Last night we trudged through the slush for an event I’ve been looking forward to for a long time – a chocolate dinner at La Laiterie ( 186 Wayland Ave). Jeremy and I have long been planning a large dinner featuring chocolate in all the courses, so when I saw the event on their newsletter, I knew we had to see how the creative and talented folks at La Laiterie did it.
La Laiterie has received a lot of press, national and local, so you might have already heard of it. It’s a small restaurant attached to Farmstead, an artisanal cheese shop in Providence’s Wayland Square. About four years ago, when I used to live less than a block away, Kate and Matt Jennings took over a little shop called “The Cheese Shop” (which seemed to sell more condiments than cheese) and transformed it into one of the best cheese stores in the northeast. It’s definitely a must-see if you’re visiting Providence.
This dinner was held in conjunction with Taza Chocolate, a Boston-area chocolate producer. We heard about Taza over a year ago, when we went to one of their “chocolate lounge” evenings in Cambridge. In their Somerville factory, they grind the beans using a Mexican stone grinder, producing delicious organic bars.
I had to sneak a picture – this is the seared tuna with chevre-stuffed dates and yankee grits
After a reception in the cheese shop, we sat down to a delicious – and educational – 5 course dinner. I won’t go into every course in detail, but here are some highlights: (click to read more)
We started off with a frisse-based salad. Integrating chocolate into a salad seems like a challenge, but the earthiness of sunchokes and walnut oil brought it together well.
When the second course, a grilled cheese with robiola and chocolate, came out, I was intruiged by what looked like a small pile of sea salt. I sneaked a taste, and my tastebuds jumped for joy – it was a pile of truffle grains! I also loved the pairings of a bitter radicchio salad and a kumquat marmalade.
Another highlight was the chevre-stuffed dates on bacon and almond grits. This was topped with cocoa nib-crusted seared tuna. I love seared tuna, but I was so fixated on the dates, grits and creamy chocolate sauce that I could have easily just eaten those.
If you’re curious about the rest of the dinner, which I assure you was delicious, check out the menu (PDF).
La Laiterie’s space is the perfect size for a special event like this. Various Farmstead-ers talked about the food and drink pairings while Alex from Taza told us about the chocolate process, from sourcing the beans to grinding them with the traditional molino. It was very intimate, like dining with friends – the perfect way to spend a chilly winter evening.