Female. Lives in United States/Illinois/Chicago, speaks English. My interests are Food, Restaurants, Cooking, Baking/Travel, Dining Out, Raising Children.
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United States, Illinois, Chicago, English, Female, Food, Restaurants, Cooking, Baking, Travel, Dining Out, Raising Children.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

The Chocolate Buffet at The Peninsula Hotel

My parents celebrated their 35th anniversary when they were in town last week. I figured that 35 years warranted a special celebration and hoped to plan something a little bit unique for them. I chose the Chocolate Buffet at the Peninsula Hotel for an evening out.

In my mind, The Peninsula is one of Chicago’s most beautiful hotels. It’s stately and ornate without being gaudy and the staff makes you feel special and well-cared-for from the minute you walk in. Each week, the Peninsula hosts a chocolate buffet in their lobby lounge. The lounge is beautiful, with lovely décor and large windows providing a sweeping view of Chicago’s skyline. The tables are decorated with fresh orchids and beautiful candles. Completing the glamorous setting are a terrific singer and jazz trio that do several sets of classic ballads and jazz tunes throughout the evening.

Now that you have a sense for the setting, we can get serious and talk about the chocolate. As you can see from the photos here, the Peninsula puts out an elaborate buffet of chocolate desserts on a beautiful candle and flower adorned table. Each of the desserts is petite, which is helpful because you’ll want to sample them all. The desserts range from the richest chocolate concoctions you’d ever think of to more simple treats like biscotti with a subtle hint of chocolate. As such, there’s really something for everyone here.

Our group enjoyed chocolate crème brulee, chocolate mousse, chocolate covered espresso beans, rich brownies, delicious white and dark chocolate cookies, petit fours, chocolate-covered strawberries, chocolate chip muffins, and many other bite-sized chocolate baked goods. In addition to the desserts, there are two urns of hot chocolate. One is a milk chocolate that is so thick and rich it is almost like pouring pure melted chocolate into your cup. It is amazing and unlike anything I have ever had. A small cup will do though because it is truly one of the richest drinks you will ever taste. The second kind of hot chocolate was a white hot chocolate that had a more fruity taste. It was much less rich than the milk chocolate one and it had a totally unique fruit/floral flavor.

My favorite things on the chocolate buffet were the hot chocolates. So unique and so delicious, I couldn’t stop with just one cup of each. I had to go on to a third cup to get another taste of the white chocolate drink. The only item I found disappointing on the buffet were the chocolate chip muffins. They were fine, but that’s all. Nothing too unique or special about them. So I recommended that my table skip the muffins and focus their eating elsewhere, saving the calories for the truly delectable goodies.

My parents loved the whole experience. My Dad, a huge jazz fan, especially enjoyed the music, and that added an additional layer of special entertainment to the evening. I was really pleased with our night out too. While the Peninsula itself can be pricey, their Chocolate Buffet is actually relatively reasonably priced given the wide array of delicious treats you can choose from, the beautiful setting in which to enjoy them, and the live music. The Chocolate Buffet is a very unique way to spend an evening and the Peninsula Hotel provides an elegant backdrop.

The Chocolate Buffet at The Peninsula Hotel
108 East Superior Street
Chicago, IL 60611
Telephone: 312-337-2888
Web Site:

*Reservations recommended; call in advance to find out what days the Chocolate Buffet is available.

Next time: One of my favorite pasta dishes---Easy but delicious, it's always a winner.

Feeling inspired? Check out these chocolate recipes.