A chocolate dinner and wine pairing, it certainly seems decadent indeed. I still said yes and found myself going on a Friday night to the Providores & Tapa Room.
Up the narrow stairs I found myself walking where there was a queue for the services of the coat room. Free of Bags and coats, it was a sharp twist of the body to turn and walk into the dining area. The whole experience was really unique and Paul Young and Peter Gordon took time to explain each pairing while also taking turns to sit at the different tables and talk to the diners. They were all friendly and I had a great time chatting and learning about their views and experiences.
The dinner itself brought about some eye openers with some dishes working and some that were less successful. All your senses were engaged with the variety of smell, taste, textures and colours. As lighting was pretty dim, these were as best that I could do with taking pictures and just a brief description of each dish.
Cocoa Bean Aperitif
The cocoa bean aperitif consists of Sipsmiths vodka which had cocoa nibs soaked in them for 90 days and turned daily. Sipping on the vodka, the taste and perfume of the cocoa was evident. It felt rich and earthy without the taste being so.
I had to pick the most unusual offering of the breads which led me to the chilli and sweet corn. The heat of the chilli hits you sharply at the end while I could not taste any sweet corn.
Mast Brothers Chuao 70%
Grilled aubergine, tamarind caramel, grapefruit, green mango, coriander
2008 Seresin Estate, Reserve Chardonnay, Omaka Valley, Marlborough
Fresh and tangy.
Michel Cluizel 50% Mangaro milk chocolate
Smoked eel, sautéed salsify, toasted sourdough crumbs, date chipotle chilli purée
2007 Richardson, Pinot Noir, Cromwell Basin, Central Otago
Intense and silky comes to mind when tasting the chocolate.
Duffy Panama 72% Tierra Oscura, from Bocas Del Toro Island
Master-stock roast duck, prune sauce, wild mushrooms, porcini powder, broad beans
2006 Takatu, ‘Kawau Bay’, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec, Matakana, Auckland
This was dark, rich and earthy. Complex dish with a smooth-rich forest wood and slightly burnt taste.
Valrhona Venezuelan 64% (exclusive to Paul a. Young)
Crispy pork belly, crusted ox tongue, butternut coconut curry, pine nuts
2009 Dog Point, Chardonnay, Wairau Valley, Marlborough
The Valrhona has a slight sweetness to it and an acidity to the taste.
Akessons 75% Brazil - Fazenda Monte alegre
Braised beef cheek, roast caramelised quince, smoked chickpea panizza
2008 Man O’ War, ‘Dreadnought’, Syrah, Waiheke Island, Auckland
There was a wild finesse touch to this with the combination of the sweetness from the quince with its tofu-like texture.
Dessert using Original Beans Cru Virunga
Tart of malted Virunga chocolate and sea salted caramel, buffalo milk ice cream, sesame praline
Noval 10 year Old Tawny Port, Quinta do Noval, Douro
Never had buffalo milk ice cream before and this had a very clean taste to it which was refreshing.
With the chocolate tastings here, I couldn't wait to head to Chocolate Unwrapped where I found not only my new favourite salted caramel chocolate but a whole lot more too!