A Winter Evening of Chocolate at Koko Black, Claremont
After a busy few weeks moving house, Renay surprised me with tickets to Koko Black‘s annual dessert degustation evening, which promised us a “journey of discovery” with four deconstructed desserts, each based on a popular Koko Black truffle. This event sold out quickly – as were the other events held around the country – and tonight there was about 40 guests.
Each course was introduced throughout the evening by Executive Chocolatier Grant Inches and Head Pastry Chef Adam Tippins, who were very approachable and genuinely interested in our feedback.
The first course was based on the Aurelia Champagne Truffle, which is a white chocolate ganache infused with Marc de Champagne, a liqueur made from the skins of champagne grapes. The dessert started the evening on a very boozy note and featured a white Cream de Cacao and Marc de Champagne granita spritzed with sparkling white wine and served with a dark chocolate swizzle stick. This was amazingly smooth and refreshing, and it was clear that it was going to be a good night.
The second course was based on the Yuzu Truffle, which features a dark chocolate ganache infused with yuzu (a Japanese citrus fruit). This dessert was a chocolate choux pastry covered with shortbread crumbs, filled with chocolate creme and served with yuzu gel and a citron “fizz”. I’m a big fan of anything citrus and this was absolutely delicious, the yuzu gel was the definite highlight with a beautiful, intense flavour.
The third course celebrated Koko Black’s best selling truffle, the Liquid Salted Caramel Truffle, and was without a doubt the best dessert I have ever eaten. I heard this sentiment being echoed around the room, and Grant Inches told me that a prominent food writer had made the same comment in Melbourne.
This dessert featured liquid salted caramel encased within multiple layers of chocolate and chocolate mousse, with milk chocolate delicately sprayed on the outside. This ball of heaven was then delicately placed in chocolate soil and decorated with a shard of caramel. Simply amazing. Please make this available on Koko Black’s normal menu. On second thoughts, please don’t.
The fourth course was based on the Gianduja Truffle, which features gianduja (a smooth chocolate made with hazelnut paste) rolled in milk chocolate & caramelised hazelnuts – like a Ferrero Rocher on steroids. The dessert was a chocolate fondant with a gooey gianduja centre, a truffle on top and some milk chocolate cream around the outside. As you can see, this was perfectly cooked.
Executive Chocolatier Grant Inches puts the finishing touches on the fifth course.
Most people were fairly full by the fifth course, thankfully it was a light caramelised pear and white chocolate panna cotta with pear crisps, chocolate madeleines and truffle honey gel – adding some “real” truffle to end the evening. This dessert paid tribute to Koko Black’s white truffle, and was my least favourite course but that was probably due to me being rather full.
The service was outstanding all night, with the waitstaff appearing to genuinely enjoy being there. Each course was served promptly and met with a fresh serviette and cutlery, as well as a check to make sure we were enjoying ourselves. On leaving, each guest was presented with a gift bag containing a bag of milk chocolate roasted almonds and a box of six truffles to savour at a later date.
At $80 each, this wasn’t a cheap event so our expectations were high, and thankfully, we weren’t disappointed. If by some chance you haven’t been to Koko Black, you really should pay them a visit.