Planning Your Own Personal Chocolate Ball
Also by _moosetracks
Another year has come and gone, and that elusive Chocolate Ball invite must have gotten lost in the mail again! Really, you'd think that any Kiko with such a well-trimmed goatee would be able to handle things like that. Well, who made him the boss of chocolate-themed parties? We'll show him. This year, you and I are going to throw our own Chocolate Ball! It's really not all that hard to throw one anyway.
... Pffft, "do I know what I'm doing," of course I know what I'm doing! I've assisted Kelp's head chef, served under Chef Bonju on the Cyodrake's Gaze... And you remember my tour of Meridell during its 10th Birthday Feast! You were there with me! Right now, I'm in between jobs, but I've seen my fair share of Chocolate Balls. You'll be astounded at my know-how when we get to work.
First things first - your family and friends need to know exactly when and where this shindig will be. However, this can't just be any ordinary invitation; you've got to stir things up a little. Tell a few friends about the glamourous party you're throwing and ask them to spread the word. The informal word-of-mouth adds an air of mystery to your party. If you're daring enough, plant some rumors here and there about what the party might involve - a hot chocolate hot tub, live music on chocolate instruments, who knows? It's up to your imagination. A little fibbing is fine, but don't go too wild; you might disappoint your guests at the end of the day.
Then you have one of the most important elements of any party: the decor. No one's exactly sure how the Chocolate Factory is decorated each year (that's always part of the surprise!), but rest assured that you can deck out your home in a similar fashion without breaking your bank.
One of the best multi-purpose items for interior design is the Sandcastle Mold (or the more feminine Pink Sandcastle Mold). Fill it with chocolate, pop it in the fridge for a few hours, and - voila! - a gorgeous sculpture for everyone to admire. Plus, your youngsters will love helping you decorate each one with candies galore.
But that's not your only option when it comes to sprucing up before the big day. Ever made a string of popcorn during the holiday season? I bet you'd be surprised to know that the same can be done with Chocolate Gormballs! Hang the garlands around your house for one of my favorite chocolate looks.
Don't worry... any worms you find are also made of chocolate.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Well... This kind might attract a dentist, but these apples are definitely well worth a taste. They're a savory dark chocolate, the perfect compliment to sweet, creamy caramel dip. All you have to do is cut them up (without the trouble of peeling or coring each one), set the slices out on platters, and tada! A slight twist on traditional apples and caramel, and you have a cheap, interesting way to present your appetizers.
Strawberry Chocolate Fondue
Really the best way to enjoy strawberries...
Strawberries are tasty all on their own, with their tangy, sweet, fruity flavor. When paired with milk chocolate, though, the aroma is amplified tenfold! As delicious as sweet strawberries are, tart ones are best to dip in chocolate, since the sour of the fresh strawberry and the creamy, velvety texture of the chocolate balance each other perfectly and make for a delicious duo. If you're uncomfortable with eating strawberries (since I know there are Strawberry pets out there, and that would technically be cannibalism, which we try to avoid at any meal), you could try finding pretzels, bananas, marshmallows, or even pineapples to dip and devour.
Eat it quick before it cools.
Here begins the "sit down" meal, starting with a decadent soup made with heavy cream and the richest of flavors. It really is liquid chocolate, featuring a combination of dark, milk, and white for a fabulous depth of flavor. However, even for the most diehard of chocoholics, this dish will be a lot to handle. Offer to lighten it up a bit with an unusual flavor! I've seen this served with crumbled biscotti, assorted fruit, whipped cream, or even a chili pepper or three for that extra kick.
It's stuffed with shortcake!
Many of your guests will look twice at this dish. This will be your humble wow factor; who needs a fancy party full of snooty rich folk waiting around for some grand finale when you can drop jaws with a unique platter like this? The guests' reactions when you begin to cut this "bird" into traditional portions of cake will be quite comical (no Gobblers were harmed in the making of this main course). The chocolate's just an accent to the light-as-air shortcake found inside. Honestly, it's one of the fluffiest cakes I've ever had the pleasure of trying. This is something you're bound to hear compliments about for many Chocolate Balls to come.
Chocolate Cherry Bundt Cake
Chocolate... cherries... more chocolate... *drool*
And to finish the meal off, a good, classic cake will do the job. This sort of cake reminds me of my mom's baking - simple presentation and humble taste. There's no need for another bold plate, since the night will probably creep in by the time you serve this. And it's the perfect way to wind down the party - savoring a soft, moist pastry as you chat with your friends and start blinking away the sleep in your eyes. It helps beat back the sugar crash as well; what better way than to fight sugar with sugar?
Of course, the mouthwatering treats don't stop there. Take home gifts are also a must at your own chocolate ball. Let your guests take home something extraordinarily delicious to remember the fun-filled night for days afterward!
There's something so traditional and homey about jarred goodies, and these first two items fit the ticket perfectly! This Chocolate Mousse Jar Cake is an incredibly easy treat to assemble, and the moist cake pairs perfectly with that thick, creamy mousse. For those serious chocoholics, Chocolate Chia Jam is just the thing - guests can take this home and explore dozens of culinary possibilities. And last, but not least, a Chocolate Achyfi Lollypop is a cheap, delicious treat for your guests to munch on on their way back home.
Your gifts ought to be portable enough for your guests to bring home easily, but not so small that you come off as stingy. This is supposed to be a makeshift Chocolate Ball, after all! You've got to be extravagant on a budget. Really, though, those treats aren't too much of a hit on your wallet if you make them yourself. Even better, have a Chocolate Ball preparation get-together with your friends and family! This will make the hard work 21% lighter on your shoulders, and you'll need all the help you can get if you want to make a lasting impression on your guests.
So, with these tips and tricks, you'll be well on your way to a stunning personal Chocolate Ball. I hope -- no, know -- that everyone attending will have a blast.