Northland chefs spice up offerings for Death by Chocolate fundraiserHow do you like your chocolate: Seasoned with cayenne pepper, used as a barbecue sauce or in a drinkable state?
By: Christa Lawler, Duluth News Tribune
How do you like your chocolate: Seasoned with cayenne pepper, used as a barbecue sauce or in a drinkable state?
Or maybe you prefer it in the standard cake form.
“Death by Chocolate After Dark” will feature creative chocolate-inspired dishes by about a dozen chefs from the Northland. The annual event is 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday at Greysolon Plaza. It is a fundraiser for Arc Northland, which serves people in the Northland with disabilities and their families.
On this year’s menu, chocolate veers from its unwrap-and-savor identity. Whole Foods Co-op has a deli fan favorite with its chocolate pots de crème and vegan chocolate cake. But for the event, they decided to think meat instead.
“We wanted to go in a different direction to draw awareness to different tasty deli items,” said Shannon Szymkowiak, manager at Whole Foods Co-op. “We’re in the process of bringing a variety of ribs to our regular deli selections.
“We thought it would be distinctive to do something not a dessert, but still involve chocolate as an ingredient.”
The result: a mix of bittersweet and semi-sweet chocolate and cocoa powder used as a barbecue sauce, said Debbie Manhart, who works in the store’s deli.
Ledge Rock Grille’s creation promises to be visually appealing. Executive chef Uriah Hester, a self-described huge fan of German chocolate cake, is making salted caramel German panna cotta. The layered dessert will include panna cotta — a cream that sets with gelatin and has a texture similar to custard — salted caramel, more panna cotta and salted pecans served in a shot glass.
Julie Sigafus is serving chocolate in a glass, too. Her creation is a beverage.
The independent sales consultant with Dove Chocolate Discoveries throws chocolate-themed house parties and has found many fans of the company’s mudslide mix.
Sigafus plans to use the mix to make non-alcoholic chocolate martinis by combining the mix with amaretto-flavored coffee creamer and half-and-half and serving it in tiny cups.
Executive chef Michael Schueller has found a chocolate candy-like creation that ranks high with diners at Northland Country Club.
His secret: The spice rack.
“Oddly enough, people really like spicy chocolate, which I thought was interesting,” he said.
He’s got a go-to recipe that allows him space for curry, cayenne, cumin and cardamom.
“The sky’s the limit of what you can add to them,” he said.
Expect a bite-sized piece of dense chocolate that includes a subtle shot of spiciness.
Eileen Brown of How Sweet It Is decided to lean traditional with her Irish car-bomb cake.
“It’s super-popular and super-yummy,” she said.
The chocolate cake has Lake Superior Brewing Co.’s Sir Duluth Oatmeal Stout in the batter and has a layer of cognac truffle and Bailey’s whipped cream.
Portions will be freshly sliced from the cake.
“Most people want the whole experience so we’re giving them the whole experience,” Brown said.
If you go>
What: “Death By Chocolate After Dark,” a fundraiser for Arc Northland; the event includes live music and a silent auction.
When: 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday
Where: Greysolon Plaza, 231 E. Superior St.
Tickets: $20 in advance, $25 at the door