Last week I headed down to Hotel Chocolat in Leeds for #BLOGCHOCOLAT. I've been wanting to visit the bar and restaurant, Roast + Conch, ever since it opened but haven't had a chance, nor was I aware of the amazing GF options available. We were greeted with Prosecco and our first activity - Chocolate Tasting.
I work in a Cocktail bar so am used to tasting sessions and training in spirits. I've always loved learning about it, and find it so interesting how different Gin's are infused with different tastes, while different Vodka's are distilled in entirely fashions, but Chocolate was something else.
First off, we tasted regular Milk Chocolate. Hotel Chocolat produce all their chocolate themselves, right down from sourcing it from the Cocoa farmers (a practise that isn't common among chocolate producers). This full process gives them a large amount of control over tastes. The regular Milk Chocolate was completely different from regular chocolate I've had, we were encouraged to suck not scoff (are you a sucker or a scoffer?!) and it literally melted in your mouth. After this we tried a variety of Single Bean and Blended Bean chocolates. One tasted like Banana (eww!) while some were really earthy. Cocoa beans are flavoured and infused by where they are grown, wow!! It was such an amazing experience and definitely something I would try again. You can book the experience which would make a perfect Mother's Day present!
After being filled with Chocolate we headed upstairs into the Roast + Conch restaurant for some amazing food. Of course we all got plenty of photos of our food before we dug in, we are bloggers after all!!
For starter I had the most beautifully presented and colourful Salmon. 'Cocoa Gin cured Salmon, Autumn Vegetable carpaccio, white chocolate horseradish dressing'. The horseradish was slightly overpowering (I ended up leaving a bit of it) but the starter was flavoursome and definitely something I'd order again! It also felt like I was eating something healthy, but filled me up, so that's a winner!
Sticking with the Fish theme (unintentionally) I went for the Carribean 'fish run down', which was a 'market fish' and seafood curry, with a coconut curry stew and seasonal vegetables. Personally I don't love mussels, but these were such a good accompaniment for the curry and honestly made the dish! The fish was perfectly cooked and I finished off every last drop of the sauce. This is probably one of the nicest curries I've had (admittedly I've not had many in my lifetime due to my allergies, but it was incredible). Click here if you want to see the full menu and the other Gluten Free options.
After stuffing ourselves past being full up (I literally scraped my bowl) we went back down to the bar for our Cocktail Masterclass. We didn't have time for dessert which gives me a perfect excuse to go back soon, but were greeted with plates full of chocolate. We all boxed them up to take home and enjoy another time which was a brilliant idea! They've already been devoured and I loved them all except from the Amaretto ones which were just too much for me! (Honesty is the best policy right?)
For cocktails we were shown Hotel Chocolat's crafted cocktail for this years Cocktails in the City, an event held at the Town Hall. My work are one of the bars featured, and despite having to miss out on last years event I'm definitely planning on heading down.
Of course, this was a chocolate based cocktail, made with a golden rum and melted chocolate. It tasted like an incredible Chocolate flavoured Baileys and despite me normally hating any cocktails with dairy/cream in, it got my seal of approval. I even had a second one, whoops!
A huge thank you to Lela London for inviting me to such an amazing event. It was so lovely to meet lots of amazing bloggers including Bee, Jessyca, Mary, Nic, Kellie, Em, Laura and Lucy!
Have you visited Hotel Chocolat or Roast + Conch in Leeds yet?