Not having much of a sweet tooth myself, it was with some trepidation I accepted an invitation to Chef Eyal Liebman’s special Valrhona chocolate focused dinner at Playful Grounds coffee shop and bar on College Street. After perusing Chef Eyal’s L is For website I made the decision to open my mind a little and embrace the idea that it was possible to incorporate chocolate into each and every dish across an ambitious seven course menu.
Israeli-born Pâtissier Liebman clearly knows his way around desserts, having honed his art under Maître Cuisinier Didier Leroy and at many other kitchens around town (he currently works on Saturdays helping out at Bohmer restaurant)… but was most fascinating to observe his undeniable talents for the more savoury side of things. Incorporating seven different types of chocolate from Rhône Valley-based producer Valrhona, Liebman put together a thoughtful menu that was as attractive to look at as it was delicious on the palate.
Skillfully matching the dramatically different chocolates to the varied flavours and textures of the savoury ingredients, be they foie gras, lobster, salmon, or venison, Liebman more than impressed both myself and my occasionally hard-to-please dining companions. Also fascinating were the choices that his wife, Sommelier Rebecca Liebman, made when pairing the wines of Good Food Fighter Rosewood Estates‘ wines with the crafted and complex courses coming from the tiny kitchen. Selecting wines to match with chocolate can be a daunting task for even the most experienced Sommelier, but Rebecca pulled it off with genuine aplomb.
After experiencing the enviable skills of this Chef for the very first time, I very much look forward to his future culinary endeavours. He is one to watch, of that I have no doubt. Keep an eye on his website for information about further events.
Edinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution… And he was seriously impressed by Eyal’s kitchen skills and his magical way with chocolate.