’s Day is here, and it is nothing but taking out some extra time for your loved ones. People across the globe celebrate Valentine’s Day with great fun and do special things for their near and dear ones. Millennials and Gen-Z’s idea of Valentine’s day has also evolved, who now consider it as an opportunity to express and share their love with their romantic partners as well as family and friends.
From candlelight dinners and taking a short trip with your loved ones to spending a romantic evening on the beach and saying sweet-nothings to each other, it’s all about pampering and indulging together.
However, the special sweet treats are definitely worth getting excited over.
YourStory spoke to Chef Manish Khanna, Founder, Brownie Point and Noir, Mumbai, to understand what the current generation is planning this Valentine’s Day.
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“Valentine’s day is a great way to show one’s love for their partner, friend, or family. It just makes the day special with everyone enjoying sheer happiness,” he says.
This Valentine’s Day, Manish and his flagship bakery and dessert café have come up with special offerings, ranging from Belgian Chocolate and Strawberry Pastry with a tint of velvet spray, Red Velvet Banana Pudding, Heart-shaped Popsicles, Marble block encasing a dense chocolate loaf, and Belgian Chocolate Ganache.
Love for baking
Manish says, he has been making baked goodies for his customers for 30 years now. He opened his first-ever Brownie Point outlet in Bandra, Mumbai, in 1997, and after 23 years, his flagship bakery is present in 25 locations across India and the UAE.
“I first launched Brownie Point to introduce what gooey brownies were like. I introduced cheesecakes for the first time in the market as well. Over the past two decades, we have expanded our reach to four cities and two countries including Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Nashik, and Dubai,” he says.
The bakery also offers a range of cakes, mousses, cupcakes, brownies, macaroons, pies, tarts, cheesecakes, chocolates, with sugar-free, vegan, and gluten options.
Manish says, he honed his skills under some of the world’s best chefs across the USA, India, Malaysia, and Vietnam, picking the best in the art of desserts.
Over the years, he also trained and worked with several hotels and restaurants, which includes the Royal Caribbean Cruise, the Rich Headquarters in Niagara (world’s second-largest cream company), and Tribeca Grill lamp, Bakery under Chef Mike, which is owned by actor Robert De Niro.
“From college days, I have always had a keen interest in baking. As I started moving ahead in life, the only constant was my love for baking. When I decided to build a brand, my inspiration was purely to build on my actual love – desserts. The joy to create a product that would be a part of celebrations everywhere and each day is something that keeps me going,” Manish says.
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Celebrate love, every day
Manish believes love should be celebrated every day, and not just on one specific date.
“It’s brilliant how our kids can teach us simple pleasures in life. That’s how my sons often make me feel – love is an emotion to be enjoyed and expressed every day,” he says.
For Manish, February brings in the romance in the air. He says, his offerings this Valentine’s Day are all about heart-shaped desserts and the colour red.
“One can get macaroons in heart shape, cupcakes, popsicles, cakes, heart-shaped pastries, jar desserts, small desserts good for two, and everything that shows red prominently. The inspiration is to give customers a day filled with sweet indulgences, and one that would make sweet memories for them,” Manish adds.
He continues, “We have often seen couples, especially women, coming to pick sweet delights to celebrate the day. Also, the most picked desserts are cake popsicles – heart-shaped cakes on sticks. We have seen customers walking in to pick their desserts and indulge right away. Hence, the cake popsicles turn out to be a great option for the customers.”
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All things sweet – desserts, people, and memories
Manish says, he has seen many couples walk inside Brownie Point outlets requesting for special desserts. They also come during the Valentine’s, like any other day, to spend time together.
“In so many years, we saw many dating couples get married, and we were invited to be part of the wedding celebrations by serving desserts for their guests. This was momentous enough for us because we were delighted to be part of their special day,” Manish adds.
On the day of the opening of its first outlet in Pali Hills, Bandra, Brownie Point also found one of its most loyal customers.
“When we opened our first Brownie Point outlet in Bandra, Arjun Gidwani was among our first customers. He walked in to pick up a cake for his son's first birthday. And now, after 23 years, he calls us every year on the brand’s anniversary that also marks his son’s birthday, and orders a cake for his son. This has been the most memorable experience for me, especially when customers travel that long journey with us,” recalls Manish.
(Edited by Megha Reddy)
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