As I get older I notice changes in myself. My tastes continue to evolve. For example, I used to detest avocado but I quite like it now, especially in the form of fresh guacamole. And although I know I’ll always be a savoury tooth, lately my sweet tooth has been making her mark.
The latent chocoholic in me has recently been awakened, thanks to Koko Black (is it “thanks” or “all Koko Black’s fault”? I can’t decide! ;)). I attended their official launch party recently with Jac and surprised myself with how much chocolate I consumed. In fact, I was amazed that I out-chocolated Jac, who usually has the far sweeter tooth. At the end of this session of chocolatey indulgence, we drove home from Claremont and Jac even admitted feeling a little ill from too much chocolate; I felt a little gluggy (being mildly lactose intolerant) but overall I felt good and happy and ready for something savoury and salty: noodles or hot chips.
The Koko Black salon at Claremont Quarter was closed to the general public during the two-hour launch event. There was a jazz trio playing in the corner. We were warmly welcomed and given a glass of bubbly. We sat with fellow blogger Grendel next to the jazz band. Then out came the chocolate… lots and lots and lots of chocolate.
We shared a mini serving of the indulgently rich Belgian chocolate mousse.
We sipped on mini Belgian hot chocolates served in dainty little cups. It’s made from full cream milk, cream and 54% dark chocolate and tastes as rich and luxurious as it sounds.
From Koko Black’s ice creamery, milk chocolate ice cream garnished with chocolate flakes. The ice cream tasted just like milk chocolate but delightfully cold and creamy.
The iced chocolate included vanilla bean and chocolate ice cream, a generous sprinkling of chocolate shavings and rich chocolate sauce.
We also enjoyed savoury pancetta and cherry tomato petite tarts, freshly baked and hot from the oven.
We were in the Land of Chocolate. In between the ice cream, the hot and cold chocolate drinks, more savoury tarts and more champagne, waiters came bearing platters of beautiful handmade chocolates.
We shared and tried just about all the individual chocolates that came our way. At one point, Jac whispered in my ear: “We should’ve brought a zip-lock bag!” She’s a woman after my own heart! I’d been thinking exactly the same thing – but don’t worry, we’d never do such a thing! We shared and tried:
- caramelised coconut – almond praline blended with caramelised coconut
- single malt whiskey – milk ganache made with Melbourne’s Bakery Hill single malt whiskey
- stout caramel – I wrote about these in my previous Koko Black post, made with Little Creatures Single Batch Oatmeal Stout. This, and the truffle caramel made with local truffle oil and garnished with crushed black salt are my favourites.
- almond praline – with milk and white chocolate
- hazelnut praline
- raspberry ganache – French raspberry puree in ganache stamped with the Koko Black cacao bean logo – we tried both dark and milk varieties. This was Jac’s favourite.
By the time the chocolate shortcrust tarts came around we had almost hit chocolate coma.
I had seen Kim the head chocolatier in her kitchen less than half an hour ago arranging the chocolate tarts on the two-tiered plates.
I took a walk around the salon and took photos of the other delights on display. Here are the Alice lamingtons, filled with fresh cream and sour cherry jam.
Individual serves of vanilla pannacotta, each topped with a layer of shiny strawberry jelly.
You can buy individual chocolates or choose an empty chocolate gift box and fill it your own assortment from the chocolates on display.
I liked the look of the candied South Australian orange slices dipped in dark chocolate.
The dulce de leche, like faceted gems, milk chocolates filled with sweetened milk caramel.
Saffron chocolates, with saffron-infused white ganache on a base of puffed rice, garnished with tiny threads of saffron.
Leatherwood honey, made with Tasmanian honey blended with milk ganache.
Tikal chilli, dark ganache laced with hot chilli. Watch out for the dried chilli flakes and seeds!
Teddy bear pops, available in milk and dark chocolate.
Right now there is a great range of Easter-themed chocolates for sale, including hand-painted chocolate Easter bunnies, available in milk and dark chocolate, in small, medium and large sizes.
Displayed in the window, more Easter bunnies, chocolate chickens and shiny little Easter eggs.
