Tuesday, October 11, 2011

And the Winner of this Year's Chocolate Championship Tour and Tasting is...

...the Mason Cottage takes 1st place in Cape May's 2011 Victorian Week Chocolate Championship Tour and Tasting.  This is the second year in a row that the Mason Cottage, Cape May Bed and Breakfast has won bragging rights for the "Best Chocolate Creation" during Victorian Week.
Chocolate Decadence, 1st Place Winner
The Chocolate Championship Tour and Tasting is one of Cape May's most popular events and took place on Saturday, October 8th from 1:00 - 3:00 PM.  The event is sponsored by Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts (MAC) and is offered twice a year, both during the Spring Festival and Victorian Week.  Tourgoers are offered the opportunity to visit several historic Cape May properties to sample and vote for their favorite chocolate creation. 

There were more than 170 tourgoers who came out for this years Victorian Week event. The 2011 competitors, as well as their chocolate creations were, the Mason Cottage Cape May Bed and Breakfast with their Chocolate Decadence, the Puffin (Fudgy Mint Cheesecake Bars), Summer Cottage (Chocolate Covered Strawberries), Henry Sawyer Inn (Chocolate Raspberry Cookies) and the Physick Estate Tea Room with their Flourless Chocolate Torte. 

Patti and Kim showing off their creation
This competition was a great way for the Mason Cottage to kick off their First Friday's Wine and Chocolate Reception which is offered from 7:00 - 8:00 PM (October - March) in the parlor of the inn.  This reception is in addition to their regular Chocolate Decadance Tea Time.  So if you are a serious chocoholic and you are looking to get away for a few days, the Mason Cottage, Cape May Bed and Breakfast is a definite must try.  For more information on the Mason Cottage, Cape May Bed and Breakfast, please call 609.884.3358 or visit us at www.themasoncottage.com

Mason Cottage's Chocolate Decadence
A dark, milk and white chocolate layered mousse with a caramel whipped cream

8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped finely
8 ounces milk chocolate, chopped finely
8 ounces white chocolate chopped finely
3 tablespoons Grand Marnier (optional)
1/2 cup cold water
2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
10 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups half & half
3 and 1/2 cups chilled whipping cream
*  You will also need a piping bag 

Combine 1/2 cup water and gelatin in small bowl. Let stand until gelatin softens, about 10 minutes.

Place each chocolate in 3 separate medium bowls along with a separate spatula for each bowl.

Beat yolks and sugar in large bowl until mixture is pale yellow and very thick, about 5 minutes. 

Bring half and half just to a simmer in heavy large saucepan. Gradually whisk hot half & half into beaten egg mixture. Return mixture to same saucepan. Stir over medium heat until custard thickens and leaves path on back of spoon when finger is drawn across, about 3 minutes (do not boil). Remove custard from heat. Add softened gelatin; stir until gelatin dissolves. Strain mixture into large glass measuring cup. Immediately pour 1/3 of hot custard over each. Stir each chocolate with separate spoon until melted and smooth. Add Grand Marnier to white chocolate mixture.   

If mixture cools before chocolate is completely melted, set bowl over saucepan of simmering water and stir just until chocolate melts. Cool chocolate mixtures to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

Beat cream in large bowl until stiff peaks form. Divide whipped cream equally among 3 bowls of chocolate. Gently fold whipped cream into chocolate in each bowl.

Pipe bittersweet chocolate mixture into clear long stemmed glass (like a champagne glass). Freeze until firm, about 12-15 minutes. Pipe milk chocolate mixture over bittersweet chocolate layer. Freeze until firm, about 12-15 minutes. Pipe white chocolate mixture over milk chocolate mixture. Freeze until firm, about 12-15 minutes. Cover with plastic and store in refrigerator until ready to serve. 

When ready to serve, top each glass with Caramel Whipped Cream:  1.5 cups heavy whipping cream, 1/4 cup powdered sugar and 4 tbsp Godiva caramel liquor (optional).  Combine all in a medium bowl and mix until stiff peaks are formed.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

1st Friday Wine & Chocolate Reception

The Mason Cottage, a Cape May NJ Bed & Breakfast offers Guests a 1st Friday Wine & Chocolate Reception

The Mason Cottage, Cape May Bed and Breakfast is offering their guests a 1st Friday Wine & Chocolate Reception from 7:00 - 8:00 PM in the inn's parlor.  This special reception is available to all guests of the inn on the first Friday of the month (October through March) and is included in the room rate.  Guests can relax by the fire, listen to jazz, all while enjoying an array of chocolate indulgences, such as:
  • ChocoVine, a French Cabernet wine subtly combined with rich dark chocolate from Holland
  • Chocolate beer and/or a variety of chocolate liquors
  • An assortment of chocolate covered truffles, caramels and cordials
  • Hand-dipped chocolate cookies, pretzels, dried fruits and nuts
  • Chocolate covered strawberries
  • An assortment of fresh Chocolate homemade baked goods
  • And lets not forget, the hot chocolate, chocolate flavored coffees and a selection of chocolate teas
The 1st Friday Wine & Chocolate Reception is in addition to the inns afternoon tea offered from 3:00 - 4:00 PM.  Plus, if you haven't had your chocolate fix by the end of your stay, the inn has thought of that as well.  Each guest will leave with a special Mason Cottage chocolate treat to take home with them. 

