Each year, Koko Black puts on a winter evening of chocolate indulgence – 5 courses of chocolate presented to the table with a special theme such as truffle. I’ve been the last three years and have absolutely loved it. It is something I look forward to every year. This year, the format was different. It was no longer a more formal sit down dinner, but more of a cocktail party – a chocolate alchemy party to be specific. Tickets were $60, a lot cheaper than previous years when it was $80 per person. When we arrived at the door, our names were checked off the list and we were allowed inside. Gone were the tables. There were a few chairs on the side but other than that, it was a stand up function for the 2 hour session.
In previous years, there were two sessions a night, over two nights. This year, there was only one session per night, over two nights. A friend and I booked into the Tuesday session and when we arrived, we found out that the Wednesday session had been cancelled and those that had booked into Wednesday had to come to the Tuesday session. I’m not sure why that session was cancelled, but it meant the chocolate alchemy night was overly packed with people. A lot more people than the allowable space could handle. On the plus side, I bumped into a few people that I knew – work colleagues and Michelle from HerCanberra.
There were a few roving waiters with platters of cocktails (which I later found out from Michelle were mocktails and I had missed out on them!), mini desserts and chocolates. The problem was they didn’t get far before people pounced to get their chocolate fix which meant there was a long wait. An introductory speech was given where we found out the night’s theme was Fire, Water, Wind and Earth. There were two ‘stations’ set up in the cafe where you had to line up for the next item.
The chocolate buns were a more savoury item and filled with sultanas. These were served warm, straight out of the oven. There was also a savoury leek and goats cheese tart (no chocolate) that was going around to break up the chocolate overload.
The Wind themed dessert consisted of chocolate with dry ice in a small beaker topped with a rubber stopper. The stopper had a small hole in it which was filled with a Koko Black chocolate freckle pop stick. Remove the pop stick to let out the whispers of smoke and you could smell the amazing chocolate while eating the chocolate freckle. My friend’s beaker had a bit too much dry ice in it and started hissing and bubbling over. We noticed the same thing happen to a few others. All good fun.
The Water themed dessert consisted of a chocolate mousse. I didn’t get to see the theatrics as there were too many people and heads in the way, but I did hear various pops and other noises as staff were demonstrating something.
The table for the fire themed dessert held three bunsen burners where we got to toast marshmallows over the burner before dipping into hot liquid dark or milk chocolate. This was pretty cool and I really liked the marshmallows. However, the chocolate sauce dripped everywhere (I thought due to my uncoordinated self) but I noticed other people had the same problem.
In previous years, everyone received a drink – either a hot chocolate, iced chocolate or coffee. This year, there was no choice in drinks. But there was one person behind the coffee machine quickly pumping out Koko Black’s hot chocolate and serving it into miniature sized cups.
Overall, I didn’t like the whole cocktail party style night. I much prefer the sit down degustations of previous years. Having everyone at the cafe in the one session made it very cramped. Having no tables or chairs meant we had to hold everything (for 2 hours) and it was uncomfortable, especially for the more elderly in the crowd. I didn’t like having to queue for each of the four-themed desserts though I must say it wasn’t a long wait time. Chocolate would spill onto the floor with people trudging over it. I did love the new concept of the four elements and the more theatrical side of the desserts. We were all full in the end and left in sugar comas. Chef Adam Tippins provided the crowd with information on what the desserts were about and he clearly has a passion for making these creations. We gave our feedback at the end of the night and hopefully Koko Black can incorporate that into the sit down style nights. Bring them back please!
P.S. Apart from the annual winter indulgence nights, Koko Black have a great menu that changes seasonally. Earlier this year, I tried the delicious mango and vanilla ice cream spectacular from their Oasis Summer Menu. So good! Keen to go back and try out the Spring menu.
Value for money 6/10
FPJ score 19/30
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