A review of the latest Food Event with The Gourmet Belle
I have a confession to make. I’m not a chocoholic. I can go weeks, even months (*gasp*), without so much as a chocolate sprinkle. I am, however, a huge nerd. And my favourite subject is food – all food. So, I was eagerly anticipating The Gourmet Belle’s cocoa ‘study group’ held at Monty’s Chocolates last Thursday evening.
Ok, so there wasn’t an actual study group (I suspect I would have had a mass exodus on my hands if I had demanded note-taking and posed an essay question…apparently not everyone thinks this is a fun way to spend an evening).
However, there was a triple shot of insanely thick and luxuriant hot chocolate, which (after narrowly escaping premature cocoa-induced coma) was the perfect introduction to an evening of delectable chocolate discovery!
Once the initial caffeine buzz subsided, our small group set out on a bean- to-bar journey. Led by our affable host, Steve Sheldon (chocolate freak, connoisseur and owner of Monty’s Chocolates), we set out to discover real chocolate (by way of devouring it) and the story behind its amazing evolution.
We started (strangely enough) at the beginning, with the raw material – 100% chocolate. It’s a rare opportunity to sample the ‘real deal’ – just chocolate, nothing added. Our Francois Pralus sample (along with a choc-coated roasted cocoa bean) was exquisite and provided the perfect benchmark for the evening.
Our chocolate extravaganza continued through a comparison of dark chocolates from varying single origins; a selection of world-class milk chocolates; sumptuous truffles (filled with fresh berries, which simply erupted with intense flavours); various chocolate and nut combinations and finished with the famous salted liquid caramel matched with a snifter of luscious Rutherglen Liqueur Muscat (and a winning combination it was too!).
Precious morsels from world class producers, such as Francois Pralus, Coppeneur and Artisan du Chocolat, supported each course of cocoa-enlightenment and ensured our ‘sweet compartment’ was truly ‘chock-a-block’ by the end of our gastronomic journey.
It may have been the cocoa/caffeine/sugar talking, but it was still very heartening to hear so many positive comments from our little group of chocolate-covered adventurers! I must again thank our faithful guide, Steve, for providing his expertise, enthusiasm and, most importantly, a treasure trove of world class chocolate!
I have inkling that this may become a regular event of The Gourmet Belle calendar…
I may have started out by stating I was a pretty rubbish chocoholic, however I do adore baking with it (probably because I know it is the one ingredient that pleases most palates) and I always keep a stash handy…I may, or may not, be off to pillage that stash right now…
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