Wifey and I are not strangers to Cafe Opus housed in the Ikon Gallery, located conveniently off Broad Street in Oozells Square, Brindleyplace. It’s a favourite for a spot of breakfast or a light bite when visiting the Ikon.
But tonight’s visit was for something different. Cafe Opus have recently brought Megashakes to the menu. These oversized milkshakes are gaining popularity and are designed to kill the craving for serious sweet-tooths.
For tonight, I and fellow bloggers had been given chance to add to their current menu with our own creation, and it was a challenge I couldn’t say no to.
An array of additions had been laid out for us including 3 base milkshakes, ice cream and a row of toppings.
Sitting down with my selection, I went to work with a caffeine theme in mind.
My creation was the Cafe Gourmand:
A shot of Espresso
Chocolate ice cream
The inspiration for this was the French rapid dessert and Espresso combination. Unfortunately, I didn’t win but there was some tough competition – I did get ‘Most Creative’, though.
The other ‘runner up’ was Sarah + Laura‘s ‘Finding Love in a Sweet Treat’ shake! It won the ‘Most Attractive’ category: vanilla milkshake, strawberry and vanilla ice cream, Haribo, popping candy, fizzy laces, and a cookie hidden somewhere…
It was great fun having a go at creating our own and I’ll definitely be back soon to try the winning drink.
Disclaimer: For this event, I was a guest of Bar Opus and Clive Reeves PR who provided all food and drinks; this provides no bias to the post. This blog is my own personal opinion and strives to provide an independent view, promoting, enjoying and reviewing the range of exciting food and venues in and around Birmingham.
The Jewellery Quarter is having a bit of a renaissance recently, attracting new and creative independent stores. One of the most recent editions is a new chocolaterie in the form of The Chocolate Quarter.
On #StarWarsDay (aka May the 4th for non-geeks), I had the hardest job in blogging to go and attend a chocolate making class and investigate this little (chocolate) gem courtesy of The Chocolate Quarter team, Kembes, Maninder and Jay, and Susie of Susie81Speaks.
The shop is artfully simple in its decoration to show their wares and gift packs. They’ve made use of the previous occupiers map of Birmingham to great effect showing off happy local customers.
I could even find BG towers on the map!
To start off, we had a cup of Aztec drinking chocolate, made traditionally with just chocolate and a touch of water. It was rich, smooth and unctuous and there was a range of spices, including chilli, cinnamon, nutmeg and inger, to spice up your drink. I picked the ginger, which worked really well.
Following our drink, we had a quick talk about the history of chocolate and how to taste chocolate correctly with samples of three different dark chocolate from Madagascar, Tanzania and Ecuador. All were high values of cocoa mass and all different in taste and texture. The Madagascan is grown in a humid and acidic soil but with a very strong citrusy taste. The Ecuadorian variety came from close to the Equator having a longer day, giving it a much smoother taste. The Tanzanian climate was probably the most closest to what you’d expect a dark chocolate to taste like. We also learnt white chocolate was not a true chocolates (gasp!) due to its lack of any cocoa mass.
Jay took us through making our own chocolate truffles and how to fill our truffles with caramel, then tempering the chocolate from 45 to 33 degrees for sealing and coating our filled truffles. The tempering was the hard part, requiring constant stirring and the addition of beta crystals to give the chocolate that firmness and shine. The bloom most people see in chocolate is where the beta prime crystal melts away, allowing the fat to come to the surface and discolour the chocolate.
Then it was our turn. We had 4 little hollow spheres to fill and coat…
I tried my best but still managed to get messy! After filling, we dipped them in the molten tempered chocolate and then rolled them in our choice of coverings. I went for icing sugar, cocoa powder, coconut and one just chocolate.
We went through a few flavours created especially for Father’s Day gifts, which we tasted and reviewed.
The three flavours were Stout, made with Jewellery Quarter’s own Jewellery Porter from Two Towers Brewery; Smoked Bacon made with real salty bacon and a dash of Laphroaig to give it a smoky kick; the final was Whisky made with Hard to Find Whisky of choice Glen Garioch. My favourite was the Stout which was rich and creamy. Whisky was very whisky and the Smoked Bacon was a touch too smoky for me. There was enough variety for everyone and I’m sure there’ll be some very happy dads come Father’s Day!
To finish off proceedings, we had a very tasty chocolate fondue with a selection of things to dip in, my favourite being honeycomb. After that, I waddled home very slowly and let the choco-coma seep in!
Chocolate Quarter also offer private events and parties, including those after a delicious stag or hen do twist, and can even create bespoke chocolates! You can also buy delicious Chocolate Quarter delights online here!
Disclaimer: For this event, I was a guest of the Chocolate Quarter who provided all food and drinks; this provides no bias to the post. This blog is my own personal opinion and strives to provide an independent view, promoting, enjoying and reviewing the range of exciting food and venues in and around Birmingham.
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