The Jakarta Post
'Samurai' chocolate dessert created by pastry chef Yusuke Aoki of Four Seasons Bali at Jimbaran Bay (Four Seasons Bali/File)
While chocolate connoisseurs are certainly familiar with Valrhona, the best dessert chefs out there are very much aware of the Valrhona Chocolate Chef Competition ( C3 ). The latest C3 was held at the end of 2018, and the competition required each candidate to present an original plated dessert and petit four based on certain themes.
Last year’s theme was “Nyangbo 68 percent single origin from Ghana”, in conjunction with Valrhona’s celebration of the Nyangbo chocolate’s 10th anniversary with the brand.
Representing Four Seasons Bali at Jimbaran, finalist pastry chef Yusuke Aoki competed with seven other pastry chefs at C3, and was crowned World Champion, Valrhona Chocolate Chef for 2018. His creation was named “Samurai”, and the Nyangbo 68 percent chocolate was paired with cinnamon kombu ice cream, red wine fig confiture, fresh fig and a touch of Japanese sansho pepper that added a tingling and numbing sensation.
The Jakarta Post sampled “Samurai” at the invitation of Four Seasons Bali, and found that there were always different flavors in each spoonful of the dessert. Nyangbo chocolate as the star ingredient had vanilla notes, balanced with hints of bitterness and tartness. The taste of cinnamon gave warmth and aroma, while the slight appearance of kombu somehow reminded the palate of sea salt caramel chocolate. Meanwhile, the Japanese sansho pepper gave an awakening twist.
A press release sent to the Post explained that to perfect “Samurai”, Yusuke spent over three months making more than 50 trial plates before getting the right technique, desired flavors and presentation.
Prior to the final, Yusuke won Indonesia’s Best Pastry Chef title at the Salon Culinaire 2018 and then the Asian Valrhona C3.
The next challenge Yusuke now faces is developing his own 64 percent organic Bali chocolate.
“We started serving a homemade VIP chocolate amenity with bonbons and tablets made from our homemade chocolate, [but] we are still in trial and error looking for a good quality of organic cacao farm where they can source organic cacao beans,” Yusuke told the Post in an email.
He went on to say that there was no plan to participate in any competition in 2019, but he might have an opportunity to be a judge.
“Samurai” is now available at Sundara, the beach club and restaurant at Four Seasons Bali at Jimbaran.