With so many ways to celebrate love and all things chocolate, we thought we’d take a look at some of our favorite not-so-traditional ways that restaurants are helping you get that cocoa-fix this season!
Chocolate rub on steaks – Most steakhouses usually have a selection of rubs or seasonings available for your entre. Choices usually include a pepper encrusted option, a blue cheese crust, and…you got it…a cocoa rub. Cocoa rubs are often combined with very fine espresso powders, sugar and other spices or with chili powder for a sweet/spicy kick.
Balsamic Drizzles – Balsamic reductions and drizzles are hugely popular in restaurants right now. (Reduction is a fancy cooking word that describes what happens when you let a liquid mixture boil until a sizeable portion evaporates, leaving a thick, rich syrup-like substance in its wake.) With flavors that range from raspberry to pear, and chili to vanilla, the tangy subtlety of the syrupy vinegar concoction can easily take a dish to the next level. One of our very favorite creations to emerge from this trend is a cocoa balsamic reduction. Look for this as a topper for meat, poached fruit such as pears or apples, over ice cream and as a garnish with charcuterie plates or bruschetta.
Mole – This popular Mexican sauce includes tomato, chilies and cocoa powder and is
served with chicken, steak and other entrees. You can read more about all things mole in our Mexican edition of FirstBites.
Chili – Believe it or not, many of your favorite chili recipes contain chocolate. Whether it’s cocoa powder of a handful of errant chocolate chips, the chocolate flavor helps to add depth and round out the flavor palate of the chili. Don’t expect your favorite restaurant to be giving away all their chili-making secrets, though. That’s what we’re here for.
French Fries – Whether you’re munching on the original or adding some color with an order of sweet potato fries, keep an eye out for french fries dusted with cocoa powder. Looking for even more flavor adventure? Try a cocoa/chili powder coated order. The sort of sweet/ totally savory combination makes for a great twist on an already awesome appetizer.
Ribs – Would you believe that many of the most delicious BBQ ribs have a magical secret ingredient? That ingredient just happens to be chocolate! Ribs that start with a chocolate rub have an especially deep, smoky flavor that is just to die for!
What unique ways have you seen chocolate used in your favorite dishes? Share your discoveries below!