Cake

The Chocolate Bar: Afternoon Tea at The Langham

6/06/2010 09:35:00 PM


One of the few things that can get me out of bed before 10am on a Saturday is the promise of a delicious breakfast. This weekend, it was an invitation from Nuffnang to a Chocolate High Tea that saw me schlepping across Melbourne in the cold and fog, to the warmth of The Langham hotel.

Aria Bar & Lounge
The Langham Melbourne
One Southgate Avenue
Southbank
Melbourne, Vic 3006
Ph: 1800 641 107
Website

Until the end of July, The Langham's Aria bar and Lounge are running two chocolate-themed afternoon teas: Monday to Friday is the Chocolate Indulgence Afternoon Tea, priced at $39 per person, and on weekends is The Chocolate Bar, priced at $59 per person. Sarah from Nuffang invited us to a special morning afternoon tea, put on especially for bloggers. They'd even set up a little laptop for us, just in case anyone wanted to Tweet! (However I think most people just used their phones to go online).

I arrived slightly early, which gave me some time to admire the jaw-dropping Chocolate Bar (above), and the beautiful table setting.

I loved the Mad Hatter napkin-ring, and I think more than one blogger took them home! (They're disposable paper ones, so it's ok, hehe).

The high tea is served with tea, coffee or hot chocolate - I chose English Breakfast tea. If it weren't for fear of succumbing to over-sugared, over-caffeinated hyperactivity, I would have had a coffee as well.

Thanks to Agnes for assisting me with the action shot!

Apart from the super-cute silver pot and the pretty gold-rimmed tea cup, I also appreciated the little crispy biscuit that came with the tea. It was crispy and similar to those Anna's Swedish Thins ginger biscuits, but not spicy.

After all the bloggers got there, we were introduced to German pastry Chef Markus Bohm (pastry chef + German = double win), and were invited to start digging into The Chocolate Bar. Chef Markus was so nice, and even humoured my feeble attempts to speak German - he said I pronounced: "Ich habe hunger" really well. My German teacher is definitely going to hear about that next week!

Here's a shot of the dessert buffet from the other side.

Let's have a closer look at the items. (The menu varies week to week). Each of the items includes a different type of chocolate, all of which are single origin, apart from the Lindt and the Callebaut.

Almond florentine, chocolate Vic Nayarit 37% (Spain)

These florentines were one of my favourite items from the whole chocolate bar, crunchy little bites of caramelized almonds dipped in milk chocolate.

Hazelnut chocolate éclair, Valrhona Guanaja Dark 70%

The choux pastry was very fresh, and the small éclair had a light and creamy filling. The chocolate on top didn't seem to have a particularly pronounced chocolate flavour, but did have a pretty sheen of gold glitter.

Rich chocolate pudding, Belcolade 55%

The chocolate puddings were, indeed, rich and dark, but not too sweet or heavy. In fact, they were quite fluffy inside, and doused with a lovely hot chocolate sauce.

Jaffa chocolate shot, Orange Callebaut

Langham torte, Milk Chocolate Callebaut, Dark 55%

The torte was covered in two types of chocolate, and had marzipan and almond-cake inside. I have a cross-section photo further down.

Back: Granola clusters with Lindt milk chocolate 45%
Front: Strawberry tartlette, white chocolate shell, creamy strawberry filling

Those granola clusters were insanely good! Whole macadamias and hazelnuts, encased in Lindt milk chocolate (my favourite chocolate ever!), topped with crystallised roses. Heaven. The little berry tarts were also delicious. Despite the white chocolate, they weren't overly sweet and were very refreshing. The strawberry filling had a pronounced fresh strawberry taste.

Lemon lime and bitters curd tart

These cute little tarts were topped with a whole blueberry each and were so shiny. I'm not sure if there was any actual chocolate in these, but they were very good. They were quite sour, which provided a good contrast to the other, more chocolatey items.

Chocolate marquise gateaux, passionfruit mirror glaze, Felchlin 69%

Pretty, huh? I've got a picture of an individual slice below, but let's all admire the shiny mirror glaze and the pattern around the outside.

Mixed nut biscotti dipped in Michel Cluizel chocolate 66% (Venezuela)

The biscotti were crunchy but not too hard (often a problem with biscotti). I liked the sprinkling of cocoa nibs on top, although being a biscuit-fiend myself, I would have liked these biscotti even better without any chocolate at all.

Alpine rocky road, Lindt white chocolate

I was afraid these would be too sweet, but the large whole nuts and toasted coconut prevented the rocky road from going over the edge. I was surprised how much I liked it!

Amarascata roulade with cocoa nibs, Choco Vic (Spain)

How pretty are these? I don't know if you can see it in the picture, but there was a touch of gold shimmer on the chocolate swirls on the top. The roulade was both light and creamy at the same time. This was my favourite out of all the 3 cakes.

Now, as promised, let's have a look inside the Chocolate marquise gateau with passionfruit mirror glaze. I liked how the tangy glaze cut through the richness of the chocolate mousse within.

As an aside, this gateau was gluten free. There were quite a few gluten free options on The Chocolate Bar - 6 out of 11, in fact - and they were all labelled as such. Items containing nuts were also clearly labelled.

Next up, let's have a look inside the Langham Torte:
Underneath the chocolate glaze was a layer of marzipan, and below that a dense almond-based cake studded with cherries. I quite liked it, although it was very different from what I expected. Marzipan can be quite a challenging taste; kudos to Aria Bar for including such a complex cake as their signature.

