For My Valentine,
12 7 Foods To Fall In Love With: Name-forgetting hot chocolate (2nd of 12 7 parts)
Everything I’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 Valentine’s Day with my Valentine. (Yes, I’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) I’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 O’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, haven’t been here as often as I’d like.
But I’m here now and I’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€œIt’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€œI’m not all that crazy about chocolate,â€ could’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 month’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 Sebastian’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 it’s still hot.â€ â€œBut what are we going to do, Lor?â€ N looks perplexed for some reason. â€œThere’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 we’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 he’s as polite as he is good-looking, but more likely because I’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 one’s mojo going.
As for my Nutella hot chocolate, it’s too good that I suddenly don’t want to share any with N, sweetheart though that he is to me. Good thing he’s quite wrapped up in his own beverage. Though it’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 Nutella’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.