A new boutique cafe wants Malaysians to experience the joys of dark chocolate, writes Aznim Ruhana Md Yusup
CHOCOLATE is comfort food, something that takes you back to your childhood. But dark chocolate is the adult version of that, one that wears serious shoes, pays taxes and does other boring things. It’s bitter with a slight acidic note. But for fans of dark chocolate, there’s nothing else like it.
The Dark Gallery, which opened in MyTown mall in Kuala Lumpur in March, specialises in dark chocolate products.
The cafe has ice-creams, beverages and pastries all crafted from dark chocolate, and it aims to please both dark chocolate fans and sceptics. So it’s a good thing that we tend to be adventurous eaters.
“Malaysians are foodies,” says Dark Gallery brands and sales manager Eunice Siaw during a media review session. “We like to discover new things. A dark chocolate concept store is new and exciting for consumers.”
HOT AND COOL PLATTERS
The Dark Gallery doesn’t just specialise in dark chocolate — it prides itself with bringing in single origin chocolates. These chocolates come from specific cocoa-growing countries such as Madagascar, Venezuela or Tanzania, and each has a unique flavour profile.
To get a taste of these single origin chocolates, Siaw recommends the Single Origin Dark Chocolate Ice-Cream set (RM21). It features three scoops of ice cream, each made of chocolate from Madagascar, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela.
These are also labelled by its chocolate percentages. In this case, it’s 64 per cent Madagascar, 70 per cent Dominican Republic and 72 per cent Venezuela.
You can sometimes see these percentages in retail chocolate bars too. What it indicates is how much, by weight ratio, of the actual cocoa bean or cocoa bean parts that go into making that chocolate product. The rest may be sugar, milk, vanilla or any other ingredients added by the manufacturer.
In general, the higher the percentage, the more intense the chocolate flavour. Siaw says it is best to eat the ice-cream with the lower percentage first, before moving on to the ones with a higher percentage so as not to overwhelm your taste buds.
I find the Madagascan to have a deep chocolate flavour that is slightly bitter than regular chocolate ice-cream. The Dominican has a wonderful cocoa aroma that comes with its sharp flavour, while the Venezuelan is deep and intense.
It’s true that the ice-creams are more bitter than regular chocolate but the flavour is also more complex. Those with a more discerning palate can try to identify the acidic or fruity notes as identified on the information leaflet. But I like that the ice-creams are not cloyingly sweet or greasy, and they also taste “cleaner” on the tongue.
“Dark chocolate has health benefits because of its antioxidants but since we add things like milk and sugar, we can’t really say how healthy it is now,” says Siaw. “That said, we keep our sugar content low, we don’t add artificial flavours and we use good quality chocolate couvertures, which is the raw ingredient for our products.”
Another take on the tasting platter is the Single Origin Hot Chocolate Shots (RM15), also using chocolates from Madagascar, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela.
The overall flavour profile is similar to the ice-cream, but the chocolate kick is deeper and richer.
Siaw says, “We use no other ingredients except chocolate couverture and milk. There’s no sugar in the shots because we want people to taste the original flavour.”
SCREAM FOR ICE CREAM
If you’re not feeling up to trying different versions of dark chocolate ice-cream, there’s The Chocolate Rhapsody dessert (RM28). It comes with three chocolate ice-cream flavours; dark, white and milk chocolate. The scoops sit on a bed of chocolate “soil”, with dabs of mousse and meringue.
It’s a good dish for sharing and for satisfying different chocolate preferences. The soil is made from crumbled cookie while the milk chocolate ice-cream tastes significantly sweeter than the dark, though perhaps not as sweet as regular retail ice cream.
“The white chocolate when it is in couverture form is not really white,” says Siaw. “It’s actually a brownish caramel colour but because we add milk and cream to turn it into ice-cream, it becomes white.”
Other dessert dishes include the Ice Cream Waffle (RM20), Banana Split (RM24) and Chocolate Brownie Mess (RM20). The Frozen Smores (RM15) has sweet marshmallow blanketing a square of dark chocolate ice cream. It is torched on order, and the two contrasting flavours work really well.
The Dark Gallery also offers ice-creams starting from RM10 per scoop, macarons (RM4.50 each) as well as ice-cream cakes, artisanal chocolate bars, cookies and granolas.
THE DARK GALLERY,
Level 1, Lot No. L1-023A & L1-K-007
MyTown Shopping Centre
No. 6, Jalan Cochrane
55100 Kuala Lumpur
TEL: 03-2715 7360
FOOD: Ice-creams and dessert based mainly on dark chocolate
PICK: Single Origin Dark Chocolate Ice-Cream set and The Chocolate Rhapsody
PAY: RM4.50 per macaron, RM10 per ice-cream scoop to RM28 for a dessert platter
MOOD: Relaxed, boutique-style dessert restaurant
I SAY: Expand your palate and go for it