The Chocolate Buffet at The Peninsula Manila begins at 9:00 this evening but at 8:30 I’m already jockeying for a good vantage point from which to take photos. Only a few plates carrying their precious brown cargo are set down at this point and the sous chef is busy constructing what appears to be a most elaborate “staircase” of blocks (huge!) blocks of white, dark, and milk chocolate upon which the Pen’s famous truffles and pralines are methodically positioned. For a moment, I wish that my camera is a butcher’s knife so that I can hack at the chocolate like a crazed chocoholic.
As I angle for a shot, adjusting my lens, the sous chef stops what he’s doing. “Ma’am, please.” His narrow face displays the slightest hint of irritation. “We need to finish setting up.” I hastily apologize and with my tail, er, camera between my legs, I skulk back to the table.
I’ve truly missed this chocolate buffet that the Pen used to hold almost yearly. There was a brief gap in between years, but now it’s back. This year, the hotel’s Executive Chef, Adam Mathis, tells me that he’s pleased to offer confections made with Felchlin (pronounced FELK-lin) chocolate, one of the oldest privately-owned chocolate companies in Switzerland. The company uses only first choice Grand Cru cocoa beans that are processed and conched for up to 72 hours. “It’s really one of the best chocolates in the world,” Chef Adam says excitedly. “It’s got such good flavor.”
I pop a truffle into my mouth ”“ its flavor is light and clean and lingers pleasantly on the tongue — and then I march over to the now-finished chocolate masterpieces glittering in their glory. I lose myself in the focus and click of my camera’s shutter. Then my mouth starts watering mercilessly: time to trade in the camera for chocolates. No contest there.
Of course the truffles and pralines are a revelation, each delicate orb infused with fruity and floral notes that explode with gentle bites. I indulge my inner child by nibbling on the cornflake balls enrobed in white chocolate, giggle at the chopsticks supporting an edible web of crisscrossing brown and white, and melt with every spoonful of the hazelnut pot de crÃ¨me that scintillates on the palate with twin echoes of chocolate and hazelnut. I’m not surprised to feel like I’m falling in love.
As I relax in my chair, giddy, with a goofy grin on my face, Chef Adam ambles over to check on how our party is doing. I don’t really listen until I overhear “… and we’ll be changing the chocolate buffet regularly to offer new confections and concoctions, especially as the holidays near.”
On cue, I get even more giddy and my grin gets goofier. Ahh, more chocolate to look forward to!
The Peninsula Manila Chocolate Buffet
Every Friday and Saturday until the end of December, 9pm-12 midnight.
P550++ for adults, inclusive of a complimentary cup of Peninsula coffee or tea.
P225++ for children 12 years old and younger .
P350++ for children 12 years old and younger: all the chocolates they can handle + a Spider Boy Float or milk shake of their choice
P850++ for Chocolate Buffet & Champagne
The Peninsula Manila
Corner of Ayala and Makati Avenues, Makati
For inquiries and table reservations: 887-2888, extensions 6757 and 6759 (The Lobby) or 6694 (Restaurant Reservations).