The 14th annual South Beach Wine & Food Festival might be over, but we're still recovering from Death by Chocolate, the late-night cocoa soiree hosted by none other than donut creator Dominique Ansel.
While many of the guests at Death by Chocolate were secretly hoping that Ansel saying his doughnut-hybrid was no more than a cruel joke, it wasn't. In a prior Interview, Ansel told New Times, "Every time I do an event, I try to create something completely new." Inspired by the beach and Miami's sultry weather (with the exception of festival weekend), Ansel went with a chocolate oyster.
Anyone who follows Ansel on Instagram might think he posted a picture of a chocolate oyster back in December. Indeed, the pastry wizard teased the masses with a photo of his cocoa bivalve at the end of 2013. But if you go back through his feed now, the proof has magically disappeared, to which we ask, trick or treat?
"We made a chocolate cake for Valentine's Day and we did a little oyster on top of the cake, but we haven't made this before," he says. "This was for only Miami."
Come to think of it, an oyster does perfectly fit Miami. "I thought it would be fun to do something related to the beach and for me, oysters is one of them. So I wanted to do something cute that was also edible." The result? Chocolate kumamotos, only these are from the East Coast. "I got some kumamotos from a restaurant next to the bakery and cast the oyster in a mold, which I then used to make a chocolate shell." Why go with kumamotos? Ansel liked the shape.
As for the inside of the oyster, Ansel decided to forego the mollusk and instead play up the pearls, which are the products of a defense mechanism against invasive sand. In this case, Tahitian vanilla cream with chocolate and coconut cream inside took on the shape of a colossal pearl. Lime dust finished off the charming pellet.
And because oysters are even better when they're slathered with mignonette and hot sauce, Ansel made his own version to accompany the delicacy. "We did a pineapple mignonette with tiny dices of fresh cut pineapple and a raspberry cayenne hot sauce. Just a really fun way to eat chocolate." It certainly was, even if it meant slurping the pearl out and throwing out the edible shell the first time around (blame it on habit). But after enjoying it in its entirety, sparks went off. The verdict? Definitely treat.
Chocolate fanatics must've agreed, because Ansel made 850 for the event, all of which were slurped by the evening's end. A fan of seafood himself, Ansel hit up My Ceviche and Joe's Stone Crab during his short trip to the Magic City, enjoying an aji amarillo ceviche on coconut rice with a side of guacamole. He also took in meals at Michael's Genuine and the Bazaar. "The oven-roasted chicken at Michael's was exceptional." Of course, he also indulged in one of Hedy Goldsmith's sweets. "I had the donuts and the strawberry in a jar, which was deliciously simple but tasty."
It's caneles, however, that are Ansel's guiltiest pleasure. The classic French cake has a rich custardy caramelized exterior shell with a flan-like inside. "We have them at the bakery and I enjoy one every single afternoon." If Ansel can have his spoonful of sugar a day, so can you, "I don't think sugar is bad for you as long as you consume it moderation. I'm pretty healthy."
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