As February approaches, life starts to get a bit more decadent. I’;m talking about chocolate season, folks! Valentine’;s Day is a few weeks away, and it’;s time to start planning some delicious culinary experiences. Today’;s featured feast revolves around chocolate, and it’;s easier to put together than it looks. Inspired by Lasse Halstrom’;s 2000 film Chocolat, this chocolate dessert buffet for design lovers draws on rich tones, rich food and a few bright pops of color. Let’;s take a closer look… [styling and photography by Kate Simmons for Decoist]
Setting the Stage
In Chocolat, Juliette Binoche plays Vianne Rocher, a spirited woman who opens a chocolaterie in a traditional French village and changes the lives of the villagers in the process. This film inspired me on many levels, and I was instantly drawn to its deep colors and decadent food. In contrast to the muted tones of the village is Vianne’;s colorful wardrobe, which consists of an assortment of blue and red shades. Below we see a few screen shots from the film:
In one scene (not pictured), gold ribbon surrounds a display of chocolate desserts in earthy vessels. Create a similar look by lining a table with gold crepe streamers or ribbon. Using crepe streamers from Target, I started by making an “x” across the table, as shown in the next image:
Then I criss-crossed additional pieces of crepe streamers perpendicular to the larger design, creating nooks for vases of flowers. For the floral arrangements, I chose coral red roses and blue glass vases that are actually votive candle holders from CB2.
And of course, this feast includes plenty of chocolate! We’;ll talk foodie specifics in the next section…
For today’;s chocolate-filled dessert buffet, you can get by with one or 2 homemade treats and a few store-bought favorites. Don’;t stress yourself out–focus on what you love and rely on your favorite market for the rest!
Over the holidays I discovered the recipe for Olive Oil & Sea Salt Brownie Cookies (pictured above), thanks to Butterlust. I’;ve made these cookies 3 times and counting, and they’;re just about the best I’;ve ever ea8. They’;re easy to make, and they’;re a hit at every gathering. Thank you, Butterlust!
While brainstorming additional goodies, I came across a photo of candied blood oranges from Paper & Stitch. I followed the recipe from the blog, embellishing the oranges with bittersweet chocolate instead of a sugar glaze. I also left some oranges in their “plain” candied state as a contrast to all of the chocolate on the table. Delightfully sweet and tangy!
Next up: a chocolate plate. Inspired by some of the serveware in Chocolat, I created a homemade sun-shaped stencil out of parchment paper and used it as my guide while I sprinkled a mixture of cocoa powder, cinnamon and chili powder over a white plate. I topped the plate with sea salt- and turbinado sugar-covered chocolate almonds, as well as chocolate bar squares, both from Trader Joe’;s. If you have one of these amazing grocery stores near you, you’;ll love their desserts!
And of course, you’;ve gotta have a cheese plate to counteract all of that sweetness. I chose toscano cheese soaked in syrah, also from Trader Joe’;s. Can you tell that my obsession with this store is almost as intense as my obsession with chocolate?! The grapes are a decadent addition.
Have fun arranging desserts and treats in the spaces created by intersecting lines of gold crepe paper or ribbon. Use serving pieces of different heights for variety. I used cake stands to display the homemade cookies and candied oranges, and it was easy to cover them with the glass domes when we were finished munching.
Here’;s one more shot of the roses in the glass vase. Such a pretty contrast between the vibrant red and the turquoise blue:
Invite guests to come back for seconds, and if you have leftovers, send them home with your guests in paper take-out containers. Don’;t hesitate to display additional containers of popular items (such as the chocolate-covered almonds) so they are easily accessible. I used the marble mortar from my mortar and pestle to hold a second cluster of almonds in the vignette below:
I had a blast planning and executing this party concept. And in case you’;re wondering, this foodie photo shoot wasn’;t just for show! I invited family members over to partake in the treats once I’;d snapped all the photos I needed.
Enjoy this chocolate feast with your love, with a group of friends or with family. Here’;s to a little decadence in our lives this February!
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