Talavera Restaurant’s Valrhona Chocolate Dinner ~ Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North
Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North – Last night was our second visit to the Talavera restaurant, and on this occasion our evening was saturated with Valrhona chocolate gloriously presented in each of our four courses and three interludes.
To help you visualize this very special Talavera Valrhona Chocolate Dinner, I have prepared for you 13 scrumptious photographs that will bring you along on our gastronomic journey.
I (David) am a complete sucker for a piece of good dark chocolate. When I heard that Talavera was hosting a Valrhona chocolate dinner they had my full and complete attention.
Anyway, off to our story.
As we were seated at our table, we were immediately greeted by Caprice (below) who hails from Newport, Oregon. Caprice brought a wonderfully welcoming spirit and a great big smile.
Before we could even adjust our cheeks to the seat, we found before us a Chocolate Shake Shot (Valrhona chocolate infused vodka, vanilla vodka, cream, chocolate sauce, and creme de cocoa). Wow! What a most wonderful hello!
Next came Chocolate Pecan Soft Roll (topped with gold leaf, chocolate salt, served w/ whipped butter). I suppose one of the more decadent things one can do is eat gold. After all, who doesn’t have a hankering now and then to chew on a bar of gold bullion.
Seriously, just look at this bread. It looks like a chocolate kiss, it’s full of chocolate yumminess, it’s warm, and it’s topped with real gold leaf. After I took my first bite, I gave myself an unspoken lecture, ” Now David, don’t eat too much of this bread or you won’t have room for your dinner and dessert!” Neither one of us listened. We both scarfed down two pieces. ACK!
You know that look you get when you get caught doing something you know you shouldn’t? Well, we both kinda had that look on our faces (after wolfing down our bread) when they brought out a very nice glass of S. Stefano Belbo Moscato D’Asti, (Italy, 2006) to go with our first course: Butter Poached Lobster (Iviore white chocolate/bacon vinaigrette). Here, rather than grate fresh cheese over your plate; they grated white chocolate! How sweet is that?
As we finished our first course, out came larger wine glasses to accommodate our Belle Glos ‘Clark & Telephone’ Pinot Noir (Santa Maria Valley, 2008). As I swirled this beautiful nectar in the goblet and breathed in my first earthy waft, I immediately knew that this was a fine Pinot Noir and one that we would greatly enjoy. Close your eyes and have someone read the description of this wine from the Belle Glos website:
“Scarlet in color; bursting with aromas of cinnamon, caramel and hints of ginger-spiced tea. On the palate, the plush weight coats the mouth with more brown spice and sweet oak flavors, layered into the deep blueberry and strawberry base. The viscosity paired with the flavors and lively acidity lead into a long finish with supple tannins.”
Hmmmm. I love Pinot Noir, and this was an excellent parring for our second course: Pomegranate Glazed Quail (Manjari Chocolate Arancinni ~ Sauteed Cherries).
Remember how, in the old Looney Tunes, Elmer Fudd would look at Bugs Bunny and you would see this balloon form above his head as he thought about a cooked Bugs Bunny on his plate? Well, I will never again be able to look at the quail in my backyard without the same dastardly thoughts. Wow! This was the best quail ever!
Phew! That was good. But now it was time to give our palettes a proper cleansing with an Intermezzo. Drum roll please! Next comes Mojito (African chocolate cremé with chocolate streusel, balanced with rum sauce, lime gel, and white chocolate mint ice cream). Hey! Isn’t this just someone’s idea of dessert before your meal is finished? I can’t begin to tell you how enjoyable this was!
Pastry Chef Lance Wipple was real proud of this, as well he should be, and came around for a photo op with Carol.
Thankfully, there was now a slight pause in the tempo of dishes coming to us from the kitchen. Talavera sits about 600 feet above sections of Scottsdale and I snapped this photograph of Carol enjoying the beautiful twinkling city lights below.
Even after 25 years of marriage, she still makes my heart go pitter-patter. Ahem!
Anyway, out comes more wine glasses and we are poured a deep, luscious D’Arenberg ‘Deadarm’ Shiraz (McLaren Vale, 2005) to accompany our third course: Anco, Coco Seared Lamb Chop and Seared Lamb Shank (Xocopili Demi). This was the piéce de résistance. This was the dish where you stand atop your table and scream wild shouts of praise to the chef. Really. It was that good!
Oh! I am sooooo regretting that second chocolate soft roll.
Knowing that we still had dessert coming our way, and knowing that we could never finish all this food, we begged forgiveness and asked Caprice to box some leftovers for us. As I write this; they are in my fridge. I’m looking forward to a most excellent lamb lunch. YUM!
As Caprice whisked away our plates, we both leaned back, rolled our eyes back in our heads, and held our stomachs. We weren’t completely stuffed, but we could clearly see the Land of Stuffdom in the horizon.
To our surprise, out came a glass of chocolate beer. “Chocolate Beer?”, you say. Yep! Rogue Chocolate Stout from Ashland, Oregon. Carol’s not real big on thick stouts, but I enjoyed a taste of this unexpected surprise.
It was now time for our fourth, and final course: Jivara Crispy Praline Chocolate Napoleon Chocolate Stout Sunday. Just take a look at this! YUM!
After our dessert, we began to reminisce about our delightful experience when up pops Caprice again with a most devilish look on her face. She announces that the chefs at Talavera don’t ever let anyone out the door without one last little something to remember their experience.
Look at what she brought!
Petites Fours! The plate was smoking from the dry ice (see it smoking to the left?) and was filled with Poppy Flower Marshmallows, Chocolate Financier, Milk Chocolate Nut Tart, Dark Chocolate Cannoli, Chewy Chocolate, White Chocolate Coconut Truffle, and of course Valrhona Chocolate Squares.
We were so full, there was just no way for us to eat these. Therefore, they are sitting in the fridge right next to my boxed up cocoa lamb chops.
Yabba Dabba Do!
This was a remarkable experience. The food was outstanding, the romantic setting above the twinkling lights of Scottsdale was spectacular, and the service was impeccable.
This Valrhona Chocolate Dinner was out of this world, and definitely lived up to the infamous Four Seasons name. My advice to you is to get yourself a reservation the next time the restaurant Talavera decides to roll out one of these special events. You won’t soon forget it.