It's chocoholic heaven at Ritz-Carlton's Cafe 103 this autumn. Carolynne Dear frocked up for a decadent tasting.
Afternoon treats galore at Ritz-Carlton's Valrhona afternoon tea.
Calling all chocoholics! This autumn The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong is hosting a chocolate-inspired spread as Cafe 103 hosts the ‘Valrhona Oabika Chocolate’ afternoon tea.
Premium chocolate manufacturer Valrhona is celebrating its 100th anniversary and has partnered with The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong to lay on the special afternoon tea.
I was lucky enough to be invited to a pre-launch tasting and can confirm that it’s a real feast.
As I stepped into Cafe 103 on the 103rd floor of the stunning Ritz-Carlton hotel (the clue’s in the name) I was greeted with sweeping views over Victoria Harbour and a welcome cup of Valrhona hot chocolate.
Comfortably ensconced in a window seat, the velvety hot chocolate was swiftly complemented with a tray of freshly baked plain and double chocolate scones, traditionally served with cream and strawberry jam.
Then came the main event, a dramatic tea tray laden with no fewer than ten more chocolate-inspired treats. Tempted by the classic beef shepherd’s pie with hints of chocolate, I began with the savoury side of the plate. The four bite size savouries also included an ocean prawn with caramelised orange aioli tartlet with cocoa nib and a delicate herb ricotta cheese with honey chocolate crepe roll. But the stand-out was the braised pork shoulder with chocolate barbecue sauce in a mini bun.
At this point I was poured a refreshing cup of tea, a welcome pause in proceedings before I attempted the sweet side of the tray.
The chocolate theme ran wild with Ghana chocolate and plum tacos, raspberry and pistachio tarts with white chocolate, oabika and mango mousse in a Grenada chocolate sandwich, handmade mini chocolate barks and pistachio and lemon macarons.
Cosy up with an autumnal Valrhona hot chocolate.
Valhrona has spent a century establishing itself as a premium product in a competitive market place. Sustainability and innovation are at the heart of its operations; The Ritz-Carlton afternoon tea’s moniker, oabika, is in fact a concentrate developed by Valrhona from cocoa pulp extract - it translates as ‘the gold of the pod’ from the Ghanaian dialect of Twi. Valrhona is recognised as an ethical organisation committed to responsibly produced chocolate, respecting both local communities and the environment in its product creation.
And props to The Ritz-Carlton’s recently appointed pastry sous chef, Alicia Castillo, and the team of chefs who have succeeded in crafting the Valrhona product into a stand-out afternoon tea. Valrhona’s centenary has surely been marked in style.
Valrhona Oabika Chocolate Afternoon Tea, HK$468 for one and HK$768 for two, 3.30 to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday, HK$498 for one and HK$818 for two, 3.30 to 5.30pm, Saturday, Sunday and public holidays, September 16 to November 30, Cafe 103, The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, International Commerce Centre, 1 Austin Road West, Kowloon, Hong Kong; +852 2263 2270.
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While away an afternoon in Hong Kong with tea, scones and chat.