Most people eat with their eyes before food even touches their tongue. Whether we are staring down what somebody at the table next to us in a restaurant ordered or looking through the glass case at a Patisserie, the one thing that is inevitably consistent is that if what we see looks good or has fantastic packaging, we are compelled to taste it with a longing to quell our desire. In our minds, there is a direct relationship between how food looks and tastes- the prettier it is the more delicious it must taste.
Whether our hypothesis about the relationship between a food’s look and taste is accurate or not, it is certainly true that the appearance of a food does entice us to try new things, whether they please our taste buds or not. Unfortunately, the flip side to this is that we are less likely to try things that are not so pretty. Shefalee Patel, owner and creator of Sweet Silk, says that her motivation to start experimenting with a new way to present Indian sweets developed from similar thoughts.
“When I was working in Dubai as a civil engineer, I would see all of these sweets that were so beautifully made and packaged that you almost did not want to eat them, but at the same time, you couldn’t resist trying them. I began thinking about why Indian sweets couldn’t be presented in the same fashion. Indian mithai, when made well, can be so good, but the presentation leaves something to be desired. Handing somebody a plastic container haphazardly stuffed with sweets is not enticing, even if the contents are delicious.”
After leaving her job in Dubai, and returning back to New York, Shefalee started seriously working on developing a modern version of the traditional Indian mithai known as burfi. The art of creating sweet morsels seemed to come naturally to her, as she had spent many years making chocolates and candies.
“I’ve been making candies and desserts for quite some time, so I had experience with creating unique flavors as well as decorating petite treats.” It is this experience that inspired Shefalee to start her burfi creations as petite fours, giving them the glamorous visual appeal of a fine chocolate while preserving its traditional silky texture and taste.
“The very first flavor I made, and one of the most popular, is the coconut with bittersweet chocolate ganache. To this day, I still have not changed the recipe.” Alongside this original flavor, Shefalee has produced several other types of sweets that capture what we look for in a traditional Indian burfi while infusing it with unique flavors that please the modern palette.
“I always try to make something that I think will appeal to my generation, however I also want to preserve the essence of the traditional sweet. My mother is a big help with that because I always have her taste what I make, if she doesn’t like it, then I don’t use it. I want everyone to enjoy my sweets, and with that comes a fine balance of traditional and contemporary.”
Among the selections are Walnut Apple Spice, Almond Orange Chocolate, Pistachio White Rose and even Pecan Caramel. I would tell you my favorite, but honestly each one of these is truly a tantalizing and delicious surprise to the palate…you really just need to have one of each!
As with most Indian parents, Shefalee’s were not sure about her new business as being a new career instead of engineering. They thought that perhaps this is just a hobby. However, after catering a couple of weddings, word started to spread about these delectable treats and it became more and more apparent that Sweet Silk was not only a viable business, but also offered a unique perspective and product that had been long needed in our evolving Indian culture.
Sweet Silk is a family owned and operated business, with Shefalee’s brother and sister managing design of the website and packaging. The mithai is made in small batches with the highest quality ingredients to ensure freshness and flavor that cannot be forgotten. Each purchase is made to order and they will even work with you to create custom flavors to meet your taste buds’ desires.
To order and to find out more about Sweet Silk, visit http://www.savorsweetsilk.com
Place your order today- you’ll want to savor every bite.