Each year, Koko Black holds special Winter Evenings of Chocolate providing 4 courses of chocolatey dessert porn (see last year’s post here) and a cocktail. This year was my 3rd year attending and I’m always impressed with the dessert creations. A theme is chosen each year and the pastry chefs start coming up with ideas based on Koko Black’s chocolate and dessert selection. This year’s theme was ‘new creations’ where the latest chocolates introduced at Koko Black are turned into something wicked.
We started off with the mocha truffle martini. This is the first year where non-drinkers were given a virgin option so I was really happy with that. The espresso ‘martini’ consisted of chilled espresso and sugar syrup served with a mocha truffle swizzle stick. The normal drink had vodka, creme de cacao and kahlua in it. When I drink coffee (mochas to be exact), it’s only in the mornings, so one sip of this espresso made me eye-poppingly (is that a word?) alert. Wowza! I only managed to drink a little less than half as it was too strong for me and I knew I’d be up all night. The mocha truffle stick was fun and gave me my first hit of chocolate for the night.
Course 1 – the honeycomb inclusion. This was based on the new leatherwood honey chocolate and consisted of Tasmanian leatherwood honey marshmallow, Madagascan chocolate mousse, honeycomb and chocolate shards. I really loved this simple dessert that used only two flavours in various textures. The marshmallow was divine and I enjoyed biting into the crunchy shards of honeycomb which helped break up the chocolate mousse. A fantastic mix. I admit that I was sad when I finished it all.
Another shot of the marshmallow sandwiched between two layers of mousse – delicious!
Course 2 – the sesame truffle. This looked impressive (and a similar structure to one of Gelato Messina’s cakes). It consisted of milk chocolate tahini mousse and a liquid sesame caramel centre, all encased in a milk chocolate shell, and surrounded by spiced almond dukkah. I loved opening this up and unravelling what lay inside. I’ve never had a sesame seed and chocolate combination before but I can confirm it tastes fantastic! The toasted sesame seeds added a depth of nutty flavour to the chocolate as well as crunchiness. The mousse itself is infused with sesame paste (tahini) to help bring out that nuttiness. The dukkah is a brilliant idea with both black and white sesame seeds as well as kind of crumble. It provided a bit of saltiness to help balance out the sweet chocolate.
Inside is the salted caramel centre which wasn’t too potent and sweet. I think the addition of sesame balanced it out quite well.
Course 3 – the chocolate cherry royale (launched about 4 months ago). This consisted of sour cherry soufflé, milk chocolate ice cream (on the spoon), butter shortbread and morello cherry jelly all topped with freeze dried cherries. The soufflé was amazingly airy and light but I’m not that fond of sour cherry. The chocolate covered marshmallow was a nice little surprise as was the chocolate coated popping candy.
|An airy and light soufflé|
A tea, light hot chocolate or iced chocolate/coffee is offered as part of the degustation. As I was feeling quite full by this stage, I chose the light hot chocolate over the iced chocolate (my favourite).
Course 4 – the caramel walnut escargot made up of caramel milk chocolate semi-freddo, cinnamon panna cotta, walnut crumble and a laminated pastry crisp. The ultra creamy semi-freddo wasn’t too sweet with a mix of both caramel and chocolate flavours. Even the caramel sauce on the plate wasn’t that sweet, but maybe I’d just had too much sugar by then? The pastry tasted like buttery baked goodness – I could’ve easily eaten more of it!
The tiny ball of panna cotta was cute and had a wonderful texture but didn’t add much value for me. I did enjoy the caramelised walnuts on the plate.
My friend’s gluten-free version of the escargot replaced the pastry with chocolate.
As mentioned above, the desserts that night were based on a selection of Koko Black’s chocolates and desserts which were displayed on the counter.
Service at Koko Black is attentive but unobtrusive with staff quietly providing a new set of cutlery and napkins for each course. Always a good night, Head Pastry Chef, Adam Tippins explains each dessert and its creation before it arrives at your table. He also goes around to each table to speak with guests which I think is a great way to learn more about the desserts. It makes it a more personable experience too. It takes about a week for him to prepare everything for each degustation (it’s held at the other capital cities around Australia too). At the end of the night, a goodie bag is provided so there’s more chocolate indulgences to look forward to after leaving 🙂
The Winter Evenings of Chocolate are held once a year and the cost is $80 per person. I’d recommend booking in next year if you’re a hardcore chocolate lover. Best to go for a stroll afterwards too 🙂
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