For most people, there is nothing better in this world when it comes to sweet treats than chocolate. In any form. Rich, decadent chocolate made from only the finest cacao beans.So, it should be no surprise that the elegant Peninsula Hotel Chicago is offering an adventure in to the world of chocolate from the eyes of a world-class pastry chef. Chocolate at the Pen is a chocolate bar like no other. Executive Pastry Chef and Chocolate Sommelier, Dimitri Fayard, sets the stage for an evening of sweet indulgences that range from desserts to chocolate truffles to a hot chocolate station to homemade ice cream all presented to appeal to your eyes first.Before you even taste the delicateness of each chocolate confection, you are mesmerized by the intricate details of each creation which can only come from the mind of a highly talented chef. It’s like a diamond you just stare at so that you take in all the facets. And then of course, you try it, very slowly savoring each flavor that comes through. Chocolate. Fruit. Licorice. Spices. Nuts. Caramel.
As you pace yourself for this evening of chocolate exploration, you are treated with impeccable service from The Peninsula’s staff. They are welcoming, present but not intrusive, as you luxuriate in the beauty of the lobby that is decorated for the holiday season.
A Trio is softly playing music that can be heard but as background music and not in such a way as to inhibit a conversation with your guests.
As we sip our champagne made specifically for the Peninsula Hotel, we realize it is now the time that we need to do more than “eat with our eyes”.We must begin our own chocolate exploration. Along the tables, you will find a wide variety of chocolate and non-chocolate delicacies. Something for everyone. A way to enjoy each sweet without too much of one flavor at a time. Note the reindeers, each individually created and made out of chocolate, enhancing the table decoration. One of the most intriguing parts of this experience was the hot chocolate station. Now, hot chocolate in and of it self isn’t unique. But how it is made at The Peninsula Hotel’s Chocolate at the Pen, is. Set apart from the desserts is a round cart filled with ingredients and their respective description that you can choose from to create your own custom hot chocolate.Here is a small sampling of your options:
Fleur de Cao 70%:
A dark couverture chocolate affirms a powerful cocoa flavor enriched with subtle floral and fruity notes
A dark chocolate with intense cocoa flavor but has a nice balance of bitterness and acidic notes.
A slightly sweet milk chocolate with full intense cocoa
A lightly sweet white chocolate that is the perfect balance of wholesome milk and rich cocoa butter taste
Velvety smooth blonde chocolate with notes of toasted shortbread and light salt.
Silky smooth milk chocolate that has vibrant waves of caramel and subtle cocoa flavor
- Gingerbread spice
- Vanilla Bean
There are endless combinations that you can make that achieve just the chocolate profile you are seeking including choosing the type of milk you prefer. Caramel, spicy, rich dark chocolate, creamy milk chocolate or warm sweetness with the flavored marshmallows. It’s all up to you!If homemade vanilla ice cream and beignets are your sweet treat of the moment, you will be well taken care of with made to order sundaesand fresh chocolate or caramel covered beignets.For those who like a little outdoor winter festivities to go along with their chocolate, then a visit to The Peninsula Sky Rink is in order. Open until March, this skating rink is located four stories above Michigan Avenue with views of Chicago’s legendary John Hancock building and the Magnificent Mile. As the only hotel with a skating rink and located adjacent to the Shanghai Terrace restaurant, you will be gliding along this pine tree winter wonderland with the twinkling lights enjoying Chicago in the most memorable way possible.And if this experience isn’t special enough, your admission and skate rental fees will be generously donated to two Chicago children’s charities:
- Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago
- Hephzibah Children’s Association – providing services for abused and neglected children
To confirm your skating experience, please visit www.peninsula.com/chicago prior to arrival or call 312-337-2888.
Chocolate at the Pen is offered Friday and Saturday nights throughout the year from 7:00 – 10:30. If you are dining at the hotel, you are welcome to enjoy the Chocolate Bar with their special offer. Whether you are looking for a place to indulge your sweet tooth after a dinner out, celebrating an occasion, gathering friends for a girls’ night out, seeking a memorable spot following a night at the theater or just wanting an evening of relaxation and dessert among the beauty of The Peninsula Hotel, this is where you need to be. For more information including reservation details, please call 312-573-6695 or via email at diningPCH@peninsula.com. This is an experience you simply don’t want to miss.