There are few things in this world which chocolate can not improve, and those which it can not are probably not worth eating. Pigs’ feet, for example, would not be any more edible dipped in chocolate. Ditto for chicken livers, ox tongue, and jellied moose nose. (Yes, apparently, that IS a “thing.”)
While cucumbers would never have made the list of my top five “Fear Factor” foods, I would have thought them equally impervious to the embellishments of any incarnation of the cocoa bean. But then again, I’m not visionary chocolatier Paul A Young, who has been lauded five years running by the Academy of Chocolate. (Sorry to disappoint, but no, you can’t earn a degree at the academy by eating bonbons. I checked).
Young’s chocolate and cucumber sandwiches were among a host of delicious revelations revealed today at a preview tasting of Young’s new “Chocolate Inspired Afternoon Tea,” which officially launches 14 April at Grosvenor House, a JW Marriott Hotel on London’s Park Lane.
The tea, which will be available until mid-June, also features a variety of traditional finger sandwiches, such as Loch Fyne smoked Scottish salmon with cream cheese and dill, prawns, Scottish roast beef and horseradish, and smoked chicken with tarragon (although, notably, no actual fingers).
Just be sure to save room for Young’s pastries. The decadent assortment includes:
Cocoa Shortcake Biscuit with Madagascan Chocolate Ganache scented with English Rose and Raspberries
Earl Grey Tea Chocolate Tart with Salted Lemon Truffle
Pistachio and Raspberry Slice
Orange, English Honey and Geranium Ganache (an exceedingly generous portion served in a wine glass)
Of course, no proper English afternoon tea would be complete without scones–and no Paul A Young tea would be complete without scones topped with Devonshire clotted cream and Young’s award-winning sea salted caramel, which was named the best in the world at the International Chocolate Awards.
All this is washed down with Madagascan Cocoa Nib tea, exuding just a hint of velvety chocolate essence.
The cost is £39.50, including a trio of Young’s signature chocolate truffles (Sea Salted Caramel, Passion Fruit Curd, and 85% Classic Ecuadorian).
For an extra tenner, you can also enjoy a glass of Louis Roederer Carte Blanche champagne. After all, the only thing that can improve a chocolate tea is…chocolate tea with bubbly.
More information: Paul A Young Chocolate inspired Afternoon Tea is available from 14 April, 1pm – 6pm in The Park Room at Grosvenor House. For reservations, call +44 (0) 20 7399 8452 or visit www.parkroom.co.uk.
For a Willy Wonka-worthy overnight adventure, you can also book the “Paul A Young Adventures with Chocolate Package,” which includes an overnight stay at Grosvenor House with breakfast for two, afternoon tea for two, a signed copy of Paul’s award-winning Adventure’s with Chocolate book to take home and a surprise chocolate treat during your stay. Available from Monday 14 April; from £444 per night including VAT. To book, visit www.londongrosvenorhouse.co.uk.
To find out more about Paul A Young’s chocolate shops, visit www.paulayoung.co.uk.