Dessert of the Gods

Chocolate, the “Drink of the Gods,” just makes everything better. By the mid 19th century, dark chocolate, together with whipped eggs, found its way into French kitchens in the form of light-as-air yet intensely flavorful chocolate mousse and has remained the classic French after- dinner dessert.

The ‘dessert of the gods’.

While adventurous cooks (“egged” on by the recent vegan trend) have tinkered with the recipe, adding ingredients such as olive oil, basil, avocado, balsamic vinegar and even soy sauce, chocolate mousse in its very simplest form requires only two ingredients: an ounce of chocolate and an egg per person.

Café de l’Opera - Caravelle Hotel Saigon

The Sweet Bitter Chocolate Mousse at the fully refurbished Café de l’Opera (formerly the Lobby Lounge of Caravelle Saigon, Ground Floor, 19-23 Lam Son Square, D1; VND98,000++) stays true to the original recipe, with the only additions being whipping cream and a touch of rum. While the ingredients are few, the magic comes in the technique of melting the dark chocolate in a bain-marie (a container gently heated by simmering water) and slowly adding it to a mixture of whipped cream, whisked eggs, sugar and rum while folding gently to maintain the lightness and aeration of a classic mousse.

Chocolate mousse 1

Traditionally served in a glass to showcase its winning combination of the airy texture of the whipped egg whites along with the intense color of the dark chocolate, the Café de l’Opera adds a splash of color with a layer of raspberry puree along with some fresh raspberries and brittle cacao sticks, pairing the bright tartness of the raspberry with the rich sweetness of the chocolate.

With its brand new art deco look featuring giant floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the French-inspired Saigon Opera House together with Saigon’s latest “place to meet,” the Champagne Corner (in partnership with Moët Hennessy), it’s hard to imagine a better place to enjoy a quintessentially French dessert.

 

* Text by James Pham, Michael Arnold, NPD Khanh

* Images by Ngoc Tran, Neil Featherstone

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