Monday, January 19, 2009

Cafe Chocolate (Lititz) 09

I've been slow to write of this place because it is hard to categorize much about it. It is quite unique in my experience with a general concentration on organic ingredients and an emphasis on chocolate of which more in a moment. The owner, Selena Man a widely travelled Hong Kong Chinese lady married to an Australian professor at Princeton is an unusual character too.

Here she shows us her raw chocolate. From the moment we entered her restaurant she hugged me like a long lost brother and began to talk about her philosophy, what a wonderful country Australia is, the special quality of her chocolate, the international range of her menu und zo weiter. She managed to convey a great deal of information but, as the soup and main course arrived in quick succession and she was still talking, it was some time before we got to eating.

We started with a cup of her hot chocolate made from a 65% cocoa chocolate with no added sugar. Possibly heaven for the chocolate afficionados but I prefer more sugar. The West African peanut chowder with butternut squash and sweet potato based peanut soup ($5.45)

is as unique as the owner, so good I'm going to try it at home. Portuguese chicken, greens and brown rice in light coconut broth with mint and a touch of lemon

was another interesting combination though not as moorish as the peanut chowder. Less successful was the Mulligatawny with quinoa, napa cabbage, apples and vegetables in a piquant spiced broth. ($5.45)
We tried several mains - Lancaster Hickory smoked chicken ($10.98)

is braised for eight hours in apple cider served with a side of Moroccan style couscous (with organic raisins, apricots, cumin and paprika) is a superb dish the chicken moist and with great flavour -slightly sweet, gently smoky memorable and well matched with the couscous. The only problem with this main was that it was a very small serve - I could have demolished three of them quite easily. The South African traditional dish Baboti meat loaf ($9.98)

made with lean organic ground turkey mixed with organic raisins and apricot chutney baked in a light, moist curry custard was, again quite excellent but such a small serve. Th
e small accompanying leaf salad had a some ground nuts and a light balsamic and chocolate dressing was another pleasing accompaniment. For dessert we shared a Chocolate velvet Pot de Creme ($8.98)

a French classic served to royalty, part creme brulee and part dark chocolate mousse topped with organic whipped cream, organic raspberries and blueberries. Some added extra's include free wifi, and a small library of mostly travel guides, magazines and a few games and a range of specially made, no added sugar, high cocoa milk chocolates. Patrons are welcome to bring their own wine - I didn't notice if any corkage was charged. The food is intersting, very unusual and very tasty. It is on the expensive side, particularly as the serves are so small but they have plenty of customers when we have been there. They are into supporting the local farmers, although their bread comes from California!, and have lots of gluten free and vegan meals. They also support a charity providing clean water for children in a third world country - they really are very nice.

Score: 14.75/20

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