I planned on posting this a long time ago, but then something called final exams got in the way :) This will just be a quick post (I just think the chocolates are exceptionally beautiful!) because I have plenty of cooking and eating to do here at home.
Every year the College hosts an evening called Death By Chocolate on the last day of the fall semester. This is how it works: the planning committee is allotted a budget around $6,000 to blow on everything and anything chocolate for a huge feast. The committee is split up into a few groups, the main ones being Common Chocolates and Specialty Chocolates. I was more than happy (ecstatic, really) to serve on the Specialty Chocolates group. The Common Chocolates spends their budget on chocolate fountains, pounds of See’s, cakes, mousses…well you get the idea, common chocolate stuff.
Ok, I’ll cut to the chase – here’s some of what the Specialty Chocolates ordered for the event.
Some exceptional pieces were the Quatre Epices (the spotted one on the bottom) – a complex play of black pepper, nutmeg and cloves in a milk chocolate ganache and the Thai Ginger, a dark chocolate piece with hints of lemongrass, coconut and bits of crystallized ginger.
Kee’s Chocolates. I had the opportunity to speak with Kee Tong on a couple occasions last year when I stopped by her shop on slow afternoons. Soft spoken and ever so kind, Kee graduated from the FCI before opening her Soho shop. Her passion for creating truffles clearly show though in the workmanship and flavor of her sweets! Kee’s Black Sesame and Green Tea truffles.
Norman Love: from top to bottom: Tahitian Caramel, Milk Chocolate Truffle, Palet d’Or, Dark Lime, Mocha, Pineapple, Lime and Pumpkin Trays of Norman Love and Woodhouse. Chris Elbow: from left to right: Citrus Caramel, Rosemary Caramel, Morello Cherry and Bourbon PecanSome more Chris Elbow: Vietnamese Cinnamon, Fleur de Sel Caramel, Espresso Lemon and Venezuelan DarkAnd this was how the chocolates were served. We had to cut them in half (this broke my heart!) and put them in paper cups.
The event itself was a bit crazy with thousands of students in a mad rush to grab chocolates. It made me a little sad to see how some people valued quantity over quality. They would grab a few, stuff them in the mouth and make away with some more before they even swallowed. I wanted to say, “hey! do you know that that piece cost $3, do you even know the flavor? What you’re eating?!” but of course I refrained from doing such a thing.
I also ate quite a bit myself, but stopped short of my initial plan to sample EVERYTHING. My favorite for the evening was Norman Love’s Pumpkin, Chris Elbow’s Rosemary Caramel and the Oak-aged Vidal: Apricot & Lychee from DC Duby’s Ice Wine Series (no picture). The soft, spicy pumpkin cream was enrobed in a whimsical white chocolate shell while the Rosemary Caramel tasted just like the name. The flavors fresh rosemary swirled into caramel in a pyramid shaped truffle was intoxicating. DC Duby is a relatively new chocolatier, but if the fruity wine based truffle is representative of their other products, then there’s some new competition in the market! I think I’ll lay low on the truffles for the next few months. Death by Chocolate was a fun event but I was really overwhelmed (by both the amount of chocolate ordered and the mad rush of chocolate desperate students) not to mention truffled-out.