Chocolate at the Pen
Buffets and “All You Can Eat” are enticing ideas to foodies. They’re child’s play, however, when talking about a chocolate buffet!
When I first discovered Chocolate at the Pen, I was perusing the Internet getting lost between cat videos and pinning recipes. That was 3 years ago, and each time that I’ve gone back since then has been the most amazing, talked about, take-out-your-phone-and-post-pictures experience.
Open after 7pm on Fridays and Saturdays only, the buffet resides within the elegant and regal Peninsula Hotel in the middle of a grand room with tall, thick pillars reaching up to the high, gold ceilings.
The windows look out onto a rooftop garden in the summer and onto an ice rink in the winter. I first visited the buffet during the inaugural snowfall of a season, and it was magical. Watching the sparkling crystals gently fall while kids ice skated on a rooftop with the smell of chocolate wafting around was truly a scene out of a storybook.
Now that I’ve set the scene, let’s talk about the chocolate.
In addition to the buffet waiting to be picked at, there is a sous chef with his or her own little station. The sous chef’s creations change periodically; I’ve sampled a lot of what they have, but my favorite by far is the hot chocolate.
Each cup is made from scratch, so you get to pick the flavors. A circular table is set up with divots around the edge with a humongous cocoa bean in the center. In each divot is a flavor of chocolate ranging from very bitter to extremely sweet. You can taste test the chocolate to decide what makes your perfect cup of hot chocolate.
The chocolates themselves come in a variety of forms such as: cakes, cookies, candy, and creams. Each one is so delicately crafted that it is a treat for the eyes in addition to the taste buds. When you first arrive the buffet, take a walk around the place before you grab treats so you’re sure not to miss anything.
You can also order a specially crafted chocolate martini, if you’re 21 or older of course. These drinks come in several flavors including orange, coconut, and mascarpone. These are the best chocolate martinis in Chicago so please, for the love of chocolate, do not pass on ordering one… or three. (please drink responsibly)
To complete the sensory chocolate experience, the buffet has beautiful live music playing each night. The light and slow music melts your heart at the same rate that the chocolate melts on your tongue.
I’ve got 2 crucial pieces of advice for anyone wishing to go.
- Go with someone that appreciates chocolate as much as you do.
- Share the desserts with them. Yes, share! The desserts may be small so as not to fill you with one piece of cake, but so rich that if you share, you’ll have more room to make sure you try each and every one.
No matter the occasion, if you’re celebrating a birthday, anniversary, holiday or even just a shared love for chocolate, The Peninsula of Chicago has created a platter gifted to you.
Chocolate at the Pen | The Peninsula Chicago
108 E Superior St
Chicago, IL 60611