Valentine's Day is an important occasion for many people. They make reservations at expensive restaurants and rack their brains to come up with romantic gift ideas to give their beloved.
Whatever it is, chocolate is always an indispensable element of V-day. With its sweet fragrance, full-bodied taste and smooth texture, chocolate is a long-standing symbol of the special intimacy between lovers.
What's more, chocolate also has blue blood in its origin. It's said that a Spanish princess once sent cacao to Louis XIV as an engagement gift. Legendary and sweet, no wonder chocolate has caught on as the gift of love. Yet Valentine's Day chocolates ought to differ from ordinary ones. So here is a list of places where people can find quality and unique chocolates.
Scene a Cafe
People have a reason to expect delectable desserts from the five-star China World Hotel and they are not disappointed.
Scene a Cafe is in fact a buffet, and its dessert section will have chocoholics clamoring for its various chocolate creations.
Top the list is Chocolate Magma, a chocolate cake with a warm chocolate lava sauce inside. The seductive fragrance and sleek texture easily activates the taste buds on the tongue and the crispy flakes on the outside melt automatically in the diner's mouth.
The classic chocolate mousse here looks very attractive and tastes just as good with
its full chocolate flavor. The Chefs here all seem to be magicians, who know how to play with the flavors of fruits, chocolate, and creams and then create amazing desserts.
Scene a Cafe' also provides customized chocolate cakes which are created by the German pastry chef. All of the cake's ingredients are imported from France and the chocolate is from Switzerland.
Location: 2/F, China World Hotel, No.1 Jianguomen Waidajie, Chaoyang District
Suyuan (Crispy Garden)
With its wide selection of chocolate desserts, Suyuan can satisfy the cravings of chocolate die-hards, be it classic followers, alcohol lovers or people with diabetes.
Apart from the standard milk, dark and white chocolates, Suyuan also presents those with fillings that include Wuliangye, a brand of chinese rice wine, or whisky for those wanting an alcohol taste. The chefs here can also make sugar-free chocolates using Grand Cru Hacienda chocolate which is all natural and tastes half as sweet and half as bitter as most chocolates.
Location: Hall of Grand Hyatt Hotel, No.1, Dongchang'anjie, Dongcheng District
Tel: 010-85181234 ext. 6362
Shangri-la Hotel Gourmet
One thing makes Shangri-la Hotel Gourmet stand out from its peers is that after 6 pm, all take-away snacks are 50 percent off. Chocolates here are all made of top quality cacao along with other top ingredients. The chocolates here aren't just delicious to eat, but mesmerizing to the eye as well.
Desserts here are in large portions. French croissants are big and fluffy, covered in thin almond slices. Muffins are also much larger than other gourmets, some with a whiff of coffee flavor. Walnut coarse flour bread is a dense one, due to the addition of raisins.
Location: 1/F, Tower B, Shangri-la Hotel, No.33, Fuchenglu, Pudong Xinqu
Howard Johnson's Gourmet
Howard Johnson features Belgium chocolates. Different from typical chocolates, Howard Johnson's chocolates are more create blends in tastes. Chefs add flavors like cappuccino, caramel, green tea, hazel, fennel and even some hot chilies. The most popular one is the passion berry chocolate. This passion berry confiture is enclosed in a milk chocolate shell. When biting into it, the fruity filling oozes out, bringing a unique flavor to the tastebuds.
Location: Howard Johnson Hotel, No. 595, Jiujianglu, Huangpu District
(bbs.qianlong.com via China Daily January 25, 2008)