Text Raphaella Frame-Tolmie Photographs Gareth Jacobs Winters in Johannesburg are usually freezing. The kind of biting cold that reaches your bones. So, when I was invited to fly up to the Big Smoke for the sole purpose of tasting a seven-course menu dedicated to the new Lindt Excellence 90% dark chocolate, I packed my warmest pyjamas, because there was no way I was missing out! Prepared by chef Dario D’Angeli at his intimate tasting restaurant Cube in Parktown North, the Dark and Decadent Feast – designed to exhibit the versatility of the chocolate – was exceptionally rich and indulgent… just what chocolate should be. Thankfully, not every dish included a chocolate component, or the guests may not have lived to see another sunrise! Cleverly though, Dario didn’t limit himself to just the 90%, but also used the 70% and 85% dark chocolates from the Excellence range in a variety of the dishes. Working in conjunction with the Lindt team, headed by Lindt’s master chocolatier chef Dimo Simatos, the menu included items such as chocolate consommé with deep fried chilli mayonnaise, chicken skin crackling and chocolate caviar; foie gras and a smoked duck breast with an apple gel and mini chocolate puddings, and venison loin with a red wine and dark chocolate jus. We were also presented with a variety of delicious mini chocolate desserts, the star of which was an aerated frozen saltwater mousse, which used both the 90% and 85% Excellence chocolates to create a not-too-sweet sort of bubbly ice cream. Having tried the chocolate on its own too, it’s surprisingly buttery and smooth, and nowhere near as bitter as one might expect. The beauty of the new 90% Excellence lies in its compliance with other flavours and ingredients, which was evident from the dishes we enjoyed at the Dark and Decadent Feast… it plays nice!