11 May 2008

Good Chocolate Loving

Just a couple of weeks ago, I attended a talk on Pho. In my quest for more food knowledge, I eagerly signed up for another talk on Chocolate (An Enlightened Age: Chocolate in the 18th Century), and managed to tempt 8 other friends and family along.

Vincent Bourdin, the regional pastry consultant of Valrhona, spoke about how chocolate moved across the seas, how it evolved from a drink into a food, and how chocolate had been deeply intertwined in societal changes.

It was rather amusing when he whipped out a long stick to point to parts of the map in question. Very old-school and somewhat sexy, especially with his thick, black-rimmed glasses and tres strong French accent.

Things started getting sweet when some hot chocolate was served. Chef Bourdin had used a recipe that he felt best reflected the way it was made in the 18th century, which meant infusing cinnamon, pepper, cloves and adding orange blossom water to melted chocolate and just a touch of sugar.

What resulted was a strong, spicy hot chocolate, not like anything I had ever tried before. If you can imagine the heady, earthy chai tea meeting and falling in love with deep, rich and slightly bitter hot chocolate, Chef Bourdin's version of hot chocolate would be their love child.

While my friends and family finished their portions down to the last drop, even going back for second servings after the talk, it wasn't popular with everyone. My neighbour hardly touched his and offered his share to me, which I regret not taking now.

These talks have been pretty fun, and at merely $10-$25 per session, it's really a steal especially because of the big names that have been pulled in to conduct these talks. It shouldn't be surprising then, that a couple of my friends and I have already signed up for an upcoming one where we'll be eating out way through Austrian desserts. Sounds like pure bliss!


Dave said...

Hey Daffy!

Did you know that Bourdin was the translator for Pierre Herme during the World Gourmet Summit. Apparently they are BFF!

Also wanted to thank you for the recommendation on Sage. I really enjoyed my meal there last Saturday. It was good but there were some hiccups. So I'm going there again tonight, but also to check out their new degustation menu.

I'll tell you all bout it. I also wanted to get your opinion on the vichyssoise plus some other cooking related questions. What is your email?


jy said...

Heys the seminar looked interesting, quite sad that I missed it! :(

Anonymous said...

Dave> Hi! Sorry to hear your meal didn't bowl you over. Hope the degustation menu was good for you? Haven't tried it myself. By the way, Nicolas only had a degustation menu when I visited it recently!

JY> Yes it was! There is an upcoming talk on Austrian desserts that you should really sign up for =)

faith said...

what a pity i missed this. how do i sign up for the austrian desserts talk? just the name itself spells excitement!

Anonymous said...

Hi Faith, you can register through the National Museum website, or simply drop by during office hours to purchase a ticket. Best to give them a call first to check if there are any available spaces! Good luck!

faith said...

*sobs* tickets are totally sold out. have fun attending this course! do tell me all about it when u get back. would love to meet u one day in person actually because u sound my age!

Anonymous said...

=) I'll be sure to blog about it. If 24 sounds about your age, then you're spot on! I'm sure we'll meet at one of these foodie talks.

mama bok said...

I would surely attend.. if i was in singapore.. and yes. it isn't ex at all. .which is quite surprising.. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Mama Bok! It has been a while! Yes, these talks are incredibly worth the money, especially for food-mad people like us. Hope your daughter is well and cute as ever!