The Four Seasons First Residence had the brilliant idea of creating a weekly full-fledged chocolate buffet ala Willy Wonka; to an extent.
The visual sight of so much chocolate arranged in cakes, tarts, and mousses layered in glasses like trifle made me giggle like a little girl. A chocolate fountain freely bubbling and flowing made me hesitate, would oompa loompahs slap my hand away if I dipped a skewered marshmallow into this cornucopia of chocolate?
On the contrary; so long as one refrains from drinking directly from the fountain as I was tempted to, the attending staff last Sunday were quite enthusiastic about guests trying everything. So I did.
Home made white chocolate and milk chocolate ice cream is ready to be scooped out and decorated by an attentive chef with all sorts of baked cookies, biscuit cigars, coconut macaroons, sauces and cherries.
Subconscious considerations for calories, summer diet plans and the like were all ignored. I doubt calories this good should be counted.
I sampled repeatedly last Sunday night the delights of pastry chef Maged Mohsen, the culinary brains and talent behind the chocolate buffets arranged throughout the hotel’s various dining outlets each Sunday of the week.
With 32 years of experience and extensive work and study in the kitchens of culinary masters such as Lenôtre himself, it was whilst chef Mohsen was in France and studying the intricacies of a pastry specialization that he “fell in love with the very creative process of it all.
“They [in France] gave me a lot of imagination for creating decorative chocolate and pastries. And I quite often read up quite a bit on chocolate making and its history.
Chef Mohsen continuously works on his craft, attending classes and competing in events such as the Chef’s Olympics.
Competing in Germany in 2000, he and his team won several medals, and received merit recognition.
“To receive merit recognition was our sole aspiration, to have won silver and bronze medals in addition were an unexpected honor.
Chef Mohsen plays with chocolate in all its forms. White, milk and dark are arranged in a myriad of recipes with various spices, fruits and creams to create treats so sinfully pleasurable.
His craft is studied and precise; he talks about chocolate within scientific parameters, numbers of cocoa butter percentages and chocolate’s chemical make up.
Chocolate velvet cake with coconut and walnut frosting, paired upon the suggestion of Chef Maged with a scoop of white chocolate ice cream and chocolate sauce from the ice cream bar was heavenly; whilst a chocolate trifle layered with berries and raspberry coulis was simply gorgeous. Cream, chocolate and the bitterness of berries made for a harmony of textures and taste.
Both treats simply stole my heart.
Lovers of dark chocolate should sample the chocolate jelly, a soft mousse-like delight intense in flavor. Topped with red cherries and an underlying hint of citrus, it is clear that Chef Mohsen knows how to pair flavors.
But what I tried was simply a mere sample of the extensive buffet, loaded with novelty items and arranged with sculptures entirely created from blocks of chocolate. Abstract sculptures of interlaced whimsical ribbon laced chocolate and coffee pyramids are part decorative, and mostly intended for consumption.
There are novelty creations by Chef Mohsen who is inspired by the old masters’ recipes and his own whims. A six layered delicacy of coffee chocolate biscuit encased in a chocolate pyramid, mille feuille entirely dipped into chocolate and chocolate crème brulee are original creations.
Chocolate based cocktails, and non-alcoholic chocolate flavored beverages are also on the menu. But I paired my desserts with a strong espresso afterwards, all that chocolate in my system needed something to break that sweetness of which I indulged in.
Classics such as chocolate St. Norie and Opera cake amongst others are also available.
Chef Mohsen hopes to continuously add new desserts and creations to the buffet, whilst still producing certain favorites. What is certain though is that whoever I’ll choose to with again, maybe with girlfriends in tow or a niece, it will have something for just about everyone to indulge in.
Chocolate Sundays runs throughout the hotel. Guests can enjoy a menu full of treats from 11 am to 12 am at the Tea Lounge, a chocolate inspired menu in the Library Bar from 5 pm to 12 am, and at Aura Lebanese restaurant from 11 am to 12 am. Seasons and Lai Thai offer a set menu with the chocolate buffet for dessert – a delicious combination with quite a bit of value for money.
Four Seasons First Residence, Giza. For reservations please contact the hotel directly on: 02-3573-1212.