Chocolate Sommelier :: Amber Restaurant, Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong

C’mon, you knew it was going to happen. Some trends, copy-cats and sequels should just never happen, but sometimes they are the perfect evolution. (Case in point, “Live Free or Die Hard” was even better than the original.)

A fine dining establishment provides expert sommeliers to help educate, entice and guide us through often unknown territories. First there were wine sommeliers, next cheese sommeliers (often referred to as Affineurs) and a few times I’ve even had a lavish silver cart wheeled up to me with me with my “water sommelier” offering his pairing suggestions for my meal.

So, hiring a Chocolate Sommelier is a natural! When you’ve risen above arguing the merits of milk chocolate vs. bittersweet, and let no less than 85% cocoa pass your lips although you really prefer 95%, or words like “single origin, varietal, & estate grown,” creep into not only your wine but chocolate vocabulary, than you’ll want the services of a trained C.S.

“There has been a growing interest and demand for fine chocolate from around the world. Food connoisseurs are as particular in their choice of chocolates as they are with their choice of wine,â€? says Richard Ekkebus, the award-winning Landmark Mandarin Hotel’s Executive Chef. “People usually judge the quality of chocolate by its cocoa content, but we have learnt that it is in fact the soil and climate where the cocoa bean grows that creates the real taste difference, regardless of cocoa content.”

The role of Chocolate Sommelier, the ‘Ambassador of Chocolate’, is to not only enhances our menu selection, but also presents a great opportunity for guests to increase their understanding of this delicacy. The sommelier’s trained palette in the art of wine recognition and rigorous education in the smallest minutiae of wine knowledge makes him the perfect candidate for this position. Guests can now enjoy delicious cocoa drinks by combining different textures and complementary flavours from a variety of the world’s finest chocolates.

Amber’s selection includes Tanzanie from Africa at 75% cocoa; San Domingue from Dominican Republic at 70% cocoa; Manjari from Madagascar at 64% cocoa and white Valrhona Ivoire chocolate at 35% cocoa. Each of these delectable cocoa beverages can be custom blended with guests’ choice of exotic flavours, such as pink pepper corn and chilli; ginger, bay leaf, star anise and cinnamon; raspberry, coconut or simply a dash of whipped cream.

Website: Vagablond’s Token Redhead.

Posted by Janice Nieder on July 11, 2007 in Food, Travel

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