Eight inspiring chocolate creations from restaurants around the world

Some dessert menus are worth travelling for. From an opulent golden orb to a decadent reworking of a thousand-year egg, here’s our pick of the world’s most iconic chocolate creations.

Published 18 Nov 2020, 08:58 GMT
BBR Signature Chocolate Glory at Bob Bob Ricard, London.

BBR Signature Chocolate Glory at Bob Bob Ricard, London. 

Photograph by Bob Bob Ricard

1. BBR Signature Chocolate Glory at Bob Bob Ricard, London

London’s Bob Bob Ricard is known for its luxurious Anglo-Russian menu and what the restaurant itself describes as an ‘eclectic clientele’. When it comes to dessert, the BBR Signature Chocolate Glory is arguably the pinnacle of the restaurant’s opulence. A regal golden orb — a Valrhona dark chocolate shell filled with hazelnut mousse and halal coffee marshmallow — is brought to the table with a jug of hot chocolate sauce that’s then poured slowly over the chocolate sphere to gently collapse it. £12. 

2. Chocolate Chess Pie at Four and Twenty Blackbirds, New York City

Rich, buttery and extremely sweet, chess pie has been a staple dessert in the American South for generations. In addition to the simple custard version, there are variations that involve buttermilk, lemon or nuts. Chocolate chess pie makes for a decadent dessert — one that goes perfectly with a generous splodge of whipped cream. Visit the Prospect Heights branch of this Brooklyn-based pie bakery and sit at the counter to enjoy a slice of smooth, rich, homemade chocolate chess pie, as taught to the South Dakotan owners by their grandmother. Whole pie: $42 (£32). 

3. Thousand Year Egg – Hazelnut Coffee Tart at Dang Wen Li by Dominique Ansel, Hong Kong

At the Hong Kong branch of his global bakery chain, French pastry chef Dominique Ansel has created a series of extraordinarily pretty pastries. His thousand-year egg is a sweet version of the savoury Chinese delicacy. Milk chocolate mousse and caramelised hazelnut crémeux are sandwiched between crumbly chocolate sablé biscuits, encasing an exposed ‘yolk’ of coffee and black sesame gélee. A delicate garnish of pink-hued white chocolate adds a whimsical touch. Small cake: HK$58 (£6). Large cake: HK$580 (£58). 

4. Profiteroles with chocolate sauce at Benoit Paris, Paris

Legendary chef Alain Ducasse is so passionate about chocolate, he decided to start making his own. Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse products are all crafted by a team of artisans in the French capital, in a workshop just a couple of miles from the one-Michelin-starred Benoit Paris. The chocolate is used for the hot sauce that’s drizzled over this sumptuous version of the classic French choux pastry, the profiterole. €14 (£13). 

5. Chocolate fondant at Harbourmaster Hotel, Aberaeron

Molten chocolate cake, lava cake, moelleux au chocolat: call it what you will. The act of cutting into this light, chocolatey sponge to release the hot, thick, oozy liquid chocolate within is an enduring delight for chocolate-lovers. At the boutique Harbourmaster Hotel in Aberaeron, Cardigan Bay, a first spoonful of chocolate sponge will release a slick of miso caramel, whose umami richness is offset by an accompanying scoop of salted caramel ice cream. £7.50. 

6. Chocolate Budino Tart at Bestia, Los Angeles

There’s a reason pastry chef Genevieve Gergis’s chocolate budino tart with salted caramel has remained on the seasonally changing menu at Bestia. Its sweetness and saltiness are balanced out by bittersweet chocolate from LA’s boutique chocolatier Bar au Chocolat, which produces small-batch bars made with just two ingredients: sugar and cacao. Beautiful to behold, this is a complex and irresistible dessert that’s rightfully earned itself cult status. $14 (£11). 

7. Oaxacan chocolate tamale at Quintonil, Mexico City

Chef Jorge Vallejo’s chocolate tamale is based on the traditional Mesoamerican dish in which maize dough is steamed in a banana leaf — as is traditional in Oaxaca. Accompanied by a cream flavoured with vanilla from Papantla, a city in the heart of Mexico’s vanilla-growing region, the tamale also comes with cacao ice cream and champurrado, a warm, thick, corn-based chocolate drink. 180 pesos (£6). 

8. Benne & Chocolate Chip Cookie at Ikoyi, London

A US staple, the chocolate chip cookie is given a delightfully savoury twist at Michelin-starred Ikoyi restaurant, just off London’s Piccadilly Circus. Chef Jeremy Chan’s version is made with benne — the West African name for sesame seed — as well as 66% dark chocolate sourced from fine food specialist Wild Harvest, and a dash of white miso. The clever fusion of umami flavours make for one extremely moreish dessert. £5. 

Published in Issue 10 (winter 2020) of National Geographic Traveller Food

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