Perfect gift experience for a Chocolate Lover? (Recc. classes, tastings,etc?)
My Brother looooves chocolate, and so do I, and okay many do. Anyway I was hoping you Chowhound foodie experts could recommend something fabulous to do that's chocolate related-- A class, a tasting, a chocolate brunch, maybe even a chocolate of the month club, etc. This would be a Birthday gift for my Brother. I haven't found much in the way of classes or tastings so I come to you for advice.
The only ideas I've come up with so far are--
--tickets to the annual NYC chocolate Show (worth it?),
--Seppi's Chocolate buffet brunch (is it worth it?? I saw some old reviews that were mixed, wondering what the current thought is on the place),
--And something called a giftybox--a sort of a gift certificate that enables you to pick a chocolate experience (except that from what I saw it's a big thumbs DOWN since the actual restaurants/events etc. listed are cheaper to go on one's one rather than utilize the suprisingly much more expensive giftybox.)
Any thoughts on these experiences, or some other fabulous New York City chocolate experience--class, tasting, etc. you would like to recommend?
Would appreciate your insight on this.
Back in February, the Ritz Carlton in Battery Park hosted a special Chocolate Room offering an all-you-can-eat chocolate buffet. It was mostly pastries and decadent desserts; pricey (can't remember exactly how much but around $80) but included champagne. I don't think they have it currently, but it's something to keep in mind for the future.
Thanks for the helpful responses. In addition, a fellow chowhound told me La Maison du Chocolat does tastings. Has anyone ever done them? I called the store and they have one called Tamanaco and one pairing chocolate with tea and coffee. I don't usually need anything but some good clear water with my Chocolate, so I was leaning toward the Tamanaco. That is about the history of cocoa with chocolate tastings in between. I just don't know if we would be bored silly with learning about the origins of the cocoa bean...I fear we might start the mantra of---bring on the chocolate!
These other chocolate places sound interesting too! If I don't do them for a Birthday gift, I'll be sure to keep them in mind for general chocolaty tasty fun.
Curious if anyone has taken this chocolate tasting?
The Chocolate Show paired with Seppi's Chocolate buffet are other ideas I've been milling around with. My Brother did the show a few years in a row and stopped because there wasn't anything new or different, just 'same old same old' for a while. Still, that was 3 years ago, so hopefully there's some new stuff at the Show now.
Anyone else care to share?
I attended the NY Chocolate Show last year and it was fabulous. There are many chocolatiers to choose from, including Guittard, Francois Payard, Jacques Torres, Neuhaus and many others. There are chef's demonstrations and lots of great samplings. They have great show prices on chocolate, so a chocolate gift is a terrific idea. I went with friends who bought tons of chocolate for holiday gifts. Do go early, though, because the Metropolitan Pavilion gets super crowded by lunchtime and mid afternoon is a madhouse.
I was just looking for cheese-of-the month clubs as a present for a friend, and ran across a website that also has chocolate of the month. I don't have any personal experience with it, but here's the site: www.cheesemonthclub.com. Might be worth a shot.
Also, The Chocolate Room on 5th Ave. in Brooklyn (Park Slope) has amazing deserts. They sell chocolate by the piece/pound, and I'm sure they could make a box for you. Everything that i have had there is really, really good.
In June, The Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) offered a one-session class called "Chocolate Galore: Chocolate Desserts and Confections." The cost was $95. They do repeat classes, so you should call to see if it will be on the fall schedule. I recently took a pastry class there. Lots of fun, I learned some new skills, and there was the added attraction of being able to take home a boatload of the goodies we made. :-)