As versatile as it is addictive, chocolate is widely used throughout hospitality, health and welfare and education, whether for those seeking an indulgent treat with a hot drink or to end a meal with something sweet and delicious. However, chocolate goes way beyond a standard brownie. As we head into winter and the festive season, we’re focusing on all things chocolate! Get inspired by our experts’ suggestions for spicing up a hot chocolate recipe, weaving cacao nibs into savoury dishes or for creating a mind-blowing chocolate dessert.

Head Chef, Fenchurch at Sky Garden

I love to incorporate chocolate into savoury dishes. Some of my favourite combinations are caramelised white chocolate with Jerusalem artichoke, which gives the dish a toffee-like taste. The mixture is then piped onto brioche soldiers and served with a pickled artichoke disc and topped with shaved truffle & Parmesan. Another dish and combination I like would be venison with rich dark chocolate gnocchi, parsnip, and wild berries. One chocolate combination I’ve created which truly showcases the versatility of chocolate whilst also being adventurous with around 15 other elements and ingredients would be my Far Away Tree Dessert. This dish has dark chocolate textures with black pepper crémeux with burnt blackberry, kasha buckwheat and sea buckthorn sorbet. This dish saw me through to the Great British Menu 2020 finals and I look forward to introducing it to the Fenchurch menu later this year.

Head Pastry Chef at The Manor, Greasby

Everyone loves chocolate and I love to give my sweets a sense of theatre. Nothing does that better than my chocolate bombe, a chocolate sphere which melts to reveal an ice cream centre when drizzled with rich chocolate sauce. There is something seriously decadent about watching the bombe melt away in lashings of chocolate and guests love it! For The Manor’s summer menu, I have created a peanut butter and raspberry version, finished with salted peanuts and hot chocolate sauce. Same wow factor but a delicious new flavour combination for the summer!

I love to accent chocolate with salt or spice! Nothing too overpowering but the light addition of sea salt or pink peppercorn really brings a chocolate dessert to life and cuts through the rich sweetness. Similarly, miso when paired with chocolate can evoke a delicious earthy quality. My classic chocolate bombe has seen many flavour combinations over time, but my most unusual has to be pairing it with a homemade pecorino cheese ice cream and fresh shavings of truffle. Don’t knock it until you have tried it!

Chef Patron, Kenmuir Arms

To me, chocolate is one of the purest forms of extravagance. One of our signature dishes which always goes down a storm is our chilli BBQ pork with a cocoa sauce. Good quality chocolate lends itself so well to savoury dishes.

We also have our own take on a hot chocolate as one of our desserts – we set marshmallows within chocolate mousse and serve with warm cinnamon foam that is spooned tableside. It’s designed to inspire a sense of nostalgia and we’ve had great feedback from guests. These special touches can go a long way in making something simple that little bit extra special.

Owner, Colonel Saab

At Colonel Saab, we offer a variety of desserts that fuse Indian and western flavours. A perfect example of this is our Dark Chocolate Silk Cake with Thandai Crumble. It’s one of our top selling desserts that melts in the mouth and one of my personal favourites. The medley of flavours accentuates and compliments the flavours of each ingredient.

Dark Belgian chocolate is whipped rich with eggs, sugar, vanilla essence and butter to a sabayon consistency and the base is formed with coarse ground of almond, desiccated coconut, rose petals, sugar and fennel. The two are then put together in the oven and baked to perfection and served with Thandai crumble, Blueberry and Candyfloss.

Chef patron of The Chubby Castor and The Yard

We offer vegan chocolate options, including our delicious and elegant vegan chocolate ganache with candied pecans and lime gel. We also have vegan chocolate petit fours, made using dark and vegan-based dairy products. We use vegan cream and 68% dark chocolate.

Soya sauce and dark chocolate ganache and lavender with white chocolate miso caramel are a few unusual flavours which go together very well indeed. Classic combinations we use are praline, salted caramel and gin with white chocolate. Venison and dark chocolate sauce also go together very well indeed, as does pigeon and dark chocolate.

You can even add some chocolate into a chilli for a rich finish.
For guests with dysphagia, I recommend either a chocolate mousse, chocolate rice pudding or a soft ganache chocolate custard. Chocolate jelly and chocolate ice cream are also good options.