> Features

Peter Gordon and Paul A. Young Chocolate Dinner review

Peter Gordon and Paul A. Young Chocolate Dinner review

by Gemma Harrison Friday, July 17, 2015

As part of a month long collaboration, Peter Gordon of The Providores teamed up with chocolatier Paul A. Young to cook a chocolate-themed tasting menu. Gemma Harrison went along to find out how chocolate can work in savoury dishes as well as sweet.


Gemma is Marketing Manager at Great British Chefs. She can usually be found in a restaurant, at a food festival or cooking at home.

On Monday 13th July, fusion chef Peter Gordon and chocolatier Paul A.Young held a chocolate-themed dinner for 40 Great British Chefs ticket holders at The Providores and Tapa Room in London’s Marylebone. Peter and Paul have known each other for a number of years and have collaborated on similar projects in the past, so when given another opportunity to work together, they came up with not only a tasting menu, but also brunch dishes and cocktails inspired by some of the world’s finest chocolate. For this event, I was lucky enough to try their four course tasting menu, and I finished the evening with a new-found appreciation for chocolate. I was introduced to a variety of different chocolates from 0% - 100% (finding a few new favourite bars along the way) and learnt how chocolate can be used in a variety of different, and very unexpected, ways.

The dinner took over the whole of the first floor restaurant and we were welcomed with a spritz-style cocktail made from 70% Virunga chocolate, pomegranate, coriander and ginger. I’m not really a fan of chocolate cocktails – they can be so sickly sweet and cloying – but this was the perfect aperitif. Each sip evolved on the palate, with the pomegranate, coriander and ginger first, followed by just a hint of chocolate on the finish. I had no idea that a chocolate cocktail could be so refreshing, and could have happily drunk quite a few of them (they were non-alcoholic after all!), I only wish I’d asked for the recipe…

The Providores and Tapa Room
The Providores and Tapa Room
Original Beans 70% Virunga chocolate, pomegranate, coriander and ginger spritz
Original Beans 70% Virunga chocolate, pomegranate, coriander and ginger spritz

Once all the guests were seated, Peter and Paul introduced every course – giving insight into how each dish was conceived, telling us more about the different types of chocolate used, and about the matching wines that the dishes were paired with. A proud Kiwi, Peter has an excellent knowledge of New Zealand wines, and consequently The Providores has the largest New Zealand wine list in Europe. When the restaurant opened 14 years ago, they had just a few bottles, but wanted to change the perception of New Zealand wines in the UK. Over time, the UK became more au fait with the wines from his home country (there really is more to their wine industry than Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc) and he gradually reduced the number of ‘rest of the world’ wines from his list. Having previously worked in the wine industry, I loved the fact he was so passionate about wine and it was nice to see some producers I knew well, as well as making some new discoveries.

Our starter was baba ghanoush laced with Duffy’s 65% Dominican Republic chocolate, liquorice daikon, sesame cheesy wafer and tamarillo. Before each dish, Paul encouraged us to try the chocolate by itself and the Duffy’s 65% (made in Lincolnshire) had the texture of an Aero bar – it was without doubt my favourite chocolate of the night. The chocolate in the baba ghanoush accentuated the earthy flavour of the aubergine, with the tamarillo (or ‘tree tomato’ as it’s sometimes known) and daikon providing sharpness, and the wafer giving saltiness. All the elements were well-balanced, with the salt in the cheesy wafer working particularly well with the chocolate in the baba ghanoush.

The next course proved to be one of the most popular dishes of the night: octopus with green mango, green papaya, chilli, lime, crispy garlic and shallot, 100% Valrhona Madagascan chocolate and lime salted coconut. The octopus was boiled and then smoked, giving it an incredibly soft texture, if you think you don’t like octopus because it’s rubbery, then it hasn’t been cooked properly. The green papaya and green mango salad it was served with was a real highlight for me; similar in concept to a Thai som tam. Everyone was so surprised at how well the 100% Valrhona chocolate paired with the dish – a very bitter chocolate that makes your mouth water; it was finely grated, almost playing the role of seasoning.

