For My Valentine,
12 7 Foods To Fall In Love With: Name-forgetting hot chocolate (2nd of 12 7 parts)
Everything Iâ€™ve read about chocolate and what it can do to me is true. This place proves it.
Note: Note: I aim to finish off this list by Friday, Feb 12, 2010 because I also intend to celebrate Valentineâ€™s Day with my Valentine. (Yes, Iâ€™m a huge proponent of Feb 14).
So, 12 posts / 5 days = 2.4 posts/day. Okay, so I was out of my mind when I attempted to do 12 posts in 5 days. (whacking forehead) Iâ€™ve whittled it down to 7 posts in 5 days. The rest will follow next week.
One of my favorite quotes about chocolate goes thus: â€œAfter eating chocolate, you feel godlike, as though you can conquer enemies, lead armies, entice lovers.â€ That this quote is from esteemed American pastry chef Emily Luchetti is no mistake. As someone who works with chocolate, the woman knows her chocolate.
And apparently, I do too. After parrying with our peri-peri chicken at Oâ€™sonho, N and I walk our distended bellies to Maitre Chocolatier Boutique CafÃ©. A place that I feel has taken ages to complete construction simply because I drove by practically every week since I first saw its sign go up, I, ironically enough, havenâ€™t been here as often as Iâ€™d like.
But Iâ€™m here now and Iâ€™m starting to feel more than just a bit giddy sans ingesting any chocolate yet. N, whose eye for design and proportion as well as menu clarity sums up Maitre Chocolatier quite astutely: â€œItâ€™s a clean space with a fierce focus on what it does best â€“ chocolate.â€ Indeed, I can count the menu items on both hands, and there are only three non-chocolate dishes on the menu, disjointed savories for those allergic or averse to chocolate. Yes, there are people like that, one of whom I meet just last week. The look I give him after he casually mouths off, â€œIâ€™m not all that crazy about chocolate,â€ couldâ€™ve melted chocolate. The store is also cleverly done in various shades of chocolate â€“ white, milk, dark, with the paneling of the bar and the wall on one side mimicking squares of a chocolate bar.
The menu features chocolate desserts on one side such as this monthâ€™s featured Ferrero Hazelnut Crunch but the waitress tells me that it has mousse in it (ugh!), so I move on. Having become unnaturally fond of waffles and ice cream ever since I tasted Sebastianâ€™s Dessert For Breakfast, N and I zero in on the Immortal Desire (cover photo above; P235), chocolate and vanilla waffles surrounded by Nutella and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream alongside.
Stunning, absolutely stunning presentation this: precipices of dark and white waffles (that we actually smell while they were being cooked) cut on the bias and balanced on their sides -Â a different view depending on how the plate is turned. N and I have a field day snapping photos until I gently remind him, â€œQuickly, while itâ€™s still hot.â€ â€œBut what are we going to do, Lor?â€ N looks perplexed for some reason. â€œThereâ€™s only one each of the chocolate and vanilla.â€ Without a word, I rip apart half a waffle each from the chocolate and vanilla so weâ€™re left with two waffles that have one of each flavor. Then I take the single scoop of ice cream and smear it messily over both waffles. N and I grin at each other like two good friends hit by a good idea and then we take a bite of our respective waffles simultaneously.
Shortly thereafter, we simultaneously let out little moans:
â€œEeep, too good!â€
Then each of us begins to giggle uncontrollably. Giddy little children we are, complete with me tapping my boots on the floor.
Crispness of waffle with a moist center evidently â€œfresh-off-the-waffle-iron,â€ the Nutella floods my mouth, trailing a little line of brown on my lips as I pull the waffle away. All kinds of lascivious thoughts enter my head in that split second, all the filthy, little things that food makes me want to doâ€¦ er, never mind.
When we come up for air, N and I turn our attentions to the hot chocolates â€“ spicy hot chocolate (cover photo) for him, Nutella hot chocolate (both P150 each) for me. Served in cups with gracefully sloping handles, and large enough for a child to drown her fist in, N looks at me questioningly. â€œMine first?â€ â€œYup!â€ I reply excitedly. N lets me have the first sip â€“ probably because heâ€™s as polite as he is good-looking, but more likely because Iâ€™m greedy. A sip yields nothing but waves of hot cream â€“ not a bad thing but I want chocolate â€“ so I ditch the spoon and sip appreciatively. I pass the cup to N. One sip and his face carries a hint of wonder and a glint of mischievousness. â€œSpiiicyyy!â€ He draws out the word, the â€œ-cyâ€ turning into a â€œ-say!â€ Truly, a single slurp surrenders nothing but smoothness until the swallow when the spiciness suddenly turns on me and tickles the back of my throat. Definitely something to get oneâ€™s mojo going.
As for my Nutella hot chocolate, itâ€™s too good that I suddenly donâ€™t want to share any with N, sweetheart though that he is to me. Good thing heâ€™s quite wrapped up in his own beverage. Though itâ€™s a no-brainer that Nutella is good in anything, it takes on new dimension when it becomes the basis of a drink, and a hot one at that. Heat intensifies flavors and with the milk acting as transporter, all of Nutellaâ€™s nuances of chocolate and hazelnut fuse and flow as one powerfully potent elixir.
God have mercy on your Valentine.
Maitre Chocolatier Boutique CafÃ©
28 Jupiter St. corner Astra St., Bel-Air, Makati (beside RJ Bistro, Starbucks, and Whistlestop)
897.8559 / 896.2529
Mon – Thurs: 10:00 am – 11:00 pm
Fri – Sat: 10:00 am – 2:00 am
Closed on Sundays except on Feb. 14, 2010.