Each year, in February, The Island Hotel‘s Palm Terrace restaurant transforms its private room into a treasure trove of chocolate magnificence to celebrate Valentine’s Day. This year, the hotel’s Executive Pastry Chef, Andy de la Cruz, has outdone himself by creating a wonderland of delightful treats set within a modern and chic environment perfect for the new year.
Cocoa Lounge, as it is called, opens tomorrow, February 1st and runs until the 17th, every evening between 6pm and 10pm. You can either dine at Palm Terrace and finish off at Cocoa Lounge for $12/person or partake at Cocoa Lounge only for $18/person.
As you all know, I don’t have a sweet palate and in previous years, I have attended previews of Cocoa Lounge, written about it based on my friends’ reactions on the various desserts. This year, I’m happy to say, I sampled everything on display and was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed some of the items.
Apart from the tidbits of sweets on offer, there will also be an ice cream station where hand-dipped ice cream bars will be created as you order them. Chocolates and other edibles such as chocolate roses are also on display.
Here are some of my favorites of the night: white chocolate citrus bars with Andy’s signature lemon curd which I so adore. Perfect amount of tartness in a paired with white chocolate and topped with crystallized ginger and surprisingly, not too much sweetness.
I love panna cotta and these pistachio white chocolate panna cotta were really light and not overly sweet.
Chocolate banana savarins with Vienese bright yellow mousse and milk chocolate ganache were pleasant as well even though I normally do not like milk chocolate.
I especially enjoyed the deep dark chocolate tart with passionfruit cream. The passionfruit cream lent a surprising tart finish to the rich dark glossy ganache within the tart.
If you are a fan of white chocolate, white chocolate margarita mousse with tequila, grand marnier and lime zest will definitely please.
I didn’t get to try the Irish Car Bomb cupcakes with Guinness chocolate cake, Irish whiskey ganache and Bailey’s icing, but they are there if you want them.
The chocolate honey cake were super cute baked in baby bundt molds and glazed with a chocolate honey sauce.
So many more items are on offer and you will experience between 20 to 25 each night. For $50 per person excluding tax and gratuity, you can enjoy Cocoa Lounge with your choice of two drinks, wine, champagne or port or a flight of three 2-oz tastings of wine, champagne or port.
This year, The Island Hotel has once again generously donated a Cocoa Lounge experience for two to one of my readers to win. This is a once in a year lifetime and not to be missed. Leave me a comment with your FULL name telling me who you will be bringing with you if you win and why. Entries close on Sunday, 3rd. Winner announced Monday! Good Luck!
Cocoa Lounge at Palm Terrace
The Island Hotel
690 Newport Center Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660