A fashion publicist by profession, Ericka Fernandes’ fascination with chocolate and nuts pushed her to quit her career in Mumbai. In Goa, she conceptualised Golden Chantilly that offers French desserts crafted to perfection. NT BUZZ samples a few
Danuska Da Gama\ NT BUZZ
The only way to do great work is to love what you do. Embodying this dictum is Ericka Fernandes, a simple and ambitious girl who has taken off on her own to build the French dessert brand Golden Chantilly that’s wooing Goans and dessert connoisseurs alike with delectable offerings.
It was a year ago, that Ericka realised that her passion to work with chocolate and nuts, particularly hazelnuts could mean starting off on her own and sharing this passion along with a taste of sinful French desserts with people in her homeland. Before she officially began Golden Chantilly that she runs from within her home tucked away in Caranzalem, she made sure she perfected each of the desserts.And her sister, along with other family members, was her strongest critic. “I make them all by myself. I kept trying endless number of times until I perfected the method,” she says.
But starting something on your own requires a lot more than passion and guts. “When I was ready to start, there were already so many people out there making cakes, desserts, etc. I wondered how I would manage to survive. But, everybody was doing the same thing and to stand out I needed to be different.” Ericka says.
Ericka strongly believes that not everything can be taught in pastry school and thus she relied on inspiration that come from old book recipes, watching videos on YouTube, and techniques from Julia Child.
Ericka began with just four desserts. The ‘signature dome’, she says is made with lots of love and an equal portion of hazelnut. The ‘noisette’ can be relished really fast but isn’t an easy one to prepare – being constructed with a hazelnut praline cremeux, placed on a petit gateau that embodies the crème anglaise. The third, ‘cajo verrine’ is a classy combination of caramel and chocolate that blends in the flavours of salted caramel, with cashew, that’s topped on a creamy chocolate cremeux. The ‘caramel stick’ holds together the flavours of caramel and dark chocolate which is completed with an inserted hazelnut sable.
For sure these are enough to give you a sugar rush, but besides that, from the assembly of each dessert, to the box packing with a golden ribbon tied around a white box that, along with a personal note – that tells you more about what you’re eating, Ericka has got a few things right from the start, making sure, personalisation is at its best.
“Having worked in the PR field with several brands, I have realised the impact of personalisation, and how happy it can make people. They appreciate the love and hardwork along with the desserts,” she adds.
She believes in standing out and that’s the reason she hasn’t included several items to offer. Her other best selling desserts include the ‘mango bliss’ that sits on an airy mango bavarian cream, mango jelly and cake crumble. The ‘nutty heart beat’ is her new creation made of a hazelnut biscuit, praline base, coffee ganache and a white chocolate bavarois. The ‘hazelnut dacquoise’ is a meringue that carries the ganache and coffee custard.
She loves experimenting, but she would rather perfect something to the T before having people buy it for the sake of doing business.
“The methods involved can be time consuming and take up to three days (like the ‘noisette’) and thus I would prefer to stay true to the recipe than just create items to be sold,” she says, before adding that for her it is imperative to maintain quality and not compromise on a dessert that requires an item that is of low quality or not available in the Goan market.
She has also worked sufficiently on the nutella bar, macarons, the white loaf, white chocolate eclairs and churros. Besides, she makes cakes, mousse cakes (the signature, noisette, mango bliss, nutty heart beat, caramel and chocolate) and other regular cakes. While the desserts are priced between `150 to `180 per piece, the cakes range between `1400 to `2000 (that depends on the inches and mould preferred). “My prices aren’t steep for the quality that’s one’s paying for,” she tells us, before adding that she has plans to whip up a few more desserts, but it’s on the backburner now, as a few ingredients can’t be sourced in Goa.
While her work might look pretty to the eye there are challenging times too. “The temperature is the most challenging aspect when you are working on desserts that have chocolate and crème. I do get last minute orders and I try my best to accommodate them,” she says with a smile. Her big dream now is to set up an outlet soon. But for now she’s enjoying preparing from home and is happy to have the kitchen to herself the entire day while her mother is at work. Soon, Ericka will be working on a fresh batch of desserts that will take sinfulness to a new level with alcohol being an important ingredient.