As winter approaches, there’s never been more of a perfect excuse to tuck into exquisite desserts than now. Taking on another challenge – the art of cooking with chocolate – our resident amateur chef headed to Marsa Malaz Kempinski for some serious, over-the-top sweet treats.
There’s no doubt that as we head into cooler climes, an indulgent dessert sounds incredibly appealing. This month, the lovely pastry kitchen at Marsa Malaz Kempinski opened its doors to fulfill my curiosity of cooking with chocolate – and boy did I attempt the ultimate chocolate sensation. I got a behind-the-scenes look and first-hand insight with a master class with Executive Pastry Chef, Valeriu Petcu who guided and advised me through the intricate task of creating the yummiest desserts.
“Chef Valeriu is a renowned pastry chef who has worked in many other prominent establishments. He leads me to “the chocolate room” – and, to my pleasant surprise, there’s chocolate everywhere!”
This stellar hotel doesn’t mess around when it comes to treating its guests to the highest quality food, prepared by some of the best chefs in town. And off I went with my hat and gloves, ready to get stuck in! Chef Valeriu is a renowned pastry chef who has worked in many other prominent establishments. He leads me to “the chocolate room” – and, to my pleasant surprise, there’s chocolate everywhere! Numerous selections of topof- the-line, delicious chocolates are lined up to make up the most perfect display (the smell was out of this world too!). As Chef Valeriu explains the importance and origin of cacao, we take a plunge into the world of chocolate.
We begin to prepare a luscious chocolate raspberry with orange glacage of milk chocolate, I’m excited to learn not only superb techniques, but also, how to decorate and style a wonderful dessert with a Kempinski touch.
Chef Valeriu has, wonderfully, prepared the gelatin (glacage) and we place it in the microwave to warm it, slightly. Being the curious cook that I am, I ask the master of chocolate which cacao is best to work with. He says: “The best cacao would have to be from Mexico, Venezuela, South America and Africa, of course. We at the Marsa Malaz Kempinski, we deliver nothing but the best,” the connoisseur adds. Indeed, working with the best is truly a stamp and trademark of the Kempinski brand.
The glacage is ready to go and so is our cake. Chef Valeriu demonstrates techniques on how to decorate and add the glacage with style. We cover the cake and leave it to sit in the fridge for a few minutes.
We later add caramel nuts to the bottom of our cake – which we have already taken out – and we move onto the second step. Now, I get to work with real chocolate; first adding a couple of chocolate coins to a special machine that melts chocolate to your desired texture. Chef Valeriu explains that it’s all about the temperature and technique when it comes to the perfect finish. He not only shows me how to carry this out, but also, explains in detail the dense consistency we were looking for (which took us several minutes to get an adequate and delicious one).
I truly was new to cooking with chocolate so when Chef Valeriu brings out the stencils, I’m a little intimidated but very eager to give it a go. We create some remarkable dessert decorations that are unique to Kempinski. As we finish off the last touches, the team and I take the desserts to Café Murano (which you all must visit for a taste of these incredible sweet creations) and, happily, I close another chapter of Cucina De Badir, ticking off “chocolate workshop” from my list of cooking musts… hasta la próxima!
GO: Visit Café Murano at Marsa Malaz Kempinski to try the delicious desserts prepared daily by Chef Valeriu and his team. Call 4035 5011 for reservations and more information.