On Saturday evening, while in Chicago, I helped to host a local school benefit. The night was for "Chocolate Lovers" and I specifically designed a menu that included cocoa and chocolate in every course. To start, everyone sipped a chocolatini saddled with a handmade chocolate caramel. Then, I took everyone through a chocolate primer. I gave them the lowdown on chocolate from bean to bar while they looked at and tasted roasted beans and cocoa nibs. I also discussed the health benefits of cacao. Researchers are looking closely at benefits of the flavonoids and antioxidants in chocolate. We went through the menu and lots of wine:
- Arugula salad with bacon, goat cheese, and cocoa nibs
- Cocoa & chili spice rub steak sandwiches
- Lasagna Napoletana with port wine & chocolate sauce
To end the evening, everyone got a lesson in making ganache truffles. We had a DIY candymaking session and folks rolled their own truffles in cocoa powder, coconut and chopped almonds. What a great night it was. Please email me if you'd like to try any of my recipes.