Chocolate Childhood Fantasies Reimagined at Tsogo Sun Cape Town
What must be every childhood dream was beautifully brought to life by the amazing chefs of the Tsogo Sun group, with a decadent five-course chocolate brunch. Yes, we had chocolate for breakfast, and in true motherly, I-told-you-so fashion, the morning of indulgence sent me to the dentist for a root canal the following day. But man alive was it worth it.
The brunch was hosted in a cold room dressed in all things Willy Wonka a to complement the upcoming five courses of chocolate delights.
Before the first course, we were educated by the executive chef of the Southern Sun Cape Sun and former chocolatier, Alfred Henry. This man is the real life embodiment of Willy Wonka and is a true chocolate master. He explained to us that chocolate, like any ingredient, must be treated with respect, nurtured in a certain way, kept at a specific temperature and worked with using specialised equipment.
Chef Henry explained to us that this is why he, and other master chocolatiers, only use couverture chocolate. Couverture chocolate, unlike compound chocolate, has a much higher percentage of cocoa butter. The benefit of using compound chocolate is that it can be melted without tempering and will set fine. Couverture chocolate, however, needs to be tempered to keep its shiny glossy texture, otherwise, you can get a white ashy set. Compound chocolate is easier to work with but doesn’t have the glossiness of couverture. And of course, the taste of couverture is much richer, thanks to the cocoa butter.
Once we were sufficiently clued up on all things chocolate, breakfast was served and was kicked off with a dish of chocolate Mayan yoghurt, cinnabun melba toast, chocolate & hazelnut crumble and fresh raspberries, a dish created by chef Alfred Henry. This was followed by toasted dark chocolate scone eggs Benedict, with white chocolate and orange Hollandaise, created by executive chef of Southern Sun The Cullinan, Henrico Grobbelaar. Following that was a chocolate seed loaf, orange and dill cured salmon, cream cheese and pickled radishes, created by Juan Neethling, of Southern Sun, The Waterfront. After that, slow cooked beef cheek, bitter chocolate, orange and pear, created by Jessica Sutcliffe of SunSquare, Cape Town Gardens. Just when we thought we couldn’t possibly have another bite, the decadent brunch was finished off with a yoghurt and cinnamon panna cotta egg, also created by Chef Alfred.
Remember that scene in Charlie and the Chocolate factory where Violet Beauregarde (the gum chewing brat) had to be rolled out of the factory? That was basically us. But just before we could decompress, we got our very own master class in tempering chocolate and chocolate cigar making. Having seen chef Alfred at work, and after many failed attempts by us, this is one art form you need to have much respect for.
As an Easter treat, Tsogo sun has been kind enough to share one of their chocolate masterpieces with us for Easter. If you are looking to wow friends and family this weekend you’ve come to the right place…
Chocolate Seed Loaf, Orange and Dill Cured Salmon, Cream Cheese and Pickled Radishes
by Chef Juan Neethling
Chocolate Seed Loaf
2,5 cups whole wheat flour
8 ml sunflower oil
8 ml salt
6 ml yeast
8 ml honey
1 whole egg
375 ml lukewarm water
10 g sunflower seeds
8 g pumpkin seeds
8 g sesame seeds
10 g cranberries
10 g currents
10 g dried pears
10 g dried apricots
100 g dark chocolate
Orange and Fennel Cured Salmon
1 kg Norwegian salmon
1 ripe orange
50 g fennel
100 g Salt
100 g Salt
Place all ingredients in large mixer, slowly start mixing on a low speed, adding water gradually until well combined. If too sticky add some flour.
Leave to rise by half, place in a well-greased bread tin and bake until golden brown at 180°C for approximately 45 min.
De-bone the salmon and trim away small bones on the side.
Mix salt, sugar and dill and zest of both lemon and orange and juice in a blender and blend till well combined.
Rub mixture on salmon, covering all surfaces, cover and leave to rest in the fridge for 24 hours, skin side up.
After 24 hours, take out, rinse and cover flesh side with chopped fennel.
Cut a slice of the chocolate seed loaf, rub lightly with olive oil and toast slightly.
Add thinly sliced cured salmon, micro herbs and orange infused cream cheese and sliced pickled cherry radishes.