chocolate ravioli a hit at chocolate dinners

The bar was raised for Chef Chris Kopp and the culinary team at Prairie Ink Bistro to tantalize chocolate lovers with a special menu for the April 4, 2015 chocolate dinner in the Community Classroom of McNally Robinson Booksellers in Winnipeg and they did not disappoint!

The culinary team of Prairie Ink Bistro visited the Community Classroom. Pictured left to right are Pastry Chef Geoffroy Dextraze, Zack, Bryce, and Chef Chris Kopp.

The culinary team of Prairie Ink Bistro visited the Community Classroom. Pictured left to right are Pastry Chef Geoffroy Dextraze, Zack (speaking), Bryce, and Chef Chris Kopp.

We’ve been doing chocolate dinners in the Community Classroom as part of McNally Robinson’s education program  since November, 2013, and they have been a resounding success, selling out well in advance of the date each time.

April 4 chocolate dinner

But at the March 6, 2015 dinner, we were introduced to the new chef at Prairie Ink. He had never worked with chocolate to any degree. The meal we received at that dinner was good, but the main course chicken didn’t have the star power of the first course (cacao gazpacho soup based on recipe contained in Chocolatour) or the dessert (white chocolate cheesecake created by Pastry Chef Geoffroy Dextraze.)

Arugula salad dressed with white chocolate and candied cocoa nibs.

Arugula salad dressed with white chocolate and candied cocoa nibs.

I made a challenge to Chef Kopp to raise the bar for our April dinner and he and his team exceeded my expectations. We began the meal with an arugula salad with snow peas and strawberries topped with a raspberry white chocolate dressing and garnished with hemp hearts and candied cocoa nibs. It was delicious!

The chocolate ravioli at the dinner was over-the-top delicious.

The chocolate ravioli at the dinner was over-the-top delicious.

The next course was my favourite. Chocolate ravioli filled with orange, thyme, and duck finished with a Frangelico cream sauce. The ravioli were chocolate brown in colour and the decadent sauce was garnished with cocoa nibs, hazelnuts, and pea shoots. Chef Kopp later told us how labour intensive it was to make those ravioli, but  wow … were they incredible!

The cocoa-crusted baby back ribs were a showcase of how the savoury side of cocoa can enhance any meat, fish, or sauce.

The cocoa-crusted baby back ribs were a showcase as to how the savoury side of cocoa can enhance the flavour of nearly any meat, fish, or sauce.

The main course didn’t disappoint. We enjoyed two different treatments on the baby back ribs. I preferred the ribs with the dry rub made from a blend of espresso coffee, crushed cocoa nibs, and chilli powder. But the ribs cooked in a dark chocolate and cherry BBQ sauce were equally enticing. The plate was finished with chocolate balsamic roasted fingerling potatoes and mint succotash.

The chocolate mousse with creme aux Kalamansi was the creation of Pastry Chef Geoffroy Dextraze.

The chocolate mousse with creme aux Kalamansi was the creation of Pastry Chef Geoffroy Dextraze.

Pastry Chef Geoffroy Dextraze again impressed us with his ability to partner chocolate with something non-traditional. The 70% chocolate mousse contained a think layer of creme aux Kalamansi, made from the Kalamansi fruit of Southeast Asia. The tangy citrus notes of the fruit coupled with the bittersweet richness of the dark chocolate were nearly as beautiful a feast to the palate as the creation was to our eyes.

This menu was such a hit that we will have it again at our September 19th chocolate dinner in the community classroom. This dinner is sold-out, but if you’re interested in attending the special Valentine Wine and Chocolate Dinner in the Prairie Ink Bistro on February 14, 2016, don’t wait to get your ticket! You can register by calling Barb King at (204) 475-0483 or booking online. I’ll be your chocolate host for the evening, and am joining forces with wine expert Honoure Black to take your taste buds on a delightful journey you will never forget.

Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I'm currently researching and writing volume II of "Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate". Volume I was published in September, 2013.

40 Responses

  1. Tim says:

    Ok, really not fair. My mouth was going nuts even before I got to the photo of the dessert and then it was all over. I apologize for the brief comment but I must leave and get some chocolate.
    Tim recently posted…ApartheidMy Profile

  2. doreen
    Twitter:
    says:

    I know, Tim. Too bad you live so far away! these chocolate dinners really are exquisite, and the latest one was truly over the top!
    doreen recently posted…embracing the changing roles of our livesMy Profile

  3. OMG! Is all I can say! Not only are the pictures exquisite, but the descriptions are tantalizing! This may be worth a plane ride!!!
    Jacqueline Gum recently posted…Easter… Where’s The Justice?My Profile

  4. Chris
    Twitter:
    says:

    Wow, such creative flair.

