[SG] Valrhona Chocolate x Gryphon Tea experience at The Knolls, Capella Singapore

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

UPDATE: Due to the overwhelming response, Capella Singapore is extending their Chocolate and Tea Experience to 29 May 2015, every Friday 4pm to 7pm at S$48++ per person. Valrhona-infused creations will continue to be featured, however, they will now be paired with Gryphon’s single estate teas: Pu'erh, Assam Hazelbank and the Darjeeling Gopaldhara, instead of their Winter Trio Teas.

Visiting Capella on a rainy and gloomy afternoon brought about mixed emotions as the silence of the venue echoed its grandness. Located closest to the Sentosa gantry, it is one of the most accessible hotels for guests driving onto the island. It is a getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city scene where one can finally seek peace and stillness. Following the clearly indicated signs, I arrived at Bob's bar, welcomed by their handcrafted Gryphon tea-infused cocktails and mocktails created especially for the Festive Chocolate and Tea Experience!

Being a super fan of chocolate and tea, I never thought that my favourite food and drink can actually pair each other perfectly! We always love these enriching food discoveries such as our last coffee cupping session where we got to learn from the experts. Such invaluable knowledge and experience is definitely beyond the broad and generic descriptions one may possibly find online.

I was privileged to attend the chocolate and tea appreciation class at Capella, which was conducted in collaboration with Valrhona, the world renowned French chocolate confectioner and Gryphon Tea Company, Singapore's leading tea purveyor. For this pairing session, we have the Valrhona’s Executive Pastry Chef, Vincent Bourdin and the Gryphon Tea Company Founder Lim Tian Wee to lead us. On a side note, Capella Singapore will be the exclusive retailer for their limited edition collections where diners can purchase at the Knolls.

Chocolate Degustation - Here are some tips on how to fully appreciate good chocolate:
  1. Observe - Look at the shine of the chocolate and the colour: these are unique to each chocolate and reflect the different beans used in its composition.
  2. Breathe - Breathe in the chocolate and immerse yourself in its first fragrances.
  3. Bite - Bite off a little piece of chocolate. Once it has melted, put it on your tongue. Then gently breathe in through your nose to take in every aspect of the aroma.
  4. Taste - Taste again and try to identify the aromas that are released one by one...

Understanding from Vincent that Valrhona only has one production site and produced in limited quantities, to ensure good quality control. This is especially so as cocoa tree is fragile compared to coffee bean tree where sufficient protection is needed. He went on to clarify the myths that many people think that darker chocolate tastes better and the percentage of cocoa affects its taste. Tian Wee also suggested that the right temperature to consume black tea is 80 degree Celsius, with Oolong 90 and green tea 90-95.

In order to fully appreciate the pairing, we first took a bite of the chocolate, melt it down slowly in our mouths before pairing it with tea after. This allowed the after taste to linger for a while longer. We then had another scoop of chocolate cream and mousse before another sip of the tea. The two elements complement each other to form a good balance as chocolate makes the tea smoother while the hot tea helps to melt the chocolate down our throats.

From left to right

Darjeeling Oolong Gopaldhara + Macae 62%: Pure Brazil

Tea tasting note: An exotic tea, exclusive harvest from the highland district of Northern India. Gentle profile on entry with a gradual increase of overtone dried flowers on the palate - definitely a rare collector's item.

Chocolate tasting note: Macae is characterised by exceptional melting smoothness bringing out the freshness and fineness Brazilian cacao beans has to offer. Charming dry yellow fruits notes layered with well balanced woody, peppery and toasted aromas, unveil a bitter-sweet and black tea hint on the finish.

Assam Hazelbank + Bahibe Lactee 46%: Dominican Republic

Vincent emphasized that milk chocolate can taste good too as long as they have good selection of beans and right fermentation is essential. In this combination, the tea flora actually brings the milk base taste to another level.

Tea tasting note: Expressive and broad aromas evoking fresh earthy notes with a hint of malt. The palate is strong and assertive with rounded appeal.

Chocolate tasting note: The silky taste of milk paired with intense notes of cocoa reveals the fun side of fruity tanginess, well balance with a slight hint of bitterness. Bahibe lactee is the perfect balance of dark chocolate, in the heart of milk chocolate.

