De­light­ful choco­late con­coc­tions at The Penin­sula Hong Kong’s Choco­late Room

Philippine Tatler Homes - - CONTENTS - writes Aussy Aportadera

The Choco­late Room at The Penin­sula Hong Kong may well be a gallery. Upon en­try to the al­cove, guests are greeted with choco­late sculp­tures on the left and a wall of mo­saic tiles on the right. It ex­hibits the crafts­man­ship of pas­try and con­fec­tion con­nois­seurs whose gen­uine pas­sion for choco­late res­onates with its aris­to­cratic his­tory.

Dat­ing back to ear­li­est civil­i­sa­tions of Me­soamer­ica, et­y­mol­o­gists have traced the men­tion of the Aztec word, “xo­coatl,” from as far back as 2,000 years ago. In those days, the co­coa tree’s bean trans­lated to “food for the gods.” It fig­ured in a bit­ter brew known for its ine­bri­at­ing, aphro­disiac ef­fects that these cul­tures drank in rit­ual and cel­e­bra­tion. Xo­coatl was so wide­spread that it is said to have been used to

The Choco­late Room stands as part mu­seum of her­itage and part culi­nary work­shop

wel­come Euro­pean colonis­ers, whose palates begged for honey and cane sugar, which would later de­velop the pre­cur­sor of the pop­u­lar sweet.

The Choco­late Room has gath­ered ex­pert choco­latiers to hon­our the wellloved treat. Chef Mar­ijn Co­ert­jens, the Best Bel­gian Choco­late Mas­ter 2015 and third place win­ner of the pres­ti­gious World Choco­late Masters 2015, stood at the helm of The Choco­late Room at its in­cep­tion. He was fol­lowed by the World Choco­late Mas­ter 2011 awardee, chef Frank Haas­noot. To­gether, they crafted an as­sort­ment of 24 dif­fer­ent choco­lates that are hand­made with the finest nat­u­ral in­gre­di­ents. Not un­like the origins of wine, bean va­ri­eties and ter­roir in­flu­ence the rich flavours of choco­late. Take, for ex­am­ple, the 70% Chuao dark ganache from Venezuela. The vil­lage is bor­dered by the Car­ribean sea on the north and sur­round by moun­tains and rain­forests from the south, pro­duc­ing a fresh va­ri­ety of ca­cao beans that are con­sid­ered the most ex­pen­sive in the world. Per­haps it is be­cause the ca­cao plan­ta­tions can only be reached by foot, and it has been that way for at least 400 years.

From the clas­sics (such as a dark choco­late ganache in­fused with vanilla pods from Mada­gas­car) to the most unique creations (like the vod­kalaced screw­driver pra­line in­spired from Clark Gable’s favourite drink at The Penin­sula Bar), The Choco­late Room stands as part mu­seum of her­itage and part culi­nary work­shop that guests at The Penin­sula Hong Kong can walk through, taste through, and thor­oughly en­joy.

sweet haven The Choco­late Room wel­comes guests with a dis­play of de­lec­ta­ble mas­ter­pieces

Got Co­coa? The Art of Tea choco­late sculp­ture; maître choco­latier in ac­tion; Laven­der ar­ti­sanal choco­lates

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