 
 
Baba ghanoush with 65% Dominican Republic chocolate, liquorice daikon, sesame cheesy wafer and tamarillo
Baba ghanoush with 65% Dominican Republic chocolate, liquorice daikon, sesame cheesy wafer and tamarillo
Octopus with green mango, green papaya, chilli, lime, crispy garlic and shallot, 100% Valrhona Madagascan chocolate and lime salted coconut
Octopus with green mango, green papaya, chilli, lime, crispy garlic and shallot, 100% Valrhona Madagascan chocolate and lime salted coconut

The main course was seared beef onglet (or hanger steak) with a den miso glaze (a mixture of miso, sugar, sake and mirin). Served with buckwheat noodles, kohlrabi, shiitake mushrooms, tofu and a 64% Papua New Guinean chocolate teriyaki; it was very much paying homage to Japanese food. I utterly adored the beef – the umami-rich flavours of the glaze and teriyaki sauce were bold, yet still allowed the meat to shine – and I’ll be attempting to recreate something similar at home.

Now it was time for dessert, where Peter and Paul could have easily eased off on the creative elements of the dish, it’s not difficult to create a chocolate-based pudding that everyone will love. If anything though, making a chocolate dessert that’s new and different is actually harder, and here they really impressed. 0% Valrhona chocolate (Paul is trying to attain more respect for white chocolate and prefers to use the term 0%) was used in a strawberry mousse, with a 64% sauce, fresh strawberries and a biscuit made from 70% Virunga chocolate, pepita (pumpkin seeds) and sea salt. Essentially, it was summer on a plate – and for someone who dislikes white chocolate with a passion, this particular chocolate was a real revelation.

 
 
Seared den miso beef onglet, buckwheat, ginger, kohlrabi, shiitake, tofu, 64% Papua New Guinean chocolate teriyaki and coca nibs
Seared den miso beef onglet, buckwheat, ginger, kohlrabi, shiitake, tofu, 64% Papua New Guinean chocolate teriyaki and coca nibs
0% Valrhona chocolate strawberry mousse, 64% Valrhona chocolate sauce, strawberries, 70% Virunga chocolate, pink peppercorn, pepita and sea salt biscuit
0% Valrhona chocolate strawberry mousse, 64% Valrhona chocolate sauce, strawberries, 70% Virunga chocolate, pink peppercorn, pepita and sea salt biscuit

To round off the evening, Peter and Paul each served their own petits fours. From Peter there was a 70% Virunga with tamarind and pickled ginger, and from Paul a 65% Dominican Republic with coconut, soy and sesame. I couldn’t pick a favourite, but they were certainly a fitting end to a meal that took you on a journey of chocolate discovery – surprising to the last.

Throughout July 2015, Peter and Paul’s special dishes are available at The Providores and the petits fours will be on sale at all branches of Paul A. Young stores.

 
 
 

Want our most popular features delivered to your inbox?

Sign up to our newsletter now and we'll send you a hand-picked round-up of the best features and recipes from across Great British Chefs each week.

Thanks for subscribing

We'll only contact you around once per week with our best features and seasonal recipes. You can unsubscribe at any time.

 

Comments ()

Peter Gordon and Paul A. Young Chocolate Dinner review

 
Order by
...   ...

(Editing)

>

This comment was edited

Please enter text

Comments must be less than characters

This comment has been deleted

Report this comment

Please state your report in the space below

Please enter text

Reports must be less than 750 characters

loading

>

Please enter text

Comments must be less than characters

(Editing)

>

This comment was edited

Please enter text

Comments must be less than characters

This comment has been deleted

Report this comment

Please state your report in the space below

Please enter text

Reports must be less than 750 characters

loading

>

Please enter text

Comments must be less than characters

Be the first to leave a comment on this page...
...   ...