Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Notes on Chocolate

Whether it’s with chocolate ganache cake, hazelnut cream truffles, praline filled bonbons or chocolate ice box pie—there are countless ways to feature chocolate in your entertaining. Chocolate is our Executive Pastry Chef Michael Martins' primary muse. His specialty cakes, petit fours, and truffles are truly remarkable—always velvety and delicious. A past life spent as a cocoa bean hanging off a cocoa branch in the Andes foothills is my only logical explanation for his innate chocolate abilities. That and, of course, over twenty years of pastry experience. One of my favorite chocolate desserts is his twist on the traditional Mississippi Mud Pie called “Oreo Mudslide Pie." This version is relatively simple to prepare and perfect for any special occasion. The recipe can be found in the February '09 issue of Affluent Magazine.

Whether you’re hosting a chocolate tasting party or a dinner with a chocolate-inspired theme—send your guests home with an individually wrapped chocolate bar as a parting gift. Amedei is my favorite bean to bar chocolatier. They turn rare Venezuelan cacao beans into a subtly spicy, bittersweet dark chocolate bar called the Porcelana bar at their bean to bar factory in Italy’s Chocolate Valley. This bar is arguably some of the best, single-origin chocolate in existence. Guests will truly appreciate having artisan gourmet chocolate to nibble on the next day at the office or, more likely, in the car on their way home from your event.

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