fresh no ads
Chocolate decadence at Solaire |


Chocolate decadence at Solaire

RENDEZVOUs - Christine Dayrit - The Philippine Star
Chocolate decadence at Solaire
Solaire’s executive pastry chef Ben Haslett introduces the Chocolate Decadence Buffet in its dining outlets Fresh and Oasis Garden Café.
STAR / File

Imagine waking up from a dream, still savoring the flavors of a magnificent feast.

Recently, I had the pleasure to appreciate the new tasting menu at the elegant Finestra Italian Steakhouse of Solaire Resort. Nestled within the luxurious Solaire Hotel, Finestra features a classy open kitchen. The stylish bar and dining area, along with a private room, provides a perfect setting for guests to indulge in exquisite cuisine while celebrating life’s precious moments.

In this amazing venue, a dynamic collaboration will unfold — between internationally acclaimed, Philippine homegrown Auro Chocolate; renowned Michelin Star executive chef Andrea Spagoni of Beef Bar in Hong Kong; and Gaggan-trained chef Rhea Rizzo who is now at the helm of Cavite’s top bespoke private dining spot, Mrs. Saldo. Together, they have conjured an awe-inspiring fusion of chocolate-infused cuisine with wines that complement.

Within Auro’s array of flavors, you’ll discover tantalizing combinations like Calamansi and Biscotti, Mango and Hazelnut, among many others. Their White Chocolate Couverture was awarded top honors in 2010. The secret behind Auro’s success lies in its exceptional cocoa butter, meticulously sourced from various regions such as Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Bukidnon and Bataan. These magical ingredients transform their chocolate into a heavenly experience. Each bite of Auro’s creations takes you to an extraordinary epicurean journey. Youthful Kelly Go and Mark de Ocampo, co-founders and managing directors of Auro Chocolate, are extremely passionate about all things chocolate.

Dine at the beautiful and elegant Solaire Resort and Finestra Italian Steakhouse.
Photos by Solaire and MEL MARTINEZ

Solaire Resort Entertainment City’s Finestra Italian Steakhouse is proud to announce its upcoming two-night event, the Four Hands Dinner, featuring the culinary wonders of cacao. This unique dining experience will take place on July 26 and 27, when executive chef Spagoni and chef Rizzo will partner with Auro to create a six-course menu that uses cacao in the most unexpected ways.

Candid conversations with these two rockstar chefs revealed they had a wonderful collaboration and “enjoyed working with each other.” Chefs Rizzo and Spagoni shared that “we have prepared different interpretations of chocolate in our dishes.”

Solaire Resort Entertainment City’s Finestra Italian Steakhouse’s Four Hands Dinner features a choco-infused culinary experience created by executive chef Spagoni, chef Rizzo using Auro Chocolates, owned by Kelly Go and Mark de Ocampo (at right).

From the precious age of 10, chef Spagoni derived his inspiration for cooking from his grandmother. When I asked him what he enjoyed among our local Filipino cuisine, he said, “I haven’t really explored a lot of local dishes but I like pickled papaya (achara) a lot.”

Chef Rizzo intimated that her inspiration for her cooking was the film Like Water for Chocolate “because of using exotic ingredients in my cuisine.” She shared, “The beauty about a journey for me is twofold. One, the people you’re blessed to cross paths with and learn from; and two, your own self – seeing the progression no matter how small from when you started the journey.”

In this gastronomic adventure in Finestra, wine pairing plays a crucial role in enhancing the flavors and creating a symphony of tastes. Sommelier par excellence Daniel Blaise believes that finding the perfect wine to harmonize with the food requires chemistry, energy and a complementary taste. Daniel intimated that the pairing was just spectacular with all flavors and textures of the food and wines in perfect harmony.

With his expertise, Daniel ensures that each wine complements the chocolate-infused dishes, creating a magical combination that brings out the best in both. Each course presented was a testament to the chefs’ passion and creativity. With every dish, they revealed the secrets behind their chocolate-infused creations and their inspirations. It was an enchanting exchange of ideas, where flavors and stories intertwined, leaving us in awe of such creativity and artistry. The sumptuous tasting menu was curated for the most discriminating diners. The symphony of flavors commenced with delightful appetizers that awakened the palate, leading us to savor the main course, and finally indulging in the luscious desserts. The chef introduced each dish as Daniel gracefully unveiled its pairing wines. The result was an extraordinary marriage of love and chocolate. The harmonious blend of seafood and chocolate, created by chef Rizzo, where the sweetness of cocoa elevates the delicate flavors of scallops while a refreshing Riesling dances on your palate, was unforgettable. The culinary ensemble with Bouzeron single-origin, Luna Aura chocolate, Hamachi, Matcha, and Kara Kara Orange is simply divine.

Your taste buds rejoice in the crisp acidity of Bouzeron wine, which cuts through the richness of the buttery Hamachi, while the rich, complex flavors of the Luna Aura adds depth and intensity. The vibrant Kara Kara orange adds a refreshing finishing touch. But the journey doesn’t end there. Chef Spagoni’s decadent trio of perfectly cooked ravioli filled with a combination of chicken, pork and beef, sprinkled with cacao nibs is simply delightful. As you take a bite, the savory blend of meats dances on your tongue, balanced by the slight bitterness and nuttiness of the cacao nibs. What better companion than Lange Wine, with its full-bodied, complex flavor? The wine’s high acidity cleanses your palate and allows its subtle notes of red fruits and cocoa to harmonize with the richness of the dish.

This enchanting event, organized by Solaire’s gracious Joy Wassmer, in honor of Chocolate Month in July, is an invitation to all lovers of gastronomy. On July 26 and 27, mark your calendars and treat yourself to this impressive burst of flavors and aromas. For the incredible price of P8,800 only, you will embark on a culinary adventure that will transport you to a world of gastronomic poetry.

Executive pastry chef Ben Haslett shared that diners will be in for “surprises” as they enjoy his desserts. Chef Haslett always likes to offer something special, unique and memorable.By supporting this special chocolate dinner in Finestra, you are not only enjoying a one-of-a-kind feast but also supporting the local Filipino industry. Auro Chocolate represents the best of Filipino craftsmanship from its humble beginnings and its evolution into an internationally acclaimed Pinoy treasure. It has truly become a source of pride for the nation. This collaboration with renowned chefs showcases the incredible potential of Filipino talent on the global culinary stage.

Worthy to note, there are more treats offered. In honor of Chocolate Month, Solaire has just launched their Chocolate Decadence Buffet that includes Afternoon High Tea. Sweet and Savory bites and assorted Chocolate Cocktail Drinks on the menu. Our favorites were the Baileys Chocolate Martini and the Chocolate Smoothie. You will definitely be spoiled for choice with the Smoked Salmon Sandwiches, Roast Beef with Burrata, Lobster and Avocado in Charcoal Brioche Toast and the obligatory scones with clotted cream, Nutella and orange marmalade. All creatively presented, it’s like stepping inside the film set of the well-loved Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory movie.

The chocolate buffet is available at Solaire dining outlets. For the Chocolate Month of July, this buffet will be available at Fresh and Oasis Garden Cafe. The four-hands dinner takes place at Finestra Italian Steakhouse.

This is more than just a culinary experience; it is a celebration of the extraordinary, a feast for the senses, a treat of soulful recipes and an invitation to explore a world where dreams truly come alive.

* * *

For reservations at Solaire for the Auro Chocolate Four Hands Dinner, call 8888-8888 or email may also visit or follow Solaire’s social media pages @solaireresort on Facebook and Instagram.

vuukle comment


Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with