Valentine’s Day Bonus: Chocolates, Weddings & Babies

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Happy Valentine’s Day – some favorite chocolate-drenched love stories from Lassi with Lavina! Enjoy!

Shefalee and Sanjay Joseph at their wedding

Shefalee and Sanjay Joseph at their wedding

 

Valentine’s Day Stories –  For A Single Girl, A Wedding with a SoulMate

Don’t you just love love stories and happy endings? When I first did the story with chocolatiers  on their own sweet romances, it was a popular post. This year I thought I’d go back and see if there were any romantic updates. Yes, there were!

Shefalee Patel, our only chocolatier who was single had found true love and Aarti Mahtani Raman who had just got married now has a baby boy!
So here is a Valentine’s Day Treat – true love stories!

 

Shefalee's Valentine's Day Special

Shefalee’s Valentine’s Day Special

 

Shefalee Patel’s  Labor of Love

Shefalee Patel is the avid chocolatier behind Sweet Silk and creates sweets for every occasion from Diwali to Christmas to Valentine’s Day. “I like to refer to the making of my sweets and truffles as my Labor of Love,” she says.  ”All our confections are handmade in small batches to ensure the right flavor, consistency and fresh quality every time. We do everything in-house by hand, from blanching and peeling pistachios to chopping the huge chocolate slabs down to cooking each batch of sweet and rolling each truffle by hand. There is a lot of time, energy and care put into making our confections and it’s all done lovingly. ”

For Valentine’s Day, the truffles which pair beautifully with wine or champagne, come in keepsake boxes. What’s the bonus for her? “The reward is always knowing that people are enjoying or sharing my confections with others. It warms my heart and motivates me to keep pushing the envelope!”

We are happy to report that there is now a romantic element to Shefalee’s story as Cupid finally zinged her with his arrow. She says, “I recently married my soulmate, Sanjay Joseph, in a 3 part wedding extravaganza. First to make it legal with a small court wedding in NYC, the second to honor tradition and join families with Hindu ceremony in NJ and the last for pure love and fulfill a dream on the beaches of Jamaica.”
Shefalee and Sanjay

Shefalee and Sanjay

“Even though I recently found my sweetheart (who still can’t get enough of my sweets), my first and true Valentine is still my younger sister. It started when she was very young and I always gave her a heart box of chocolates. As we got older and our palates expanded, it became about gifting her more luxurious and unique chocolates that we would enjoy together. Her favorite is still hazelnut with chocolate. So when I started making chocolates, I made my own version of a Rocher just for her!”

 

 For A Couple – A Bundle of baby Love

Aarti and Saurah with the new additions to their family

Aarti and Saurabh with the new additions to their family

 

It’s hard to believe that once upon a time Aarti Mahtani Raman was part of the 9 to 5 corporate world for nowadays life is all about food and her nascent catering company AMR Catering She works out of a rented kitchen, creating products on order for everything from catered parties to big weddings, and delivers to New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware.

” I love anything decadent – anything that makes me a little ‘giddy’ and wanna do a happy dance – warm doughnuts fresh out of the fryer, a molten chocolate cake, fresh Gulab Jamun!” she says. Her scrumptious desserts and  the Indian-fusion aspect comes from her love of Indian spices and growing up with American dessert staples.

“I fuse the two into something unique and unlike anything anyone has tried – Cardamom Cheesecake with a Pistachio-Shortbread crust is a staple!” she says, adding that her other east-west desserts include Chocolate Chai Cupcake with a Toasted Cashew and Brown Butter Icing, Mango Meringue Tartlet and Strawberry-Rosewater Cookies, as well as eggless varieties.  Her Indian-fusion desserts use spices such as Cardamom, Ginger, Cinnamon, and Saffron  in American style desserts, perfect she says, for Valentine’s Day since these are considered aphrodisiacs.

 

AMR Catering offers special cookies for Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day cookies from AMR Catering

Aarti met her husband Saurabh, a consultant with Vynamic, a Philadelphia-based company about 10 years ago. “I still can’t believe it’s been that long!” she says. “I was a Sophomore in college and he was a Junior. We were fast friends  – he’s hysterically funny – and a few months later, began dating and we’ve been together ever since. ” The first thing she ever made for him was an Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip-Walnut cookie, and he absolutely loved it. So she made them again as a sign of love for their own Mehndi and Sangeet parties – so everyone knew that was what had ‘got’ him!

“Saurabh is the biggest support system and without him, I don’t think I would’ve had the strength to follow my dream – to enroll in Culinary School six years ago, leave my corporate job soon after, and begin working in the food industry,” she says.

She concludes – and all Significant Others should heed her message: “He was with me through all of it, and even now – when I wanted to venture out on my own with AMR Catering, he’s there – from delivering treats to manning the booths at all the bridal shows. My rock. Every year for Valentine’s Day, I don’t opt for the lavish dinner and request bouquets of roses – I, instead, go all out and make a lavish, romantic dinner just for us.”

 

Zamir Sage Raman

Zamir Sage Raman

 

Update! We love sharing happy news and now Aarti and Saurabh have a little boy!

Says Aarti: “His name is Zamir Sage Raman (of course I had to have a culinary twist to his name, and of course there’s a Hindu aspect to the middle name Sage) and he’s the best baby…all smiles. So between the baby and catering – life is crazier than ever but it’s also the happiest I’ve ever been.
I’m actually planning his first birthday (his first birthday is a day after our 5 year wedding anniversary – and I have to tell you, planning his dessert bar and first birthday and smash cake is the hardest job I’ve ever had!”
Love makes the World Go Round! Happy Valentine’s Everyone!

 

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About Author

Lavina Melwani is a New York-based journalist who writes for several international publications. [email protected] & @lassiwithlavina Sign up for the free newsletter to get your dose of Lassi!