Café Fleuri: dessert opulence.

The dessert bar.

The dessert bar.

In a nutshell: No special occasion needed: for those with a serious sweet tooth, this Financial District restaurant located in the swanky Langham Hotel satisfies any dessert cravings and then some during its famous Saturday Chocolate Bar.

Creme tangerine and montelimar
A ginger sling with a pineapple heart
A coffee dessert, yes you know it’s good news
But you’ll have to have them all pulled out
After the Savoy truffle

Cool cherry cream, a nice apple tart
I feel your taste all the time we’re apart
Coconut fudge, really blows down those blues
But you’ll have to have them all pulled out
After the Savoy truffle

–“Savoy Truffle,” The Beatles

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, it was only fitting to celebrate the holiday early at a place rivaling Willy Wonka’s factory.

The Langham Hotel in Boston is renowned for their Chocolate Bar, which takes place every Saturday from September to June in their second-floor restaurant Café Fleuri. The buffet is currently celebrating its 28th season. This year’s theme is “Captivation of the Senses,” with each table featuring dishes evoking and inspired by Sight (layers of color and visually striking plates), Smell (made with fragrant ingredients), Sound (crispy and crunchy bites creating a symphony), Touch (texturally creative elements and treats inviting you to pick them up), and Taste (which applies to everything edible at this buffet).

Executive Chef Mark Sapienza and Executive Pastry Chef Ryan Pike are the current masterminds behind these evocative desserts, carrying the torch first lit by chef Raymond Ost in the 1980s. “There’s something in France that they do on Saturday afternoons, where normally parents would feed their children bread and chocolate after school on Saturdays. That was [Ost’s] idea, that on Saturday afternoons the cafe would have bread and chocolate. It was an idea that filled the void in the Financial District,” Sapienza explained.

Pike describes the chocolate bar as “a three day process. We start prepping on Wednesday, getting everything ready on Friday. Saturday morning we’re garnishing and we’re finishing off all the cakes. We just try to make everything the best that we can and over the top. We want people to just- we want their eyes to light up when they come through the room.”

The atrium is bright and airy, with plenty of light allowing for full appreciation of the displays. Stations feature varying levels of chocolate intensity, from the lightest white to the most bitter dark. A majestic chocolate fondue fountain commands attention, flanked by a made-to-order crepe station and a miniature oven constantly churning out fresh-baked cookies. Salty bites–housemade potato chips, popcorn, and nuts–break the monotony of sugar on your palate so that you can go in for a second helping, a third, a fourth.

Want to roam the tables and form a plan of attack? Prefer to grab a plate and dive in? Either method works, although we went with the former to simply take it all in. The most memorable experiences included enjoying the lightness of a 70% guandaja chocolate mousse, the caramel undertones of a butterscotch cake, the melting chocolate from a hot-from-the-oven cookie, the tropical sweetness of grilled pineapple pain de Gênes, the richness of a dark chocolate crémeux, and the savory crunch of a housemade potato chip.

This decadent experience can only be described as hedonistic, but hey, you only live once.

Café Fleuri
250 Franklin Street
Boston, MA
http://www.langhamhotels.com/en/the-langham/boston/dining/chocolate-bar/
Reservations via OpenTable
Cafe Fleuri Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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