For the love of chocolate
Dr. Nestor Alonso II (The Freeman) - September 27, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Chocolate took the center stage in an event called “Chocolate Decadence,” where every dish served – from appetizers to the main dish – had an element of chocolate in it. Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino was the setting of this occasion sponsored by a gourmet club, La Chaine des Rotisseurs. Dress code for the dinner was “Filipiniana Modern” and the men wore the Barong Tagalog while the ladies were decked up in fashionable Filipiniana/Terno gowns.

Waterfront general manager Anders Hallden and his culinary team crafted the exquisite dishes with assistance from special guest chocolate sommelier Raquel Choa.

A bottle of Tavernello Sangiovese 2017 was poured, and the Appetizer served: NZ Lamb Carpaccio, Goat Cheese Croquette, Pear, Arugula, Dried Apricot and Pumpkin Seeds Salad, in Balsamic Vinegar and Tablea Chocolate Dressing and Black Summer Truffle. This was a very tasty dish with many elements giving it different levels of flavor. There was meat, fruit, vegetable, and slices of fresh truffles (the cost is P70,000 per kilo!) with the taste and smell of oaky, nutty, sweet, bitter and earthy, bound together by the chocolate dressing. Oh, what a dish!

The second dish was Porcini Mushroom & Chestnut Soup Cappuccino in a Hint of Bittersweet Pure Chocolate and Truffle Crouton followed by the Criollo Chocolate Ravioli, Ricotta & Pumpkin, Quail Egg and Grated Cacao de Bola. Both the soup and the pasta were quite delicious (with my palate silently searching the elements of chocolate in each dish).

The Snow Chocolate and Lemon Sorbet was served and my palate took a respite. A bottle of Caliterra Reserva Chardonnay 2017 was poured followed by a Fish Dish, the Steamed Zucchini Coated Cod Fish Fillet, Red Onion-Ginger Tsokolate Marmalade, Citrus Fresh Cocoa Beans Sauce. More food dissection was to be made; the fish alone was quite tasty tweaked to a higher level with the marmalade and the sauce made with chocolate. This was one great dish and my favorite that night.

A red wine was served, the Mouton Cadet Rogue, Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Bordeaux, France. This was followed by Sous Vide NY Prime Striploin, Moka-Roasted Cocoa Bean Crust, Gorgonzola Sauce, Ube-Potato Croquette.

Sous Vide is a process of vacuum-sealing food in a bag, placed in a water bath and precise cooking temperature is applied. This method of cooking is a necessity when preparing a dish for a large number of people. All the meats can be prepared at the required cooking temperature and served at the same time without overcooking it.

The steak was delicious with very complex flavors, with its crust of coffee and cacao and a sauce with cheese. At that point I had already tasted five dishes, very tasty but with flavors that were complicated. My palate had to work overtime in analyzing the complex nuances of each dish.

The dessert, Vanilla Panna Cotta, Malagos Chocolate Ganache, Tablea Sponge Cake, was easier to understand because chocolate is an essential ingredient in many desserts. More chocolates, excuse me, were served that night with the Casa de Cacao Buffet featuring the favorite cakes of chocolate sommelier Raquel Choa.

CHOCOLATE
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