Imperial Pu'Erh + Loma Sotavento 64%: Dominican Republic

The pure Loma Sotavento is very rare with only 2,500 kg produced yearly in the world with four points of origin, which explains its expensive price tag. Tian Wee chose younger Pu'Erh tea and not older as latter tends to have a sharper and overpowering taste where the former complements the overall tasting note just nice without covering the chocolate flavour. He also mentioned that good marriage (meaning chocolate with tea), is to have the right acidity coming through the exhaustive different sharpness. They also tried to avoid smoke tea pairing with chocolate as it would become overly bitter.

Tea tasting note: An intense, well-rounded complex elixir highly prized for its voluminous, sweet, mild and gentle flavours. With a demanding note which opens up soft gravity on entry.

Chocolate tasting note: Long on the palate, very balanced and chocolatey, Loma Sotavento accentuate round and light notes of ripe fruit with a hint of toasty aroma.

There was also a mini ceremony to have a cocoa tree planting experience on Capella’s verdant grounds! Vincent also mentioned that every tree supplies only one kilogram of Valrhona, so we can do the math to figure out the number of trees needed to create a carton of chocolate!

There is no better way to enjoy these luxurious high-end chocolate and tea in the form of decadent desserts! Partnering with Valrhona Chocolate and Gryphon Tea, Capella Singapore is delighted to announce the festive chocolate & tea buffet which will be held every Friday, beginning 21 November 2014 to 2 January 2015 from 6.30 pm till 10 pm at S$48++ per person. Not only will there be an array of Christmas-themed featuring Valrhona Chocolate and Gryphon Tea infused pastries, tarts and cakes, it also includes a welcome Gryphon tea-infused cocktail or mocktail, free flow tea and a take-home memory bag!

Chocolate and desserts will rotate weekly, signature highlights include:

Gryphon Jasmine silken pearl tea featuring Opalys 33%

This was indeed my favourite among all the other beautiful cakes in the buffet, as the burst of fragrant tea flavour was distinctly strong, marking a memorable impression.

Peanut yuzu pyramids made with Tanariva milk chocolate

Cognac Guanaja dark chocolate bunyols

Woo..I still remember this little fried chocolate ball which gave a pleasant burst of chocolate oomph in my mouth once I bit it, and the salted caramel sauce harmonize the sweet flavours in an elegant fashion.

Salted caramel squares featuring Bahibe lactee 46%

Chocolate tart with Caramelia whipped ganache featuring Pur Caraibe 66%

Chocolate "hamburger" with raspberry and mint featuring Manjari 64%

This cute hamburger-like dessert suits the kids perfectly!


I love the chocolate dip that was infused with alcohol.

Mango Pavlova with Ivorie chantilly and passionfruit coulis featuring Ivorie 35%

Orange carrot crème with coriander coconut crumble featuring Tanariva 33%

White forest with Opalys 33%

Although chocolate desserts sound heavy, the good thing about some of them is that refreshing fruits like berries and yuzu are used as ingredients to flush out the satiation resulted from the sweetness of chocolate.


I felt like eating this whole box of chocolates...

Gryphon Tea will also be launching three limited-edition winter 2014 collection: Chocolate Gingerbread rooibos tea featuring pure cacao, ginger and caramel; Winter Love black tea that contained forest berries, nutmeg, blue flowers and vanilla; as well as Strawberry Champagne fruit tisane which tasted like sparkling champagne.

I ordered a Chocolate Gingerbread rooibos tea to match the festive mood. Surprisingly, the subtle but aromatic flavour complemented the desserts very well, and helped to take off some of the sweetness from the desserts.

It certainly was a fruitful day where I got to learn a lot about food that I love and the memorable premium dessert buffet experience was just overwhelming. Dessert lovers must hurry down to this stunning place which offers a comfortable and quiet ambience where you can have a nice chat with your loved ones!

Photo Credit: Capella Singapore

Overall Verdict: 8.0/10

The Knolls
Capella Hotel
1 The Knolls s098297 (Sentosa)
6591 5046

P.S: Special thanks to Alison and Sarah for the invitation and the team for being such a great host! 

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