Small Tea’s flagship store in Coral Gables is designed by Osmose, with emphasis on creating a ‘modern’ sanctuary for tea instead of just a tea shop. The use of wood everywhere, the enveloping arch above the long seating area, all give a sense of warmth to the space. My favorite part was the display.
“Nine out of ten people like chocolate. The tenth person always lies.” – John Q. Tullius
As much as I am enjoying this post, it is actually painful at the same time. I admit, I am a chocoholic and don’t plan on recovering anytime soon.
But truth is, the love for Chocolate concept has become a hit over the past few years. We are used to the old fashioned chocolate boutiques where we go in, buy a box, and just leave. Usually as gift for occasions or people we love, sometimes just because we don’t have other ideas. However the “Chocolate Cafe” theme is becoming very popular. Reputable chocolate brands such as Godiva, Lindt, Alison Nelson’s Chocolate Bar, Max Brenner, and Jeff de Bruges all have opened fully fledged chocolate bars/cafes all over the world. They are focusing on chocolate themed interiors that are inviting and warm, with the main colors derived from the 3 chocolate flavors.
The “Chocolate Bar” concept has invaded the Arab countries as well. Alison Nelson’s Chocolate Bar opened branches in Dubai and Qatar, Kuwait have their own “Chocolate Bar” and have several branches. They have not expanded beyond Kuwait yet though. Their theme colors are brown and Fuchsia, an interesting combination of contrasts. I noticed in the Gulf region most people are not comfortable with dark and earthy colors, the Fuchsia in this case livens it up yet blends in the concept.
In Lebanon, a year ago “The Chocolate Lounge” opened in the Sodeco area and has a very interesting location and menu. Their main entrees have chocolate as part of their ingredients as well. That in addition to a large selection of desserts. Their Interior is very interesting, where they relied on square chocolate shapes and very soothing colors, design is very coherent as is the overall furniture layout.Also In Lebanon, “Chocolat Milano” opened in Downtown Beirut specializing Italian Ice cream and chocolates.
I still have a question though, why Nutella haven’t opened a cafe yet?
Since this post is about chocolate it is only natural that I add one of my favorite Chocolate Fondant Recipes. This recipe was given to me by the owner of one of Lebanon’s top food service companies.
Hot Fondants with Chocolate and Orange Glaze
5 oz caster sugar
11oz good quality dark chocolate
11 1/2 oz butter
3 oz plain flour
2-3 tbsp brandy (optional for those who don’t mind the alcohol)
Melt the butter and chocolate together in microwave or pan with simmering water (bain marie) In a bowl beat together the eggs, sugar, brandy. Add the hot melted chocolate and butter. Mix well. Whisk in sifted flour Line the moulds and bake for 15 min at 350 deg F Glaze 17 1/2 oz good quality dark chocolate chopped 4 fl oz water 4 oz caster sugar 1 1/2 fl oz liquid glucose 9 fl oz whipping cream juice of an orange zest of half an orange Put the cream, water, sugar & glucose to a pan. bring to boil. pour on to the chopped chocolate, orange juice and zest. mix thoroughly. To serve, turn out the puddings and pour over the chocolate and orange glaze, Decorate with orange peel.