These are the invitations I created. I purchased the Belgian Chocolate Bars from Fresh & Easy (Will they twitter about me again?) and wrapped them in gold tissue paper. Then I made wrappers out of the various brown scrapbook papers I had at home. I designed the label that is used through out the dinner with digital elements by Anne Langpap at 2peas (main font is Selfish). I wish I could have bought labels that shape. As it was, I let my 7 year old help me cut things out, so they weren’t exactly perfect. On the back of the bar I attached the Nutrition Label I created digitally. I wrote “best if eaten on-Feb. 28th, at 7:00pm”, and put the address of the dinner as the place where the chocolate was manufactured. Maybe I made it look too realistic, because some of my guests said that their family members helped consume the chocolate and didn’t save the wrapper with the information. At least I know they were all excited to get the invitation.
(All the pretty paper, pre-labels)
After making those, I saw this fun idea (wouldn’t have helped with retaining the information, either), and I intended to use this concept to make labels for the appetizers, but ran out of time for that detail.
I was in charge of all of the pretty stuff, and my partner, Tina, did the bulk of the recipe finding and cooking (with a few important exceptions), and she let us have the dinner at her fantastic home (which I am planning to blog about one of these days soon!). We set up the dinner on her back patio (yes, we are in Arizona!). I had a different color scheme in mind until I saw the Godiva Chocolate room, and knew that the brown and gold would give the feeling of rich decadence I was going for.
The chocolate brown table cloth is a poly satin fabric I bought at Hobby Lobby for 2.99/yd. I also bought the fusible tape to do the hem, so that it was a no sewing project. I also skipped the hemming and piled up the remainder of the fabric in the center of the appetizer table.
I piped everyone’s names in chocolate on wax paper, and then peeled off the hardened chocolate and placed them on the gold chargers to serve as place cards. (If you attempt this, use a thin spatula to remove the name since they are fragile and break easily).
Other appetizers included this White Chocolate Camembert with Rosemary Pear Chutney(yummy—and half eaten in this picture). Toast with Chocolate and Fleur de Sel, and Chocolate Covered Grapes.
I’m going to call this cake creation a Chocolate Orange Ganache Layer Cake. There is no recipe to link, because it is a Barry creation, based on a flowerless chocolate cake recipe layered with regular cake and ganache and whatever other flavors we are in the mood for. I may get Barry to do a post about it. I helped this time, frosting the cake with ganache, and experimenting with chocolate transfer sheets. (I bought mine here). You use a tempered chocolate, or a chocolate meant for candy dipping, and spread a thin layer of chocolate on the transfer sheet. It “transfers” the edible design onto the chocolate. Our design had gold flecks. I’m going to say that we were going for this kind of rustic, messy presentation, and you’re going to try and believe me, right? I think it will take a little more practice to master working with chocolate like this, but it’s a lot of fun to think about the possibilities!
I think the evening was an overwhelming success. The trick in planning a dinner like this, is to make the chocolate subtle enough that guests aren’t sick to their stomachs before the main course. We also varied recipes with dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate (which technically isn’t chocolate at all, but for our purpose, fit the bill). Of course, we killed them with chocolate in the dessert, but also provided paper plates for them to take home whatever cake they couldn’t eat finish there. It was fun to explore chocolate in some savory recipes, and discover new uses for it. Maybe next time we’ll get brave enough to try chocolate covered bacon.