Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Death by Chocolate in Park Slope

Each year my wife's family celebrates December 25th, but not for the obvious reasons. The celebration is for J's grandmother's birthday, and each year J and her family go on a road trip. In year's past it has meant a trip to Philadelphia, but Bubby moved a few years ago and now the family heads to Brooklyn. I went along for the trip this year, and I'm glad I did.

I was tasked with finding a restaurant for dinner on Friday night, which I did, and on Friday afternoon I headed out to the Park Slope area of Brooklyn with J and her parents. As we strolled down 5th Avenue we walked by a storefront with a sign out front that read The Chocolate Room - how could we not go in?

As we entered the shop we were greeted by a small refrigerated case full of chocolate truffles and other delicious looking chocolate treats. On the walls to the right and left were small items for sale like gourmet chocolate bars, cans of gourmet hot cocoa, t-shirts, coffees, teas, and other small chocolate-related gift items. Behind the truffle case was a counter with the register, an espresso bar, and more chocolatey treats like chocolate dipped macaroons, brownies, and cookies. Beyond the espresso bar were several tables for service so we sat at one of them initially to simply enjoy a hot espresso beverage. But then we had a look at their menu and saw chocolate layer cake - a luscious triple layer blackout cake famously reviewed in Oprah Magazine, February 2007. Then we saw Cafe Tourino - a cup of bittersweet hot chocolate spiked with a shot of espresso and topped with steamed milk, and then I saw the Chocolate Stout Float - a glass of Brooklyn Brewery's Black Chocolate Stout served with a scoop of The Chocolate Room's own vanilla ice cream. We were not ordering just any old espresso drink any more!

I decided to get a slice of the chocolate layer cake - it's their specialty, how could I not - and the Chocolate Stout Float, with Sumatra Coffee ice cream instead of the vanilla. I first took a sip of the Black Chocolate Stout from the bottle, it was rich, creamy, and strong and full of dark chocolate and coffee notes. In a word it was amazing. Then I had a sip with the just starting to melt Sumatra coffee ice cream, and it too was amazing. Next I took a forkful of the Chocolate Layer Cake, the frosting was extremely rich and chocolatey and the cake was perfectly moist and delicious.

After thoroughly enjoying this mid-afternoon snack, we chatted with our waitress for a few minutes. I asked about the Brooklyn Brewery Black Chocolate Stout which I learned is a seasonal brew for the winter months and is usually in very limited supply. Our waitress suggested that I check out Bierkraft a few blocks down the street to see if they had any in stock, which they did. The guy working at Bierkraft told me that this imperial stout (10.2% alcohol) will improve with age, so I bought two cases! One went straight into the cellar, and the other will be enjoyed one bottle at a time over the next few months.

If you find yourself anywhere near New York City, you absolutely must visit The Chocolate Room in Park Slope Brooklyn. You should also check out Bierkraft too, they have an amazing selection of beers from around the world and some great gourmet foods too, pick up some beer from Brooklyn Brewery while you're there and support the local beer economy!

The Chocolate Room
86 Fifth Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11217

191 Fifth Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11217

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