We had a great time at the launch event. Jac’s decided Koko Black chocolate is her new chocolate of choice. Looks like we’ll have to come out to Claremont more often. A Belgian hot chocolates in winter sounds good to me!
Besides my evolving food tastes, I’ve noticed that I am slowly emerging from my shell. I will always be quite a private person and am naturally not a social butterfly – I feel more like the clumsy, stumbling black beetle in the corner. My colleagues who have seen me in my element delivering presentations to rooms full of people at work find it hard to believe that I usually feel awkward at social events. Lately though, despite the dorky awkwardness I feel, I’ve been getting out more, attending events, meeting more people and, dare I say, enjoying it. I recently went along to a Twitter meetup at Koko Black. I’d been “talking” with these four lovely ladies on Twitter and met them for the very first time over a chocolatey afternoon tea.
It was Saturday afternoon and the salon was very busy. We were lucky to get the last free table. After we’d placed our order, a waiter brought five napkins and five spoons to the table.
After much deliberation, we had ordered an Autumn Spoil for two (AU$24) and a Belgian Spoil for two (AU$24) to share between the five of us. The spoils were served in dainty little cups and dishes on blocks of wood. It didn’t look like it would be enough but we soon learned this was plenty for five. In fact, we didn’t finish it all.
The Belgian spoil and Autumn spoil are also available for one for AU$13.50 each. The serves for one include a hot chocolate or iced chocolate; the serves for two include two chocolate drinks. Combined with the drinks, the spoils are deceptively rich.
Chocolate ice cream, decorated with two pieces of chocolate lattice.
The rich Belgian chocolate mousse featured on both spoils.
On the Belgian spoil plate: ginger dark chocolate and a walnut chocolate molded to resemble a walnut on one side, with a real walnut on the other side. Also on the dish, walnut shortbread and chocolate cake.
On the Autumn spoil plate: pear sorbet garnished with caramelised walnuts and a quiff of Belgian chocolate mousse. I had been hanging out to try the pear sorbet ever since I heard about it at the Koko Black media preview event. It was sweet and refreshing and next time I’m going to get pear sorbet all to myself.
Also on the Autumn Spoil, stout caramel chocolate and a mystery chocolate that disappeared before my eyes :), a gingerbread cookie, and pear and cinnamon cake. The cake was wonderfully moist. Koko Black may be a chocolatier, but they have a special way with pears – both the pear sorbet and pear cake got rave reviews from us all.
S ordered a cappucino (AU$3.80), which at Koko Black is served like a flat white with chocolate flakes for you to MYO cappucino. There is way more chocolate than you’d probably need to top your coffee with, plenty to share with your chocoholic friends. Presumably if you added it all and stirred it through you might end up with a mocha.
I ordered the soy hot chocolate, which I really enjoyed. The strongest flavour was the rich chocolate rather than the soy, which was great.
The iced chocolates had an imposing presence on the table, served in large balloon glasses.
Thank you to my chocolate eating and drinking companions for their patience as I took photographs. Chocolate really brings people together! We laughed and talked… a lot about food, actually! We talked about seafood, curry, chocolate and macarons! K sheepishly confessed she was still recovering from a big Friday night and had arrived earlier and devoured hot chips from Grill’d next door just before our get-together – hot chips followed by chocolate, sorbet and cake sounded awesome to me – why didn’t I think of that?
We plan to all meet up again next month for more sweet indulgence. I think I will enjoy discovering my slow blooming sweet tooth and getting to know new friends. How have you changed as you’ve grown older?
Koko Black Claremont Salon
The Lane, Claremont Quarter
23 St Quentin Avenue (corner of St Quentin Ave and Bayview Terrace)
Telephone: (08) 9284 2049
Current Koko Black Perth menu (PDF 84KB)
Monday to Thursday 9.00am – 10.00pm
Friday 9.00am – 11.00pm
Saturday 9.00am – 11.00pm
Sunday 10.30am – 10.00pm
They don’t take bookings.
There are 7 Koko Black salons in Victoria and one in Canberra. See details at www.kokoblack.com
Koko Black chocolates and gift vouchers can be ordered online too.
The Food Pornographer attended the launch party as a guest of Koko Black.
See my previous post on the Koko Black media preview event.