Something is happening with food these days. Half of my coworkers tell me that cooking is one of their favorite hobbies. Food blogs are proliferating at a rate of thousands each day. More people than ever before are visiting farmers' markets. People are becoming interested and invested in food. And not just in food for sustenance. Food for fun.
Last weekend, I had the opportunity to participate in a revelatory yet revolutionary food event: The Brooklyn Chocolate Experiment. This was the most recent of the Food Experiments, presented by culinary duo Nick Suarez and Theo Peck, which have included the Brooklyn Beer Experiment and the Brooklyn Cheese Experiment. Together, Suarez and Peck have racked up their own impressive collection of cook-off accolades, though the Food Experiments are parties that they host for other worthy culinary competitors. Each event features one ingredient, and competitors create a sweet or savory dish to showcase that prize ingredient.
Last Sunday, thirty or so competitors created 300 bite-sized samples of their dish, and 300 hungry New Yorkers then filed excitedly into the Bell House, a concert venue in Brooklyn. Tickets were sold out online before the doors even opened, and the lucky ticket holders were hungrily idling down the block in anticipation of the competition. We filed inside to load our plates with culinary delights including a succulently tender lamb slider with harissa chocolate sauce, a dense and creamy chocolate cheesecake made with stilton, and even the "After-School Special", consisting of a mini chocolate chip cookie served alongside warm vanilla-infused milk.
We enjoyed the many competing dishes thoroughly, but our favorite by far was Roopa Marcello's perfectly balanced Thai Chocolate Ice Cream. She used a melon baller to scoop the rich, slightly spicy custard into a delicate chocolate ginger cone. She then topped the creation with crushed peanuts. I was truly impressed with the balance of flavors and textures in the dessert.
Tickets to the event included a glass of Brooklyn Brewery's famous Chocolate Stout, which everyone is telling me is even better this year than last. And while I had to leave the event early, the after-party included additional chocolate samples for those who weren't already chocolated out. The day was memorable, fun and whimsical, and I can't wait to buy my tickets for the next one. Events like the Brooklyn Chocolate Experiment handily remind me that people do care about food and that it can make us happier, one cook-off at a time.