Now that I’m a sleep-deprived-up-at-dawn-don’t-stop-all-day-collapse-at-nine-member-of-the-buggy-brigade I don’t often have the energy to haul my arse up to London on an evening out, but when I received an invitation to Green & Black’s Christmas Supperclub, I knew I had to dust off my glad-rags and get myself there. For one, it’s Green & Black’s and the thought did occur to me that every course might be wholly made up of chocolate (an idea that made my inner child whoop and squeal with delight). Secondly, Green & Black’s events have in the past been fantastic (remember the 15:15 challenge?) and I definitely didn’t want to miss out on another great evening.
Well, straight off the bat, let me say, G&B’s definitely didn’t disappoint. They more than lived up to the previous evening of fun and frivolity, but this time offered sophistication and gastronomic delight. With aromas of Christmas and the beautiful sounds of a string duet mingling in the air, the evening started with Micah’s favourite champagne served with beautiful canapes of white chocolate discs topped with the most amazing caviar and little toasts with dark chocolate and sea salt. Along with the little glimpses of the adjacent dining room, these really whetted my appetite for what was to come. Once we had devoured all the canapes and perhaps a little too much of the champagne, the doors were flung open to reveal a beautiful long candlelit table which just looked the picture of Christmas (which was somewhat wrong in October, but got me all excited and festive all the same).
Upon finding my seat and discovering that I was sat next to the lovely MiMi (score!), I took my first look at the menu. Four courses of G&B’s chocolate inspired food created by their head of taste, Micah Carr-Hill. This was going to be good. However, the first course I was immediately somewhat apprehensive about. Inspired by Dark 85% Chocolate, it was simply described as Marmite Broth. Ack. I’m a massive “hate” person, to the point that if Sven has had even one twiglet within 5 hours, I can smell it on his breath and he is banished to a minimum distance of 3 feet. I can’t even open the jar to spread it on toast if I’m making toast for someone. Too too yucky. But when it came out looking pretty damn fine…
…I thought I better give it a go. And to be fair to Marmite, it was AMAZING. The dark chocolate dust around the rim melted as you sipped the broth (that’s if you could stop yourself from licking it off *cough* MiMi *cough*) creating a depth of flavour to the incredibly light broth that was simply stunning (for Marmite broth you understand). I liked it alot, which is nothing short of a miracle. I take my hat off to Micah for that one.
Next up, and inspired by G&B’s Hazelnut and G&B’s Almond bars, was Roasted Quail, Puy Lentils and Romesco sauce. Romesco is a vivid red Spanish sauce made with Hazelnuts and Almonds and red peppers. It went beautifully with the quail, and puy lentils are always a hit with me, especially when the winter months set it. Sadly my quail was ever so slightly overdone, but considering all 30 plates of quail were set down at almost the same moment I’m not surprised.
Before the cheeses, we were served an amuse bouche of creamy milk chocolate with salted potato powder. Before we tried them I joked that it looked like Smash, and funnily enough they did in fact have a “smashiness” about them. In a good way. In a very good way.
The cheeses were served with pickled sour cherries, inspired by G&B’s Cherry bar, and alongside Eccles cakes, inspired by their Hazelnut and Currant bar. The selection of cheeses (Comte, Stichelton, Kirkham’s Lancashire, & Ragstone) was excellent and I loved the pickled cherries.
But the Eccles cakes really were the star. Christmassy and delicious.
The final course was the dessert, inspired by G&B’s Milk, G&B’s Butterscotch, and G&B’s Ginger bars. Being a Green & Black’s event, I was looking forward to the dessert and had really high expectations. When the Rum and Raisin milk chocolate semi freddo (with caramalised gingercake crumbs) was put down in front of me, I instantly starting salivating despite the previous courses I had already heartily devoured. This, without a shadow of a doubt, was THE dish of the day. It was phenomenal, and apparently it’s included in Green & Black’s Cookbook, which (presuming you can recreate the splendour) is reason enough to buy it – believe me.
And with that the Green & Black’s Christmas supper club was over. I loved the incorporation of the different G&B’s flavour profiles into each course, which really gave the meal an interesting edge. And as luck would have it, as part of their Christmas gift range, Green & Black’s are giving you the power to do the same.
The Green & Black’s Tasting Collection (395g; RRP £10.99) contains twelve miniature bars of G&B’s signature flavours as well as tasting note cards which give recipe suggestions for both food and drinks, as well fantastic ideas for flavour combinations. It also includes a map showing the origins of the different ingredients that G&B’s source from around the world (nb. MiMi and I were sitting next to the chap whose job it is to check all the ingredients for defects and who basically travels around the world to each of the suppliers to taste the produce. JEALOUS).
For true G&B’s nuts, for whom 395g would simply not be enough grammage to satisfy their insatiable passion for chocolate, there is the Ultimate Collection (580g; RRP £14.99), which is basically a big box of bars in a variety of sizes and flavours, including the new Dark Hazelnut flavour. Oh err.
Planning a party with people you don’t know or have nothing in common with? Then why not purchase G&B’s “Conversations” collection (180g; RRP £5.49; also available in mint flavour)? Each box contains individually wrapped G&B’s chocs with “fun, conversation-sparking questions” printed on the wrapper, taking the hassle out of awkward party conversation.
And finally, always a perfect stocking filler the 12 miniature bar range has been extended to include a new Dark Collection (180g; RRP £5.49; also available in Classic and Milk selections).
Thanks to Green & Blacks for hosting such a wonderful event, and to the gals at 360 for inviting me. Thanks also to Micah and William for cooking up such a feast.