Chocolate with a hint of mischief

EAT’S EASY - Ernest Reynoso Gala () - September 22, 2011 - 12:00am

As with most fine things, chocolate has its season. There is a simple memory aid that you can use to determine whether it is the correct time to order chocolate dishes: any month whose name contains the letter A, E, or U is the proper time for chocolate. — Sandra Boynton

Forget love ... I’d rather fall in chocolate! — Unknown 

Wicked and exciting, there is no better experience than luscious chocolate caressing your palate. Decadent and tempting, resistance is almost futile. Its distinct flavor and smooth softness never fails to draw a positive response from those who devour this luxurious treat. Fortunately for chocoholics, Sinfully by Makati Shangri-La spurs the imagination to even greater heights, satisfying your chocolate fantasies by making them reality.

The average person consumes almost 13 pounds or six kilos of chocolate a year. Cocoa butter, the fat in chocolate, melts at body temperature, thus it melts in your mouth. The word itself is derived from the Mayan civilization: “xoco” meaning bitter and “otl” meaning water. There are almost 500 compounds in a cocoa bean, also called “kaw kaw” in the Mayan language. From mousses to pralines to bars, pastry chefs continue to create innovative desserts and people are willing to pay more for quality.

Judging by the crowd waiting in line, the chefs of Sinfully are masters of the pastry art, transforming this versatile ingredient into exquisite treats. The menu is appealing with a hint of mischief, designed to play with our senses and entice us to have fun. A line of lip-shaped chocolates dubbed “Kiss” is made from the finest chocolate with a glossy, candy-coated veneer; these Kisses come from all over the world. Caribbean Kiss is a tropical-inspired white chocolate creation filled with star anise. French Kiss is a raspberry-filled dark chocolate bonbon, while Italian Kiss is an amaretto and coffee-filled dark chocolate confection. The quality is evident as the texture is velvety and smooth as silk, with every bite harmoniously blending with the filling.

From the Designer Cake collection patrons can choose Dark Fantasy, a chocolate mousse cake made with premium Valrhona Grand Cru Manjari, a bittersweet blend of the best cocoa from Madagascar used by professionals for its consistency and ease of tempering. Another masterpiece, Lost Horizon, is a citrus lemon cream-filled tart lavished with fresh fruits and edible gold leaf that is well constructed and a fantastic balance of sweetness. True Love is a twist on the traditional strawberry shortcake with chocolate crust. The Calendar Cake makes sure that no one forgets a special date with a rich cheesecake or lush chocolate cake topped with white chocolate and berries.

An added feature is the Chocolate Room, a glass, temperature-controlled room where all the magic happens for customers to view. As I watched, it gave me flashbacks to my Ecole Lenotre Pastry School days in France as a student, where we tirelessly tempered chocolate to the proper texture, both a science and art that requires skill and experience. Patiently observing, I instantly recognized the pastry prowess and level of expertise by chef Collar, admiring his work and deft touch with the paddle. The Praline Tower is comprised of 100 pralines housed within satin-lined drawers, a splendid sight indeed that will linger in your memory long afterwards.

Sinfully is for chocolate aficionados. Full of panache, flair, and temptation, it is worth all the fuss and more.

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Sinfully by Makati Shangri-La is located on the second level, Greenbelt 5, Ayala Center, Makati. For inquiries and orders, call 729 -6626 or e-mail sinfully.slm@shangri-la.com.

Discovery Of The Week

I will be giving a free Lee Kum Kee cooking demo on Saturday, Sept. 24, at 11 a.m. at the Market! Market! Activity Center, Taguig City. Recipes to be demonstrated are Chinese fried rice with Lee Kum Kee Hoisin sauce, chicken wings with Lee Kum Kee Chili Garlic sauce, and sizzling Chinese beefsteaks with Lee Kum Kee Char Siu (BBQ sauce). All recipes are authentic, exact, and practical. Tips on Chinese cooking that I learned in Hong Kong will be shared. See you there!

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For recipes and a schedule of classes visit www.sylviareynosogala.com or www.facebook.com/Sylvia Reynoso Gala Culinary or call 671-4489 or 98.

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