TORONTO — There’s more to chocolate than just being a dessert ingredient. That was the premise of a recent dinner staged by Cacao Barry on March 6, at one of Toronto’s newest restaurants, La Banane — a French restaurant on Ossington owned by Chef Brandon Olsen (CXBO, Bar Isabel, The Black Hoof) and King Street Food Company (Buca, Jacobs & Co. and Jamie’s Italian).
The chocolate company invited 20 of the city’s chefs to take part in a dinner that featured an exclusive menu highlighting chocolate as one of its ingredients for each of the three courses.
Billed as the “Flavour Dinner’, the evening took place in La Banane’s front room, which was outfitted in shades of green, with plush settees and library lights.
The evening started with a cocktail prepared by mixologist Chris Weaver featuring Goslings Rum, Briolet White Chocolate Liquor and Green Chartreuse.
But it was the secret ingredient chef Brandon Olsen had paired with Cacao Barry chocolates for this challenging menu. Two of the canapés that came out of the kitchen included an Alunga milk Chocolate Muchroom Foie Gras Vol au Vent, Chervil and a Foie Fat Poached Lobster with Zéphyr white chocolate Crème fraîche, tarragon.
The Foie Gras paired with Cacao Barry chocolates menu was based on an experience that was actually initiated 175 years ago with a Scottish man named Charles Barry who started a quest for extraordinary chocolate flavours.
The menu highlighted different forms that foie gras could take, starting with its most traditional serving, the Foie Mi Cuit with an Extra Brute Cocoa Brioche, a poached apple and fennel as seasoning paired with a Domaine d’Henri, “Saint Pierre” Chablis, France 2014.
The cocoa in the Brioche elevated the taste of the Foie Gras and the poached apple added a fresh dimension to the entire dish. The first dish promised an interesting flavour journey.
The entrée featured Duck Breast with Saint Domingue Origin chocolate 70 per cent cocoa, cured Foie and endive accompanied by a Château des Jacques Morgon, France 2010.
The dinner was capped by a Hazelnut Banana Cake with cocoa nibs and an Alto el Sol Plantation chocolate and Foie Gras mousse, complemented by a White Stout, Blookd Brothers “Guilty Remnant” from Toronto.