Park 75 at Four Seasons Presents Chocolate Nights
Written by Caroline Driggers
Photo courtesy of Cliff Robinson
I consider myself a tried-and-true chocolate lover. I usually pass on dessert if menus don’t offer a chocolate option. I often frequently ask for extra chocolate on my desserts, in hot chocolate, and even on chocolate ice cream cake when I was younger. I have never doubted my love for chocolate … until I learned I’d be eating it with scallops.
The concept of combining savory and sweet is not new me, but taking something from one end of the spectrum like seafood and pairing it with a flavor that I delight in so much did not sound appealing. However, I am up for tasting almost anything so I decided to “suffer” through it. Suffer I did not! The first bite of my cocoa butter seared scallop served with a roasted cauliflower puree and beautiful cocoa vinaigrette delighted the senses in a way that I had never experienced. What sounded like the strangest combination of ingredients was actually the perfect pairing. As with the other entrees on Park 75 at Four Season’s Chocolate Dinner menu, the chocolate actually provided an additional layer of taste and helped to bring out the flavors of the main component. Many times I found myself not realizing that cocoa was part of the recipe, but rather pondering “how did they get it to taste like that?”
My wish for you all is that you go experience these dishes yourself, but for now, think of the proverbial land of milk and honey, or nectar from the gods: Food that is magically more satisfying to the palette than you could ever have imagined and that awakens new senses that you’ve never used. Then you’d be pretty close to envisioning the Chocolate Dinner.
The seared scallop dish is one of three savory items on the menu, along with a pan-seared duck breast and a cocoa nib rubbed bison tenderloin. These are triumphantly followed by The Chocolate Bomb, a make-your-own brownie served with a chocolate sphere melted table side by pouring on a hot caramel sauce only to reveal vanilla bean ice cream that complements the smorgasbord of brownie toppings.
Executive Chef Robert Gerstenecher and Pastry Chef Charles Barrett possess a wealth of knowledge about the topic at hand, and enthusiastically shared their inspiration for these dishes, while noting that chocolate was initially used as a savory pairing in our culture despite its current reign as a sweet fixture. I was intrigued as they described how similar cocoa beans can be to grapes used in winemaking — they have different flavors based on growing conditions and environmental factors — but what I will treasure most is the new way to enjoy chocolate and food in general.
Park 75 at Four Seasons will continue to offer the Chocolate Nights menu every Friday and Saturday night through March 23. A menu of decadent desserts changes weekly, with items priced at $5 – $48 per item. The four-course chocolate dinner is priced at $55 per person or $95 per person with wine pairings. The Chef’s “Chocolate Experience” includes five tastes of sweet chocolate creations that change weekly. For more information, please call (404) 253-3840 or visit http://www.fourseasons.com/atlanta/dining/restaurants/park_75/.