How much chocolate can I eat in one sitting?

Quite a lot it seems.

On Sunday, Monday and Tuesday nights, Fitzroy chocolatier Shocolate holds a chocolate appreciation session for chocolate lovers. Thanks to Scoopon I was able to sate my chocolate appetite for $35 rather than the usual $80 and I spent an hour tasting, drinking, sniffing and learning the art of chocolate appreciation.

On arrival, Damien the French chocolatier, greeted me with a glass of wine (though not for this pregnant lady). After a brief introduction about the origins and the processing of chocolate, we got down to business. Hot chocolate shots! From left to right – white chocolate flavoured with vanilla bean, milk chocolate with coconut (Malibu with the alcohol burned off) and dark chocolate. Being a dark chocolate lover, I found the first two options too sweet for me and definitely preferred the dark version – but others in my group discovered the opposite preference. Just goes to show that chocolate can make anyone happy!

Then a segment of light-as-air vanilla mousse layering chocolate and feuilletine (thin crispy flakes made from crepes). A delicate dessert that didn’t overwhelm with its sweetness.

While the others sampled a shot of French liquer and a chocolate cocktail, I was offered a snifter ofpink milkshake consisting of strawberries, raspberries and blackcurrants and laced with chocolate. You know what I liked about this drink the most? The straw was threaded through the curlew of Belgian chocolate. A small but neat detail.

Next up, a tasting plate of Shocolate‘s handmade chocolates – a very sweet passionfruit ganache truffle, dark chocolate enrobing a gorgeous pistachio and feuilletine centre, a moulded white chocolate of basil ganache, a chocolate with coconut ganache made from a mix of coconut powder and chocolate – and in the centre, half of a Vegemite chocolate! Not being a Vegemite fan I did not like this last offering, but I can see why the salty combination would work so well with the thin sweet chocolate coating.

The other thing to note is that Damien prides himself on using fresh ingredients in his chocolates and not essence – hence the basil chocolate (as well as the menthe chocolate) uses something like 60g of fresh basil or mint leaves to make about 350g of ganache. The freshness also means that the chocolates only have a shelf life of about 5 days. And Damien advised us to never, ever put chocolates in the fridge – the humidity affects the texture and flavour.

Then into some serious stuff – a little dab of 100% cocoa (ugh bitter) and a chaser of 67% single origin dark chocolate.

To end the night, we were each given a little box of chocolates (walnut marzipan and French tea) and an opportunity to buy any other products at 15% off. I could not go past the Shocolate praline sphere which I’ve written about before – basically a giant Ferroro Rocher with crispy praline covering a hazelnut heart handrolled with roasted almonds and dark chocolate ($4).

To hear more from Damien about the Chocolate Appreciation Nights, check out this video.

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