Truffles. Crepes. Croissants. Cookies, cakes, candies. Whoopie pies. Cheesecake. Cupcakes. Even cotton candy. No, this is not a list of items that will put you into a diabetic coma – well, I mean to say that’s not the point. This syrupy catalog barely scratches the surface of the menu served at the Langham Hotel’s famed Chocolate Bar. I spent last Saturday in a prissy dress with my pinkies pointed high while sipping coffee from a porcelain china cup and tasting a bevy of delectable chocolate treats. All this grandeur is due to the efforts of the fearless social coordinators of the Partners Club (thanks, Charity Feeney!) who generously subsidized this event and reminded us why love being partners. People, it’s time to migrate beyond Cambridge. Because there is chocolate out there.
A modern day Willie Wonka’s Factory, the Langham Hotel dresses up its Saturday buffet with an absurd amount of cocoa and a healthy supply of never-ending coffee. The mainstays of the menu include the aforementioned crepe station and a chocolate fountain flanked with a variety of fruit. Note: the fruit is key. It’s really the only redeeming “healthy factor” about this sugar-smitten whirlwind. When your annoyingly-fitter-than-you friend asks about this meal, you can just smile sweetly and say, “I stuck to the fruit station”, when in fact, that is a lie. Because I haven’t told you about the crepes yet.
The crepe station is stocked with chips and popcorn so that you can munch while awaiting your French treat as it is cooked to order. This is an important opportunity, as your palate needs a salty cleansing before you dive into the chocolatey sea of wonder once again. You are first served a harrowing choice between the vanilla or chocolate crepe batter. I went with vanilla. Twice. Then you choose your filling, which could be fresh berries or bananas with peanut butter. I went with berries, because the healthy gal inside my heart was trying to maintain her dignity. Then the fantastic cook finishes your dessert on the skillet with a choice of Captain Morgan, Grand Marnier or Domaine de Canton, which is an intoxicating elixir of ginger-lemon liquor. That pretty much adds the “I could never achieve these results in my own kitchen” factor.
Are you hungry yet? I haven’t even told you about the four stations varying in chocolate intensity, ranging from white to milk to dark to espresso flavors. This is where the truly intricate work is flaunted. Teeny, tiny delicate details showcase the mad artistry of these genius chefs. I had never seen such a display of cocoa swirls, coils, tendrils and flourishes; I had to keep reminding myself that I wasn’t in a museum and I could eat the display. That thought was kind of liberating.
The experience was overwhelming. The company was lovely and the atmosphere impeccably posh. While I LOVED the Chocolate Bar, I don’t know if I could ever approach it again. The sheer shock of such an event (ahem – adventure) couldn’t be reproduced and I fear that my blood sugar couldn’t practically process round 2 with the same level of forgiveness. However, I recommend this to anyone strong of heart and stronger of metabolism. May the enzymes (that break down chocolate and turn it into gleeful energy) be with you.