Adult hot chocolates. Photo by Daisy Chow.
An event recap by Daisy Chow, tablehopper editorial assistant.
Last Wednesday, I got a chance to visit the pristine kitchen of Seasons restaurant in the Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco for a ~HOLIDAY DESSERT TASTING~ and hands-on pastry demo with their new pastry chef, Jeffrey Wurtz. Even though I don’t remember the hotel’s carpet actually being red, it sure felt like it was the way they wined and dined us.
We started off with signature drinks from bar manager Oliver Lee, who was shaking up pumpkin martinis and pouring Wassail, a hot, house-spiced organic cider with Kraken Spiced Rum (a great way to warm up on this rainy night). Both drinks are part of the holiday cocktail lineup at Seasons Bar & Lounge. Then executive chef Mark Richardson and executive sous chef Alex Le Motte brought out a trio of beautifully plated appetizers that included Dungeness crab with avocado purée, beets with hazelnut brittle, and foie gras with curry granola. I was pleasantly surprised by how well the sweet hazelnut brittle worked in a savory application. And where was that piano music coming from? Oh, I see, they had rolled a piano into the kitchen for our entertainment.
Next, chef Wurtz showed us how to make and assemble a chocolate mousse bûche de Noël with layers of raspberry compote, feuilletine, almond-chocolate cake, and a dark chocolate glaze. It was a bit like watching the magic of a television cooking show since chef Wurtz made the whole process look so easy (he had already prepared each component beforehand). Then came the fun part: each invitee got their very own bûche de Noël to decorate using the delectable array set out before us: handmade chocolate decorations, marzipan figurines (super cute penguins and snowmen), meringue mushrooms, and perfect little pink French macaron cookies. I’m proud to say my bûche de Noël tied for second place (but let’s not mention that there were only six contestants, ok?). Check out my pics here!
Of course, the fun didn’t end there. The uber-hospitable Four Seasons crew then brought out three samples from their adult hot chocolate bar. It was like sipping straight up melted Valrhona chocolate, the drinks were so incredibly rich and thick and not at all sticky-sweet because they retained the palate-cleansing bitter notes of the cacao. Each drink was paired with a flavored marshmallow to match its liqueur component, vanilla marshmallow with Navan vanilla liqueur, raspberry with Hangar One Fraser River raspberry vodka, and peppermint with Peppermint Schnapps. (Grand Marnier and Godiva dark chocolate are also available.)
Then the desserts came out: poached-pear pithivier (French puff pastry cake) with honey ice cream, chocolate mousse cake with salted caramel ice cream, and to top it all off, chocolate truffles. Sure, I was up to my eyeballs in sugar by now, but that didn’t stop me. This was the most fun I ever had eating dessert for dinner—wouldn’t mind doing that more often.