Chocolate and cocktails at the Park Hyatt Chennai

The flower is tiny but the fruit that grows from it is one that is in great demand throughout the world. Theobroma cacao - the food of the gods - was so loved by Aztec king Montezuma that it seems he used to drink 50 goblets of it a day. In those days, chocolate, known as xocolatl (bitter water), was consumed in a rudimentary processed form.

The chocolate cooking workshop conducted at The Flying Elephant at Park Hyatt Chennai would have made king Montezuma crave for even more of it. Nibbling on the best of Belgian or French or Swiss chocolates is one thing but to use it to create a decadent dessert is taking chocolate to a whole new level.

Pastry chef Selvaraj had a few interesting recipes up his sleeve. On the counter beside him were bags of Callebaut buttons. A quick lesson on how to melt chocolate and then we started on the recipe for "Half cooked Chocolate Cake'. It's essentially chocolate sabayon baked in the tiniest and cutest of ceramic pots. Eight minutes later, we were all tucking into our samples. Lightly dusted with icing sugar, it had a deep chocolate flavour and a slight bitterness but was delicious with just the right amount of sweetness considering no sugar was used in the recipe.

 This was followed by the making of Grand Marnier truffles.

The ingredients for the truffle centres were quickly combined and spread out on parchment. After they had set, they were scooped up with a spoon, rolled in crispy flakes of feuilletine and then dipped in  milk chocolate. Oh those truffles...delectable bites of crunchiness with all those bumps that characterise hand rolled confections. Yum...yum...yummy!!

Next was the making of whiskey chocolate marquise. We learnt to make sablés - delicious little French shortbread biscuits. Also a chocolate marquise boozed up with some whisky that was piped like little sentinels over the top of each sablé.

The final dessert was Chocolate Excess Cake. A flourless recipe, it had eggs, sugar and lots of chocolate of course. It was then baked, chilled and topped with a layer of ganache.

Several options of plating it and pairings with fruit were then discussed.

Abhishek Shukla, beverage manager of The Dining Room had a couple of vodka based cocktails to show us. The first had apple juice as one of the ingredients and the combination of apple and chocolate was smooth, a perfect marriage between the two flavours.

The second was the unbeatable combination of chocolate and orange. He showed us how to flame the peel so as to get the essential oils to perfume the creamy drink. The non alcohol version of both cocktails were also demonstrated.

The session was thoroughly enjoyable and the talented chef gave us plenty of tips and tricks using chocolate. Park Hyatt Chennai will be conducting more such classes in the future too.


  1. Reading this was like being in the class all over again Sara! Beautifully written and the pictures talk to you too.


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