My (Chocolate) Blue Heaven
Flipping through the newspaper last week, I squealed loudly when I stumbled upon an advertisement for a chocolate-tasting at Blue by Eric Ripert in the Ritz-Carlton. ‘Chocolate Blue’ was the creation of Le Bernadin executive pastry chef Michael Laiskonis. For four days, folks in Cayman had the opportunity to experience a three-course tasting (and pairing) menu featuring white, milk and dark chocolate.
There was no way I was going to miss this.
The first course featured caramelized white chocolate and pistachio terrine with lemon confit and raspberry pearls. It was paired with a 2009 Moscato d’Asti Vietti Piedmonte Italy. I’m going to be honest. We weren’t that impressed with the first course. Rachel and I went into this course a little cranky. Unable to secure a reservation before 9:30pm, we rolled up about 10 minutes early and were seated right away. There were four other people in our party and they were late. We’d have loved to have a had a glass of wine or a peek at the pre-set menu to pass the time, but those options weren’t made available to us. By the time we got our first course it was almost 10pm.
The dish was good, just not spectacular. Clark Kent was particularly fond of the pearls… molecular gastronomy flare. The pairing was nice too, giving the subtle white chocolate a higher ‘wow’ factor.
The show stopping dazzler of the evening was the second course simply titled ‘Egg.’ Milk Chocolate pots de creme, caramel foam, maple syrup and Cayman Sea Salt. It was a big hit all the way around the table, especially the first bite with that sea salt. Many sets of eyes rolled back in their heads and groans of pleasure escaped from mouths during this course. To our surprise, this dish was coupled with a beer: Trois Pistoles from the Unibroue Brewery in Chambly, Canada. Rachel, who I assure you is most definitely not a beer fan, was impressed by the pairing. As was her husband, who ended up having 2 more glasses.
The men at the table seemed to like the dark chocolate dish more than the ladies. ‘I’m totally down with the third course,’ said Clark Kent. It was a dark chocolate parfait with lime meringue, avocado puree and coconut sorbet. I went a little bonkers for the sorbet and Rachel was fond of the ‘floating bits of happiness’ dribbled around the parfait. Super-rich. Super-delicious. This dish was served with a 23 year old Ron Zazapa rum from Guatemala.
The Ritz is all about going above and beyond and it appears the hotel’s restaurants follow the same philosophy. Thinking we were all finished, I gasped a little when I came back from grabbing a bit of fresh air to a plate of four lovely little chocolates! From left to right: banana rum, salted caramel, hazelnut and Jamaican all spice. The hazelnut brought little tears of joy to my eyes and the rum chocolate got not one, but three exclamations of ‘whoa, banana!’
The ladies at the table were also treated with a little takeaway box with two super yummy fruit macarons. I sure hope Mr. Laiskonis comes back to Cayman soon 🙂
3 course tasting and pairing menu – $59 CI per person
All prices in CI. $1 CI = $1.20 US.