Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Auro Chocolate Bar Crawl

One for the books! SO MUCH FUN!!!

Last December, I joined the Auro Chocolate Bar Crawl on its last run for 2019. If you didn't know, Auro is an international award-winning, proudly Filipino bean-to-bar chocolate company that sustainably sources cacao beans from local farmers. Through the bar crawl operated by Fat Girls Day Out, you get to taste Auro Chocolate in innovative dishes specially created by five of Poblacion's best. Of course, these can't be your regular dessert dishes, otherwise, what's "innovative" about that? What these bars do is infuse Auro chocolate into savory dishes and alcoholic drinks! Yep, that's right, drinks are included! So it's basically a chocolate-filled food and drink pairing, a guaranteed one-of-a-kind experience you won't forget! ;)

What do you get?

Aside from the dishes that you get to try during the crawl, you also get to take home a couple of items: a cute reusable tote, a lanyard expertly woven by Filipino handweavers of PIOPIO, a bamboo straw to help you save the Earth, and an Auro chocolate bar (your official dessert!)

The Meeting Place

We were asked to be at the first stop, Khao Khai, by 4:30pm for registration as the crawl starts at 5pm sharp. My friend Iris and I were there by 3:30. Why? 'Cause she wanted to eat her favorite chicken dish, that's why. Haha!

First Stop: Khao Khai
Khao Khai is well-known for their chicken, but that's not what we were there for. For our first stop, we had fresh cut green mangoes with Khao Khai's 77% Dark Chocolate bagoong dip. I personally love dipping mangoes in bagoong, but this one's a whole new level! I was honestly shookt (is this how kids use this term? haha) with how delicious it is!! I'd totally buy a jar if it were for sale. :))
The drink served is Khao Khai's signature rum-based Bangkok Fire with added 64% Dark Chocolate on the rim! I personally found this drink too strong (hello, first stop palang!!) so I focused my attention more on the mangoes and dip. Hehe :P

Second Stop: Lampara
Out of the five bars we were visiting, Lampara is the only one I've been to before (and we all super loved the food!) For the crawl, they ushered us to the sort of glass room with loads of natural light, pretty cozy for parties and what not. Since we were early, we had the entire place to ourselves! I highly recommend having an early dinner if you want to enjoy a more quiet atmosphere (before all the tugsh tugsh haha)

When the food finally came out, I was over the moon! To be honest, prior to joining this crawl, I had no idea what food each stop was going to serve. I know the team gives out a list, but I didn't really bother reviewing it as I wanted to be surprised. 

Lampara served us their Slow-Cooked Pork Belly (which they prepared sous vide for over 14 hours) and topped it with cacao nibs from Auro Chocolate. This one is a burst of flavor and texture as you can enjoy the crunchy mantou, the tender and juicy pork belly, and of course, the bitter cacao nibs all in one bite.

They paired the pork with their Chocolate-infused Jim Beam Negroni. The team suggested taking a bite of the pork then alternately, a sip of the negroni. The Negroni will cleanse your palate from the rich flavor of the pork belly.

Third stop: Polilya
I LOVE this place! Sobrang ganda and sobrang chill! I don't know if this counts as a good thing, but since the bar crawl happened on the 27th of December, a lot of people were in the provinces or spending the holidays out of the country, so Poblacion was pretty much a ghost town. Everywhere we went, kami lang tao (or maybe we were just early). I personally enjoyed it since I don't like being in crowded places; but at the same time, if you went with your friends that day (or around the same time as we did), mabobore kayo for sure. 

I had a blast at the crawl though. I didn't expect for the food to be that good. At Polilya, we had deep fried Hainanese chicken topped with mole infused with 77% dark chocolate, kesong puti, and cilantro. I haven't had anything like this before. I seriously regret eating it all in one bite, since one piece is really all you get. HAHA. I want more please.
For the drink, they served us a 32% white chocolate margarita, which was sooooo delicious!! I love white chocolate, so huge huge thumbs up for this!

Fourth stop: Alamat
Despite the long waiting time, one of my favorites that night was Alamat. They served us Tiyula sa Itum, which I've only ever had at Palm Grill in Tomas Morato. It's braised rib finger in burnt coconut and auro tablea, ensaladang Adlai at talong, and Auro cacao nibs. This one came straight from the grill so it was still warm when I bit into it. I look forward to having it again once Alamat officially adds it to their menu.
The drink was very chocolatey, basically dessert in a glass - Auro Plata, gin, white rum, pandan, cacao liquor, and chocolate sauce. I almost licked all that chocolate on the rim too..

Fifth stop: Pedro Tap House
How does one end a bar crawl? With comfort food!! Pedro Tap House was the PERFECT last stop since they served us Auro Cholate Chili Cheese Dog. And no, they didn't stuff the bread with chocolate. They just elevated regular cheese sausages with chocolate chili - I mean, how do people come up with these things, seriously?? 
The soft buttery brioche buns are toasted and encase the cheese sausages, topped with Chocolate Chili, and finished of with melted cheddar cheese.

And since Pedro Tap House is known for its craft beers, they served us their special Auro Midnight Stout! Pedro Brewcrafters Space Out Coffee Stout is poured into a glass with a splash of Bourbon, then topped with a mixture of whipped cream and melted 55% Dark Chocolate from Auro gently folded in. This drink is designed so you get all the chocolate aroma while enjoying a sweet, boozy kick from the bourbon and stout. Take a sip in between bites of the Chocolate Chili Dog for a great pairing experience.

Of course, none of this would have been possible without Auro Chocolate. This crawl is quite possible every chocolate and alcoholic lovers' dream rolled into one. What a great experience. I can't wait for the next run!!

P.S. Each bar also offered vegetarian options - see them here.
P.P.S. Unfortunately, the first batch of crawls officially ended last January 31. The good news is, they'll be doing the second batch (with a new set of bars/restaurants) this April! To those looking to take part, I suggest following Auro Chocolate and Fat Girls Day Out for updates! :)

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