Tonight, omegabeth and I returned, this time accompanied by dbang, dancingwolfgrrl, qwrrty and sandhawke. This allowed for more effective sharing of the larger portions, though we didn't always do a good job of coordinating.
I found fewer things as surprising-tasting this year as compared to last, though there were several inventive items:
* Chocolate Arancini from restaurant dante were little balls of chocolate-plus-rice, rolled in something and then deep fried. This is a cool idea, and how can you go wrong with frying chocolate, but ultimately, I felt the frying didn't particularly add to the chocolate in an interesting way, and the balls themselves were merely fine.
* Chocolate Quinoa Cookie from Taranta were dense and chewy with crunchy bits of quinoa throughout. This is a cool idea but I think oatmeal has more to contribute to cookies than quinoa does.
* Key Lime Truffle from Hamersley's Bistro was probably my favorite of the "huh, that's an interesting idea" items. It wasn't super tart, which is, in my world, a good thing, as I have limited appreciation for tartness. The key lime center was dipped in an outstanding milky-dark shell. Yum!
* Magic Brownies from Fireplace, which people who have had actual magic brownies reported tasted just like the real thing, were interesting. They certainly had oregano and possibly other herbs in them. While tasty, I wouldn't go out of my way to make brownies taste like this without their containing actual magic.
Among the solidly good items were:
* Chocolate Malted Squares from Vox Populi, which were like light brownies with a subtle malt flavor -- quite tasty! omegabeth and I ate at Vox Populi last summer during restaurant week and were generally disappointed other than the fries, but we agreed this would be a good place to go for drinks and a plate of fries. It would not be a mistake to follow your fries with one of these squares, perhaps with a scoop of ice cream on top.
* S'mores from Grill 23 was a smooth chocolate pudding with toasted marshmallows (not homemade!) and homemade graham crackers. This was tasty and easy to like.
* Chocolate Mousse Torte from Hamersley's Bistro was dark chocolate mousse over lighter chocolate mousse over a dense cakey bottom layer that was delightfully spicy with ginger and allspice. The bottom layer of this took it from the level of a tasty mousse to a delicious and interesting item.
* Chocolate Caramel Tart from Petsi Pies was, if I'm remembering correctly, a chocolate pecan pie type thing. It wasn't hugely inventive, but it was firmly good.
* Marmalade Whoopie Pies from Sweet Finnish were interesting and tasty! The cookie sections were thick and densely cakey, and the filling was a combination of cream and marmalade, which moved them out of "down home" and into "oooh, interesting!" I'd like to try making something like this sometime.
* Chocolate and Praline Napolean from Temple Bar was chocolate plus praline layered on a light, cakey cookie. This was pretty sweet, but I liked it a fair amount, perhaps because it was near the end of the evening and I was delighted ot have something that contained primary flavors that were not chocolate.
And, of course, there were several things that made me roll my eyes back in delight:
* Space from Danish Pastry House were a series of pastries in space shapes (stars, moons, asteroids). DPH was one of our top two favorites from last year, and they didn't disappoint this year. The stars were marzipan-y, the asteroids were hazelnut cream in the center of almond merengue dipped in chocolate. Tasty! They have a shop near me and one in Watertown, and I really must visit them more often.
* Salted Chocolate Caramel Fudge from Cafe Fleuri was my hands-down favorite this year. Rich, buttery caramel flavor melded with chocolate enough to make it chocolatey but not TOO chocolatey, and with a few grains of salt on top. Yuuuuum! If I'd been smart, I would have wrapped several of these in a napkin and smuggled them out.
* Mini Oreos and Homemade Ring-Dings from Flour Bakery reinforced my love of Flour. The oreo thingies were bite-sized and crisp. The homemade ring dings were the perfection of a good-food-idea-turned-food-product-turne
* Cupcakes from South End Buttery were absolutely out of this world. Chocolate cupcakes with perfect buttercream filling and topping, every bite was buttery, and just perfectly balanced with chocolate, sweet and yum.
Unfortunately, by the time I got to the table for Athan's Greek Bakery and Cafe, all the chocolate baklava was gone, but I already know I love that, as do most of the folks who attended the big party whose food omegabeth and I organized in January. Nevertheless, I have to put in my plug for them, because, wow, yummy.
Overall, this was a delicious and satisfying evening, and I got to see several people who I haven't seen since last year's Chocolate Madness.
Oh! And I can't believe I almost forgot this part: This being a fundraiser, there were, of course, raffle tickets, and several of us bought some. I think omegabeth and I ended up getting 20 between the two of us, and we ended up winning 3 prizes! I got two.
The first is a one-year subscription to Edible Boston, a magazine whose existence I didn't even know about before this evening. "Edible Boston is a new quarterly magazine that celebrates the diverse food and delicious culture of the Greater Boston Area. Brimming with engaging stories and enticing photographs, Edible Boston defines and honors Boston cuisine, advocates for preserving food traditions, savors food experiences, and pulls back the curtain on where Boston's food comes from." Gosh. Okay!
The second is a beautiful, big ceramic serving bowl. It's blue on the outside and yellow on the inside, and it has a lovely decorative rim and is just perfect for someone who, at recent dinner events, has been thinking to herself, "You know what I need? Some nice serving bowls!" This came from Fire Opal in Brookline, which means it was crazy expensive, and I'm totally psyched and it's super pretty!
Hooray for chocolate and good causes. Though, boo for the need for this particular one.