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  1. Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    1,140
    #1
    Did you know that nine out of 10 people like choco-late – and the tenth person who says he doesn’t like chocolate is probably a pathological liar?

    Like most certified chocoholics, I believe in the four basic food groups – that is, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, and chocolate truffles. Believe it (I do) or not, chocolate (specifically dark) has four times the antioxidants (catechins) found in green tea to protect against cancer and heart disease. A feel-good food (some say it’s cheaper than therapy), it’s got vitamins as well as potassium, sodium, iron, and fluorine. Vis-a-vis the bad rap it’s been getting as a fattening, nutritionless treat, researchers are now saying that chocolates can not only make life sweeter but longer, too.

    Thus, an invitation to a press preview of the Chocolate Fancy Buffet, ongoing at the Westin Cafe Plaza Too until Oct. 31, was a sweet excuse – as if we needed one – as any to indulge in this sinful pleasure.

    We knew we were headed for truffle – lots of it. Fact is, we thought we had died and gone to chocolate heaven. There on the buffet tables are all the chocolates you probably want to meet in heaven. Of course, like chocolate addict Deanna Troi of Star Trek: The Next Generation, I’ve never met a chocolate I didn’t like. There were the chocolate sugar-free desserts: chocolate almond clusters, chocolate crepes, white chocolate cheese cake, decaf ganache (with a dash of panache), tiramisu, chili chocolate creme brulee, chili chocolate souffle, strawberries dipped in chocolate, and chocolate profiteroles with raspberry. As if these were not enough, the chocolate desserts included chocolate almond slice, Baileys ganache mudpie, flourless chocolate cake, pistachio opera cake, bittersweet chocolate truffle, cherry black forest cake, Gjunduja almond cake, churros con chocolate, fried chocolate banana with langka.

    Chocolate flowed, too, from two fountains – a sugar-free chocolate fountain and a white chocolate fountain. Which one will your sweet tooth bless?

    This is one buffet where the dessert is the main event. So don’t forget to leave room for dessert – lots of it. But before indulging your sweet cravings, take a quick peek at the menu that varies daily. Monday is for assorted Chinese roasts and noodles. Yes, you can ask the chef to make you some mami with asado or choose from the oodles of noodle dishes. Tuesday is freestyle cooking day. This is an extension of Westin’s borderless cuisine promo, which was a quite a hit. It’s a "crabby" Wednesday with all the crabs you can lay your hands on – by far, the hotel’s hottest promo. On Thursday, you go to pot – hot pot, that is, because it’s shabu shabu day. It’s a beefy Friday with shawarma taking center stage. Saturday, Cafe Plaza Too goes Mongolian. And Sunday, if you smell something fishy, it could only be because of the bouillabaisse.

    Note that the choco buffet did not change the buffet price (P1,080++ weekday dinner except Sunday at P950++, P920++ Monday-Saturday, P1,200 Sunday brunch with sparkling wine), which means you’re getting a chocolate buffet plus a regular buffet for the price of one. Now, isn’t that sweet?

    More, at this choco feast, you can have your chocolate and eat it, too – and even make it, too. Chef Rolando Macatangay – call him Chef Mac – and his pastry team hold chocolate demonstrations Saturday and Sunday.

    Chef Mac has reaped sweet success in sugarcraft, sugar-free chocolates, other innovative chocolate creations, as well as wedding cakes. Call him Westin’s version of Food Network’s Jacques Torres. When he’s not weaving magic with chocolate, Chef Mac is a part-time head culinary coach at the Center for Culinary Arts in events like Chefs on Parade, Live Cake Decorating, etc. As if his hands aren’t already full, Chef Mac also teaches aspiring pastry chefs at the Southville International Hotel School. He’s certainly sharing his expertise and passion for chocolate to the Mac.

    Under the hands of experts, an assorted group of mediawomen, who have never held a spatula in their whole lives, learned how to make pralines, chocolate garnishes and, yes, those delightful molded chocolate figures like the well-loved Santa Claus. It was quite a stirring performance for these aspiring chocolatiers, who surrendered to the bittersweet experience of making chocolates.

    Chef Mac, with his delightful sense of humor, could very well have begun his class with this introduction: In the beginning, God created chocolate and said, ‘Let there be light (chocolate). And then He created the dark (chocolate), afterwhich He separated the light from the dark. And then He rested, but since then mankind has not rested from binging on chocolate.

    The first word Chef Mac’s class learns is "temper," which has nothing to do with one’s state of mind but everything to do with bringing chocolate to a suitable state to achieve the luster, proper melting properties, and stability of quality chocolate.

    First rule of thumb in chocolate making, according to Chef Mac: "Chocolate will not set properly and it won’t dry if you don’t temper it (or bring its temperature down from 60°C. Bitter-sweet dark chocolate should be tempered at 30-31°C, milk chocolate at 29-30°C, and white chocolate at 28-29°C. You can melt chocolate through dry heat, bain marie, warm – not boiling – water, or through the microwave."

    Watching Chef Mac temper and stir bowlfuls of chocolate with such skill and patience, we learned that making chocolate is no piece of cake. After several disastrous attempts at decorating clusters of chocolate clusters, we were convinced that chocolate is much better eaten than made. Good thing the sweet-natured Chef Mac did not lose his temper with his students.

    "I have not read any book on tempering chocolates," asserts Chef Mac, as he pours some chocolate into a cup of parchment paper and proceeds to decorate a plate. "Don’t be afraid to try and experiment with chocolate."

    Chef Mac happily shares the sweet news that Westin is putting up a chocolate factory – a la Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory – at the hotel lobby to herald the holiday season.

    Having had your fill of chocolate enough to last a lifetime, reward yourself with yet another treat: a chocolate body scrub at The Westin Sports Club and Spa. The chocolate does wonders for both the body and the spirit.

    Ah, life sure is sweeter with chocolate!

  2. Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    4,631
    #2
    Chocolate - never fails to give me that natural high in the middle of a stressful day.

    Did you know that nine out of 10 people like choco-late – and the tenth person who says he doesn’t like chocolate is probably a pathological liar?
    Not really. I've known at least one person who is actually allergic to chocolate.

  3. Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    4,866
    #3
    is this still on?

  4. Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    9,894
    #4
    mmm....i am sitting here right now with a box of Godiva :drool:

    di ako mamigay!!!

  5. Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    4,801
    #5
    how about a chocolate with the following ingredients:

    Naturally occurring mood enhancers include hare’s ear root, peony root, mint, matrimony vine fruit, horny goat weed, fleshy broomrape, raspberry fruit and licorice root.
    And oh, for women only.

    $50.00 for a box of 7 servings

  6. Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    1,465
    #6
    nakngteteng bigla akong napabili ng chocnut sa tapat ng office namin ah.

  7. Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    5,848
    #7
    napakain tuloy ako ng chocolate sarap ng snickers at hersheys..

  8. Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    3,231
    #8
    sarrraaaap! pwede pa rin ba pumunta?

    OT: may mabibilihan pa ba ng 'Bar None'? matagal ko nang hinahanap ito.

  9. Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    2,063
    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by M54 Powered
    mmm....i am sitting here right now with a box of Godiva :drool:

    di ako mamigay!!!
    wow.. imported.. sarap!

  10. Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    4,866
    #10
    Quote Originally Posted by dehadista
    sarrraaaap! pwede pa rin ba pumunta?

    OT: may mabibilihan pa ba ng 'Bar None'? matagal ko nang hinahanap ito.

    onga, is this still on ba? it'd be nice to check it out...

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The sweet, dark secrets of chocolate