Strains of chocolate
THE WEEK|August 29, 2021
The story behind what could be the world’s first playable chocolate flute
MATHEW T. GEORGE

How does chocolate sound?

From the crackle of foil while unwrapping a bar to the crisp snap while breaking it to the laughter, gasps and whispered sweet nothings that follow, the sounds that accompany chocolate are many. Sometimes, even silence is a good accompaniment for chocolate.

But, what does chocolate actually sound like? Well, it sounds remarkably like a flute, for now at least. And for that we have two men to thank: master pastry chef Vinesh Johny and ace flautist Parth Chandiramani, both from Bengaluru. Johny and Chandiramani together made what could arguably be the world’s first playable, chocolate flute.

For long, Johny had been wanting to craft a musical instrument out of chocolate and his ambitious project was backed by impressive credentials. After graduating from culinary school at Christ (Deemed to be University), Bengaluru, he worked with the Oberoi and Starwood groups before he became a teacher.

He is now co-founder and executive pastry chef of Lavonne Academy of Baking Science and Pastry Arts, Bengaluru. The academy is “India’s first international specialised baking academy” and it is affiliated to City & Guilds, London. He co-founded it in 2012 with chefs Avin Thaliath and Lijo Eapen. Johny was all of 24 when he started Lavonne, and interestingly, Thaliath taught him in Christ.

With the multiple lockdowns forcing him indoors, Johny found himself watching more and more music videos, and thus was born the idea of the chocolate flute. “He called me one day and said, ‘Bro, I have been watching these flautists, so would it be possible to make a chocolate flute?” said Chandiramani. “The mechanics of a flute are simple. So, I was confident that we could make some sound from a chocolate pipe. But I was not sure if it could be tuned and played. And, I had never ever made a flute, let alone a chocolate one.”

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