Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Koko Black


When I told Saj and Es on the weekend that I still hadn't been to Koko Black, they exclaimed dramatically that they'd failed me both as a friend, and as a Melburnian. I'd heard similar glowing descriptions previously from other people, and had been meaning to see what all the fuss was about on our previous visit to Melbourne, but had never quite made it....until last night. Thanks Kuka for reminding me :) After I read your blog, which mentioned Koko Black opening one of its salons in Canberra, Kit and I decided to base our next dinner out around a trip to the esteemed Melbourne chocolatier. We thought we had a few venues to choose from, but store opening times quickly narrowed down our decision for us, and we made the trip up to Lygon St for dinner. When in Rome, do as the Romans do...and when on Lygon St, do as the Romans do, and eat Italian (it still boggles me how Thai restaurants do well on this patch of Lygon St...who goes to Lygon to eat Thai?!)

We had dinner at Il Gambero, which was mostly a forgettable affair- reasonably priced, but really no differnent to any other place along the strip...and because we were specifically trying to avoid the hawkers we didn't even get a free bottle of wine. Then again, dinner was really just an excuse for us to feel less guilty about eating chocolate, so when our waiter offered us dessert, we politely made our excuses and quickly got up and made our way to the real destination of the evening. We decided on the Belgian Spoil special (which admittedly, sounds like it should be on the menu in a massage parlour, but still...) which consisted of two Koko Black hot chocolates, a shortbread, chocolate mousse, chocolate ice-cream, chocolate cake and 2 handmade Belgian chocolates to share. While we were waiting for our order I got up to have a look at their merchandise cabinet, and noticed their "take home" hot chocolate pack, which explains their inhouse recipe of chocolate, full-cream milk, and cream all steamed together to perfection. Even knowing that in advance, I was only barely prepared for the rich, creamy hot chocolate which waited for me on my return. The ice-cream was to die for, and the handmade chocolates were so good, I ended up buying 16 more to take home (I'll give you the low down as I go through them). Even Kit, who moaned about being "chocolated out" before he could take more than a sip of his drink still managed to finish it all...though even the mention of chocolate for the next few hours made him look a bit squeamish. All in all...DEFINITELY worth the wait, and we'll definitely be going back, if only to try the chocolate mousse martini which we saw devoured on the table next to ours, and to make our way through the wide range of handmade chocolates to try at home.

Chocolate Checklist: all gone!

Manon
Status ELIMINATED
Verdict
Wow! Creamy, decadent and delicious. Delicate and fluffy hazelnut mousse, topped with a whole hazelnut and coated in a crisp white chocolate shell. Yum!

Orange Segment
Status ELIMINATED
Verdict
Jaffa, the way it was meant to be. Real orange, covered in perfect dark chocolate. Tart and sweet, firm but yielding... I want another one already!

Chili Truffle
Status ELIMINATED
Verdict
I didn't know what to expect with this one- a full mouth-warming heat, or a sharp chili hit? Neither were true, but nevertheless I wasn't disappointed. A crisp crackly shell, dusted in cocoa, and filled with a smooth ganache with just a soft chili taste. The sublety in this one actually works though, and leaves a mild lingering heat at the back of the mouth to remind you of the taste for minutes after

74% Couverture Ganache
Status ELIMINATED
Verdict
The coating and ganache in this chocolate seem to meld together perfectly, and its hard to know where the coating ends and the filling begins. Rich, dense, and dark..just the way I like 'em.

Dark Java
Status ELIMINATED
Verdict
Hmmm...not bad. By itself its a really good chocolate, but compared to some of the others we've tried, it doesn't really stand out. As always, the texture is great, and the coating if beautiful, but the actual Java part is lacking

Cinnamon Ganache
Status ELIMINATED
Verdict
When people have told me about Koko Black, THIS is the chocolate they've always mentioned, and it certainly lives up to the hype. Spicy and exotic, covered in a delicate chocolate frame. It tastes EXACTLY like my homemade chocolate pots...if they were covered in another layer of chocolate

Dark Chocolate Chai
Status ELIMINATED
Verdict
I'm sure if I tried this before I tried the others I would have loved it, but as it was I left decidedly underwhelmed (note to Kuka: can you ever just be whelmed?) Don't get me wrong, its a VERY good chocolate- great texture and taste, but I had very high hopes of the chai-ness, and this was a bit too subtle for my liking

Caramel Ganache Swirl
Status ELIMINATED
Verdict
A Caramello Koala for grown-ups. Dense but still fluffy- a cross somewhere between ganache and mousse, the caramel centre is a perfect mix of sweetness and depth, with the usual delicious chocolate coating to bring it all together. This one is definitely up there in the favourites list

FINAL STANDINGS

#8: Dark Chai
#7: Dark Java
#6: 74% Couverture Ganache
#5: Chili Truffle
#4: Manon

in the event that our winner is unable to fulfill its duties, our runners-up will take the crown. They are....

#3: Orange Segment
#2: Caramel Ganache Swirl



and the winner is.....


#1: Cinnamon Ganache!
A worthy champion if ever there was one, I'm sure you'll agree

2 comments:

Kuka said...

Aaaaah I can't wait for our KokoBlack to open!!!!!
(I think it will be in April?)
I have only browsed in Melbourne, at the one in the Roayl Arcade across from the babushkas and up a little from sugar (which I believe is the big sister of KB?)
Oooh, you gotta watch them through the window doing their words in lollies magic ahhhhh!
I can't wait to hear how you like the chilli truffle - i think it will be my first when KB opens here.
It reminds me of when Kit worked in the confect section at DJs and wooed you with those lovely little chocs!! mmmmmmm

Kuka said...

hmmmm, i think you can in Europe?