    Were you involved in establishing the event Doreen?
    Chris recently posted…Yellowtail: Diving Little CornMy Profile

  5. Tracie Howe
    Twitter:
    says:

    Wow! I can’t imagine a full course meal featuring chocolate. It sounds very intriguing though! I still think dessert would be my favorite part, but it always is. 🙂
    Tracie Howe recently posted…New Orleans Day Trip #3: Avery IslandMy Profile

  6. Ken Dowell
    Twitter:
    says:

    While the dinner looks like a lot of fun I’m not so sure about the chocolate ravioli. The ribs, on the other hand, look awesome.
    Ken Dowell recently posted…DesertMy Profile

  7. susan cooper
    Twitter:
    says:

    These chocolate dinners sound like so much fun. Wish i could go! 🙂 I love raviolis any way. Stuff em with some chocolate and I’d be over the moon I’m sure.

    • doreen
      Twitter:
      says:

      Susan, the cocoa was mixed into the pasta, to give the ravioli a chocolate appearance. White chocolate was the based of the truly decadent sauce, but none of it was sweet. It was truly magnificent. As I said to Ken, I’m going to see if I can get the culinary team at Prairie Ink Bistro to share the recipe with my readers in the second volume of Chocolatour. Stay tuned!
      doreen recently posted…embracing the changing roles of our livesMy Profile

  8. Lenie
    Twitter:
    says:

    Wow, Doreen, you are singlehandedly going to convert the world to chocolate, aren’t you. These dinners sound fabulous, too bad they are only happening in Winnipeg. I would have loved to have tried that ravioli. Maybe that recipe will be in your next book,.

  9. Oh.My.Goodness. I would have just died and gone to heaven! It all sounds delicious and unique. I wish I could come visit for the next one!
    Meredith recently posted…How to Puppy-Proof your HomeMy Profile

  10. sally munt says:

    It sounds a bit gross but amazing at the same time! I would definitely give it a try! I would love to give the recipe a try 🙂
    sally munt recently posted…How to survive the Full Moon Party and do it cheaplyMy Profile

  11. Rachel
    Twitter:
    says:

    Your posts always make my mouth water, Doreen! I’ve been trying to convince my dinner club to do a chocolate dinner, but they always vote me down. I’ll show them this when we next meet (Caribbean theme this time, since I’ll be just back from the Caribbean) and see if this doesn’t convince them!
    Rachel recently posted…The night noises of GuadeloupeMy Profile

  12. Drooling right now! So for tonight, I’m going to dream of chocolates and that epic chocolate dinner! YUM!
    Anne recently posted…8 Basic Etiquette and Tips for Bus Chance PassengersMy Profile

  13. Thank you for sharing this with us. I think I gained 10 pounds just reading it.

  14. andleeb says:

    The food seems super delicious and decoration is also amazing. You have described it as if I was enjoying food myself.

    Great to see new website as well.

    All the best with coming chocolate dinners of McNally Robinson’s education program.
    andleeb recently posted…Rainbow : #Childhood Memories.My Profile

    • doreen
      Twitter:
      says:

      Thanks so much for your comment, Andleeb. I’ve actually had this 3rd site for awhile now, but never have time to publicize it. So it is my plan to amalgamate my 3 blogs into one, and have tabs for the writer’s lifestyle blog, the travel blog, and all my Chocolatour activities–including these wonderful chocolate dinners at McNally Robinson and abroad.
      doreen recently posted…chocolate ravioli a hit at April 4th dinnerMy Profile

  15. I don’t know if I could eat an entire dinner of chocolate. The salad looks fantastic I ‘d devour that in a New York Minute. The food presentation is beautiful I especially like the dessert. The bittersweet and citrus must have been heaven. Now that’s all low calorie, right?
    Pamela Chollet recently posted…PERSONALITY QUIZ: Are you Anxious or Relaxed?My Profile

  16. Beth Niebuhr
    Twitter:
    says:

    What decadent fun! All of those dishes look and sound so tasty! I would love to attend a dinner like that!
    Beth Niebuhr recently posted…Why Women Don’t BuyMy Profile

  17. Well I know I’m something of a freak but I’m probably the only woman I know who isn’t a chocolate fan. That said, I do enjoy a fine dining experience and the dishes you shared look marvelous. How wonderful to be able to experience this on a monthly basis!
    Marquita Herald recently posted…Surviving the Middle MileMy Profile

  18. TammyJo Eckhart
    Twitter:
    says:

    We did a chocolate themed dinner a few years back. It was part of a chocolate themed city tourism tour.
    TammyJo Eckhart recently posted…Why Improve on Great Gourmet Marshmallow?My Profile

  19. TammyJo Eckhart
    Twitter:
    says:

    We went on the Wayne County Chocolate Trail in Indiana in 2011. I’m not sure it is still around.
    TammyJo Eckhart recently posted…Why Improve on Great Gourmet Marshmallow?My Profile

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