I was recently invited to attend another Scharffen Berger chocolate event. I’d so enjoyed the last one, of course I jumped at the opportunity to attend this one as well.
Passed hors d’oeuvres came around; mini egg rolls with a chocolate dipping sauce were definitely interesting.
I really wanted to try this appetizer – little lettuce cups with beef and fragrant rice – but one of the ingredients was coconut, to which I am allergic. Boo.
Eventually, it was time for us to all file into the kitchen for our hands-on cooking demo. I admit I was really excited to see what we’d be making; it’s a known fact that I don’t bake too well, so sweets and I in the kitchen don’t tend to be best of friends.
I brought my glass of wine with me to help get me through this… I knew they were webcasting the demo, and the friends I’d just made on the spot chose to stand front and center. (In fact, my bestest blog buddy snapped a shot of the webcast… of the back of my head, lol!) (Don’t get me wrong – I am extremely grateful that she did not post a photo of my face- either because she remembered my affinity towards not showing my entire face or otherwise!)
On the other hand, standing front and center meant we were right in front of our celebrity host, Elizabeth Falkner! Okay, honestly – and long time readers will realize this – I don’t watch Top Chef. I didn’t recognize Tom Colicchio at an event and actually was about to shove him out of the way (I said excuse me like 5 times and he just ignored me!) when he moved without acknowledging me, and I kind of really could care less about it (and most reality shows, well, really, all). It’s a shame because I’ve met a number of the former contestants or people related to the show and everyone’s been so nice, it’s practically embarrassing when I have to say, oh, I don’t actually know who you are… lol. So I don’t know Ms. Falkner’s role on the show (I think a judge?) but she was very cool and laidback.
Our station was tasked with making streusel and chocolate mousse for dessert.
Here’s a shot of Ms. Falkner explaining to Jennifer Perillo of In Jennie’s Kitchen how the streusel should look and feel. I had the good fortune of sharing a station with Jennifer (and other lovelies, Tina aka The Wandering Eater, Kathy of A Passion for Food, Olga aka Sassy Radish, and I know I am forgetting people, I am so sorry, please give a shout!), and the even greater fortune of being seated near Jennifer during the sit down portion of the program. I’ll get into why that was EVEN GREATER fortune… in another post 😉
Here is the streusel pre-baking and raking.
Ms. Falkner showing our station what’s what with the mousse as well.
Scooping the whipped cream into the mousse base…
FOLD! Fluff/lift and turn, fluff and turn, fold and turn… DO NOT STIR!!!
After we’d cleaned up our stations, Ms. Falkner came out from behind the giant kitchen counter to stand behind a smaller table, and fielded questions.
She had a very genuine, enthusiastic manner to her as she explained part of her creative process. Her way of explaining things was very accessible and I liked her attitude… much prefer this to the snobby “I’m on TV and you’re not” attitude some TV food personalities have.
Next was the sit-down dinner portion of the event – here’s the menu!
We started off with a shot of spiced pumpkin-coconut soup topped with cocoa-wattleseed creme and crispy bacon, alongside spinach and walnut salad with pears and cacao nib vinaigrette. I drank the soup without reading the menu and my tongue swelled up, but I’ve been allergic to things all my life enough to know when you should chill out and grin and bear it, and when you should call 911. Thankfully, this was the former, so I kept quiet about my discomfort (though I did Tweet about it). And the soup was yummy! and not that much! So there. A light kick of spiciness, creamy and yet the contrast of the crispy bacon… nice. The salad was tasty as well.
Our main course was mole-infused mango chicken sausage with lemongrass scened cacao nib rice pilaf. Though I didn’t taste any mango in the sausage, this dish was really delicious; the mole thick and rich without being cloying, and just right. Happy plate and happy belly… I need to hunt out a recipe for this because it was really yummy.
Finally, last but not least, the dessert we’d worked on!
Night Flights, designed by Ms. Falkner – I wish I could remember the exact components, but roughly – coconut pandan sorbet topped with chocolate mousse topped with streusel and sea salt. I wished there’d been a touch more sea salt – not to say it was too sweet, but I do lean towards the salty side – but overall, wow, the crunch from the streusel against the creaminess of everything else… amazing. (And yes, I had a lil bit more coconut, but it was just a little bit!) Pandan, by the way, completely amazing, I am still searching supermarkets casually for it… I don’t know what I’d do with it, but … gahhh, that fragrant smell is awesome.
Oh, my, before I forget: the whole point of the evening was to announce the kick-off of this year’s Chocolate Adventure Contest and the secret ingredients list! First place takes home $100,000!!! That is a LOT of money. Hmm actually THAT IS A LOT OF MONEY. I originally wasn’t going to enter but now I’m thinking maybe I should… huh. Hahaha.
In any case, once again, Scharffen Berger threw an awesome event with lots of delicious goodies. No one went home empty handed (unless they chose to, but who’s turning down free chocolate?) and everyone went home with satisfied bellies. Excellent times 🙂
Now go enter that competition and see if you can beat me 😉
PS This was a press event so clearly everything was complimentary… however I received no incentive nor compensation to post about the event, and am doing so of my own free will, mostly to show off everything I got to eat and that I got to meet Elizabeth Falkner, hah.