The art of chocolate making
I don't know much about chocolate but one things for sure is that just like a glass of fine wine or a well aged spirit, in order to achieve exceptional quality, every step needs to have a high focus of detail, from the coco beans sourcing, all the way to the hand crafting process. So when I heard that the beautiful boutique hotel, St James Hotel and Club was offering a chocolate masterclass with one of the hottest chocolatiers in the name of Paul A. Young. I signed myself up and hoped to learn a few things about the art of chocolate making and drinks pairing.
|St James Hotel and Club|
|Paul A. Young masterclass|
We were guided to one of their elegant suites and gathered around a long table, the head chocolatier from Paul A. Young gave us a little background of the company before guiding us to a chocolate tasting section, from toasted coco beans to a few different styles of dark chocolates. One of the most important things I learned was perhaps the only ingredients needed to produce a fine chocolate is coco beans and sugar (add milk if it is a milk chocolate), anything extra is a sign of a science project to distort the taste or maintain a longer shelf life. Up next we were presented with a chocolate making lesson before getting our hands dirty making our very own chocolate truffles.
After a fun section of tasting and making chocolate, we were guided to their "Library" private dining room with a champagne to enjoy a three course chocolate themed lunch provided by the Michelin starred Seven Park Place's kitchen, each course came with a wine pairing and presented by their very knowledgeable and passionate sommelier. The saddle of Barbon fell venison with celeriac and chocolate was the highlight of the meal, the venison was so moist and tender and it was full of gamy and earthy richness, the sweet and bitter chocolate sauces was a wonderful match and I emptied the whole dish without one drop of sauce left on the plate.
|ragout of mushroom & onion with dark chocolate & bacon|
|saddle of Barbon fell venison with celeriac and chocolate|
The chocolate masterclass was such a fun and engaging experience, I really learned a great deal about chocolate and now have a better understanding if I was to pick something to match with a nice aged rum or cognac. The food was wonderful as I would expect from the reliable team from Seven Park Place, service was also some of the best in London. I was impressed by Paul A Young's chocolate so much that I ended up walking all the way from Mayfair to their Soho shop to purchase some of their products!
To check masterclass availability, please visit:
7-8 Park Pl, London SW1A 1LS