Where Local and Global Appetites Collide

Oh, Chocolate Christmas Tree-Manhattan Beach

chocolate lust
Chocolate Tree

The first time I saw one of these, my mouth hung open.
I don’t bake but if I can do this — you can do this. Really. With the guidance of Chef Annette, think: Yes, you can!

A croquembouche is a spectacular tower of vanilla custard filled cream puffs traditionally served at French celebrations. This towering pastry is sold in top French patisseries and is originally held together with hard crack caramel. At the South Bay School of Cooking in Manhattan Beach, Calif. your cream puff tower of power will be held together with chocolate and will be decorated with a Christmas theme.

Each lucky chocolate-loving student will be guided along to make the impressive dessert to take home. Be sure to bring an appropriate sized box for transport.

What to drink with the chocolate tower of power?

Think champagne or sparkling Prosecco.

Go ahead. Impress your friends and family. The class is December 19. You could have a party that night and serve elegant appetizers and decorate the table with this dazzling piece de resistance. Then toast with champagne.  Make the beach a buzz with your culinary prowess and be the host with the most bang for your buck.

  1. The first dessert I created when I was working at Melhanna (on the first day of my internship when the owners requested “something”) was a petite croquembouche with a small tower of cream puffs filled with vanilla bean pastry cream and topped with caramel sauce (May in a Southern kitchen does not make for the most sturdy of hard-crack caramel). They added it to the dessert menu that, thankfully, changed every 2 weeks because after 2 weeks of cream puffs I was ready for something (anything!) else, lol.

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