Scene I: Mumbai, the present day. The EDITORS’ office.
The room is spinning. Our heart is racing. We have to put down the spoonful of Baba’ au Rhum we are holding to regain control of our feelings. This oozy-looking sponge cake with the texture of an exquisite Calcutta rasgulla makes us feel like we’ve chugged a mouthful from a heady -- but also exquisite -- bottle.
Before us lie the despoiled dessert samples sent to us by a man who used to manage Talvin Singh in India and a woman who used to make jewellery in the Italian town of Padua, “nursery of the arts,” as repped in The Taming Of The Shrew. We’ve crunched, slurped and chewed our way through the Italian sweets of their brand-new food company, which is only just ready to send you some for your next dinner party. And so, its story can finally be told: here is Dolcemi.
Scene II: Four months previously, a dinner table of EIGHT CHEFS.
We set our scene by candlelight (just go with it, reader), where a table full of chefs has fallen silent -- struck dumb with admiration, we’re told -- upon eating a tiramisu made by the Padovan jewellery designer, whose name is Mirella Fiore. bpb contributor Auroni Mookerjee, who was among the assembled, says it is the best tiramisu he’s eaten in India.
“The thing about her tiramisu is that it’s everything that it’s not,” he tells us later. “The lady fingers aren’t soggy, there’s no weird mocha-meets-drinking-chocolate dusting, it’s not heavy and not too sweet. Also, great coffee-to-liqueur balance. All in all, very adult and sophisticated; yet comforting, like grandma’s pudding.”
Scene III: Late 2015, a chance meeting of STRANGERS.
Mirella, part-Sicilian and part-Lombardian, arrived in the city from Padua to take a jewellery design course. On her third day here, she met Kaveer Shahani, entrepreneur and founder of events company Groove Temple. “We became friends, then one thing led to another,” says Kaveer, “and we went into business together with this joint venture.” A true northern Italian love story.
"All in all, very adult and sophisticated; yet comforting, like grandma’s pudding.”
Over the last six months, Kaveer and Mirella have worked on a menu and business model that best showcases her dessert storms. They won’t be Scootsying up a 3 am tiramisu to you any time soon, sorry. For now, their kitchen will only take larger orders, and plans to cater dinner parties, weddings and other big splashes, as well as supply to restaurants. (A sample of their crunchy almond biscotti made us feel like children taking tea at the Taj again.)
Scene IV: The present day, KAVEER and MIRELLA in a Bandra kitchen.
Dolcemi’s small menu currently includes four kinds of tiramisu; a variety of crumbly biscuit offerings, ranging from nutty biscotti to one we find in their gelato alla panna with chocolate; semifreddo and gelato, plus more. Each tiramisu does different things; a strikingly fresh pineapple variant does the work of a creamy, fruity cake, while eating the classic tiramisu is a study in balance and restraint -- think of it as sugar doing calisthenics.
“I learned to cook from helping my mother as a child in the kitchen,” Mirella says. Many of the recipes came from both sides of her family, in southern Sicily as well as northern Lombardy.
Scene V: The bpb office, among the RUINS OF DESSERT.
We would like to thank Sicily personally for the sugar-dusted pastine di mandorla, soft chewy marzipan-like almond biscuits that made Christmas fall a little early in the office. A coffee semifreddo is exceptionally light and creamy, the angel on the shoulder across from a chocolate salami, devilishly rich and boozy. Speaking of which, there’s a Baba’ we’ve neglected so that we could finish writing this story without reeling. Off we return, to “smell sweet savours and feel soft things.” Call us if you need more guests at that dinner party.
Getting there: Dolcemi, Bandra, call 9029017000 for a menu and other inquiries. Minimum order of Rs 5,000.
Image credit: Instagram / @aycanummies.
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