I knew I was in trouble when I saw all the glasses.
“Une soiree of la luxure and sinful indulgence. Experience a 6-course guided tasting dinner of sweet and savoury pleasures: 3 savoury courses and 3 Valrhona Chocolat dessert courses paired with the finest Champagnes, The Macallan & Highland Park Scotches, Canadian wines, followed by Courvoisier Cognacs as digestifs.”
We arrived last night, queued with the rest of the guests and were immediately handed a glass of Champagne Gatinois Grand Cru. We were brought to our table which was covered in glasses…eight wine glasses, eight whisky glasses, four water glasses and four champagne flutes. It was obvious what kind of evening we were facing. We settled in and prepared ourselves for the theme of the night: the seven deadly sins.
- Wrath was a shot of 60% dark Valrhona sipping chocolate paired with two scotches: 15-year-old Highland Park and 12-year-old Macallan. I like Highland Park, I love Macallan and I lurve dark chocolate…but my god, I never knew how well they went to together. A bit of chocolate on the tongue followed by whisky and zowie. I had a new hobby. An amuse bouche came out too…can’t remember it exactly, I think it was avocado and citrus on a crispy something or other. Good. As Nellie put it, our bouches were amoosed.
- Envy was the best food course of the night: Japanese scallops in a white chocolate hollandaise sauce. We all loved it. I don’t even really like scallops. Paired with a 2006 Riesling from Alsace, enough of it to drown a small child.
- Gluttony was subtitled “duck-duck-booze”, and aptly so: there was duck leg confit (yum!) with a chocolate puff pasty (meh) and slices of deck breast in a dark chocolate and chili glaze (YUM!). Still working our way through the Riesling, obviously.
- Sloth consisted of a roasted filet mignon in a chocolate port reduction paired with a 2006 Penley Estates merlot. From here on out the savoury was over, and it was all sweet.
- Pride was something pretty unusual: a chocolate “soda” float. Basically drinking chocolate mixed with soda water, from what I could tell. I didn’t love it but I thought it was interesting. Everyone else was less than impressed.
- Greed consisted of two parts: a small serving of light chocolate mousse, and a dark chocolate & sweet red beet cake. I loved them both, but Nellie didn’t care for the beet cake at all. At this point we were getting pretty full, and the rich food & booze was starting to weigh on us.
- The final course, Lust, was just too much. Three warm chocolate truffles apiece, 70% ganache and coated in coconut, sitting in a (rather icky) pool of passionfruit bubble tea sauce. We each had one, and it was quite good. The Sof noticed that the menu described the truffles as “flamed with Courvoisier VSOP Cognac” and we wondered what that meant, right up until the server showed up with a bottle and a lighter. They might’ve rehearsed this part a little more as the poor thing was unable to light our truffles in most cases, instead soaking our truffles through with Cognac. When I tried it…well, it wasn’t the most pleasant experience. I was glad she’d left my third truffle unscathed so that I could enjoy it, but the whole affair was so rich — as was the glass of Courvoisier paired with the truffles and the shot of port to send us off — that we all felt done in.
All in all it was a very enjoyable evening, and a pretty good value in the end: three excellent meat dishes, wine, scotch, champagne, cognac and a formidable amount of chocolate for $125 including tax and tip. Not bad at all. A little much for a Monday night, maybe, especially for a lad with an 8:30 meeting, but there you go. I suspect, cardinal theme notwithstanding, that they could have scaled it back to five courses (dropping the soda and the fiery chocolate boozeballs) and hit the mark perfectly. Maybe next year.