Before you ask, yes, I did try one of everything, even though I shared most items (thanks to Penny for sharing the load, haha). There was a huge bowl of strawberries on The Chocolate Bar as well, which leads me to believe that they have a chocolate fountain for normal seatings.

And as if that weren't enough food, out came the silver tiered trays of scones and sandwiches.

Scones (plain and fruit) with butter, jam and clotted cream
Sandwiches - including brown bread with cheese and prosciutto and chicken on white bread


Total deliciousness

The scones were fabulous. They had a wonderful crispy crust, but were still light and fluffy on the inside. They are served with butter, but I don't know who'd chose butter when clotted cream is on offer! Just look how thick and dreamy it is, so much better than the standard whipped cream you get at other establishments. The berry jam was also very fresh and fruity, and you could see whole berries held within the viscous jam.

I only had half a sandwich because I didn't want to get too full. I had the cheese and proscuitto on brown bread, which had a very thin layer of prosciutto - very dainty!

Table with trays and food & fashion bloggers. I think it will come as no surprise that the food bloggers ate a lot more than the fashion bloggers, hehe.

Finally, we were given passionfruit and chocolate chip soufflés, which came in little coffee cups and were cooked in the below portable oven.


This soufflé oven was like a little trip down memory lane for me. Back in uni, I spent a brief time working in a buffet restaurant, which mainly involved being yelled at by angry chefs, and running back and forth with huge trays of food from the kitchen to the buffet area. I also happened to be in charge of the cooked-to-order desserts, which were either flambéed crêpes or little soufflés, cooked in an oven just like this!



I love how high the soufflés rise when cooked like this. They had a nice crispy top, and were studded with molten chocolate pieces. However, I would have liked a stronger passionfruit taste throughout the soufflé itself.

I really loved the morning tea overall, and would happily come back again with friends and family. In fact, I'm craving a few of those granola clusters and scones right now! Whilst the items offered as part of The Chocolate Bar are certainly decadent and indulgent, Chef Markus has exercised a lot of restraint in keeping the overall effect light. I walked out full and satisfied, but not weighed down and bloated. Gut gemacht!

Clockwise from top left: Penny with Passionfruit Cake; Penny and I with Chef Markus; Violet LeBeaux (who is possibly the most adorable thing I've ever seen!); the beautiful foyer; Billy; the table laden with goodies.

Check out fellow bloggers posts: Joyce's at Mel: Hot or Not, and Anna at Much Love.

Sarah enjoyed the Chocolate Bar Afternoon Tea courtesy of The Langham hotel, with thanks to Sarah Stokely from Nuffnang for the invitation.

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19 comments

  1. What a seriously stunning feast, some inspiring combinations and creations there. I wouldn't know where to begin - I fear my inner Homer Simpson would emerge in a place like this...

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  2. omfg. you are one lucky girl! i would get up early on a Saturday morning for this too..

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  3. I am still over whelmed with chocolate. And thanks for sharing the load with me!

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  4. Wow. You'd have to restraint me in the chair and have someone else control the servings in that place. It all looks incredible!

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  5. Haha, I look like such a dork in that photo, but apart from that..this is a great post! ;) I wish I could write as descriptive as you food bloggers do. Was so nice meeting you :)

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  6. What a shame; Valrhona Guanaja is divine on its own, so I wonder what went wrong with it here?

    Definitely love the sound of the marzipan cake... I wish the Hyatt here in Canberra would put on such a chocolate buffet. Stupid left-behind Canberra.

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  7. That looks incredible! I would be very happy to have that afternoon tea...

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  8. Thanks for posting the photos though arggghhhh! It's making me so sad that I missed it!! And now I've gotta wipe the drool off my keyboard! :P

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  9. Thanks for the shoutout! I particularly liked your shot of the leaking chocolate from the souffle :)

    Jetsetting Joyce

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  10. So jealous!! How good does all that food look! We went to the afternoon tea there last year for Mothers Day and I had so much chocolate that I was on a sugar buzz for days!

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  11. Oh my. That brings back memories - a friend and I had the standard chocolate afternoon tea at the Langham for our dirty 30th's last year. So much good stuff!!

    I don't know if I could do the full on spread you guys got - my OCD need to taste everything cannot be overruled by a full stomach so I would have eaten til I burst!

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  12. Omg that all looks so delicious! Love High Tea at the Langham, they do it so well :-D

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  13. I'm famous! teeheehee. Thanks for publishing the photo of me STUFFING MY FACE!! Though it is a true and accurate representation of the morning's events, I suppose. ;)

    My post to come soon - though I reckon I'll just be lazy and link to yours for all the descriptions!

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  14. Goodness what a sweet-tooth's wet dream! Can't believe you managed to eat one of everything - might impressed!

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  15. So jealous. At least I can remind myself I was in Paris eating Pierre Herme macarons.

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  16. Oh so yummy! It was really nice to meet you there, it's such a pity we couldn't chat for longer, next time though! Sounds like a good excuse for more chocolate ;)

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  17. Linda6:42 PM

    Hi,

    I'm from Sydney and considering the Choc bar at the Langham when I go to Melbourne. Would you say their $65 pp cost is worth it for what you get?

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  18. Hi Linda,

    Yup, based on what was available I think $65 would be worth it. Make sure you go on an empty stomach though! I think there might be a chocolate fountain too for normal seatings, yummy!

    xox Sarah

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  19. Linda8:11 PM

    thanks Sarah!

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My email address is sarahcooks [at] hotmail [dot] com.

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