The Mason Cottage's Wine and Chocolate Reception occurs on the following 1st Fridays:  10/7/11,  11/4/11,  12/2/11,  1/6/12,  2/3/12 & 3/2/12.  For more information, please go to  www.TheMasonCottage.com

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

To All Our Vegetarian, Vegan and Gluten-Free Guests

By Patti Goyette, Innkeeper of the Mason Cottage, a Cape May Bed and Breakfast

If you know me, then you know I love food - Not just to eat, but to cook, bake, prepare, plan, read and discuss!  So, when a guest of our Cape May B&B checks in and express that they have a dietary restriction or food allergy, my heart goes out to them.  Not because they have this restriction, but because it may make the food world not such a fun place for them (at least this was my opinion before I started this project). 

THE PROJECT:  Try living one week each as a Vegetarian, a Vegan, and Gluten Free.   

Rule #1 - For three weeks, plan a breakfast menu each day and serve at least one item to non-informed guests:  Week 1 was a vegetarian item each morning, Week 2 was a vegan item each morning and Week 3 was a gluten-free item each morning.

Rule #2 - Go out to eat in the many Cape May restaurants and journal about my experiences, again week 1 as a vegetarian, week 2 as a vegan and week 3 as gluten-free.  (What I probably should have done was spread this journey out, but in 21 days, I decided to mess with my digestive system as much as possible!)  That said, I do not recommend this challenge, but I do recommend your own diet challenge.  Why?  Because I learned even more about food and loved every minute of it!  Ok, there were a few minutes in there that I didn’t love, but I adjusted. 

Vegetarian Breakfast Pizza
MY VEGETARIAN WEEK:  Starting out Vegetarian was not particularly difficult for me.  I enjoyed my own Cheese and Onion Quiches for breakfast, my favorite pasta dishes for dinner and of course, no challenge in the snack world!  Love Doritos!!  I discovered that any restaurant in town will be able to accommodate the Vegetarian and that there is one place in town that has the best Veggie Burger in the world!  On a side note, this burger is not acceptable on the Vegan plan as cheese and egg whites were used to make the patties.  I’ve also discovered if a bar is what you are looking for and you would like to indulge in a snack, Fried Broccoli is quite tasty, but I can't say it wasn’t fried in the same oil as that guys burger over there was.  So, if you are sensitive to that extreme, you may want to double check with your server or bartender.    

MY VEGAN WEEK:  Week 2 was a bit more of a challenge!  To be honest, I’m very unfamiliar with the Vegan world.  I’ve only had a few guests stay with me that are vegan and through discussions and trials, I discovered just how deep this lifestyle goes.  With that said, this was a fun and educational week.  However, halfway through, I must admit, I cheated.  Please don’t be disappointed in me, but it was a free dinner at the Lobster House and that doesn’t come along often when all of the factors (stars) align…free dinner, free ride, fresh seafood and well, did I mention it was free?  Ok, so I cheated.  I’m over it.  I discovered so many new foods that I truly love!  Tofu for one and Almond milk for another!  I started out with familiar things, like my loved Steel Cut Oats for breakfast and pesto pastas along with salads, sans the cheese and creamy dressings.  I also discovered a roasted veggie pizza that was AMAZING!  I also managed to wow the guests at Tea-Time with vegan cupcakes!

Gluten-Free Cake with Chocolate Frosting
MY GLUTEN-FREE Week:  Gluten Free (GF) was not as difficult as I would have first thought.  Aside from my system trying to get used to meat and cheese again, the GF pizza I made along with the French toast with GF bread and the Mediterranean breakfast sandwich were out of this world.  I also discovered that several restaurants in town have complete GF menus out for guests.  I for one was absolutely thrilled by this!  In addition, I've discovered many recipes for GF baked goods and I must say, the cake mixes were some of the best mixes I’ve ever used.  And if you know me, I am not in favor of baking anything that starts out from a mix!  The 12 people at tea-time certainly agreed that the yellow cake with chocolate frosting was delish! 

So there you have it, my 21 day project in a nutshell.  We would like our guests to know that not only are we happy to accommodate you for breakfast and tea-time, we are thrilled to suggest wonderful Cape May restaurants to eat.  We will call and speak directly to the chef and make reservations for you!  I recommend letting us know you are coming in advance and what your restriction is because we love to be prepared!  

Now, let me conclude by saying that this project started as a way to increase our knowledge about these “diet lifestyles”.  We love our guests here at the Mason Cottage Cape May Bed and Breakfast and if there is any way we can make their overall guest experience that much better on their visit to Cape May, we are going to do it!  However, I learned something much more – that even though you have diet restrictions or food allergies, the food world can be fun for ANYONE!  Now, when someone shares their ‘restriction’ with me, I get excited to talk about restaurants they should try during their stay and recipes I’ve come up with!

Please check out some of our favorite restaurants in Cape May that will cater to our Vegetarians, Vegans and Gluten-Free friends.

Vegan/Vegetarian:  Lucky Bones, Merion Inn, Bella Vida, Higher Grounds (serves many vegan breakfast & lunch specialties), Sean’s, Georges and Gecko’s

Gluten Free:  Lucky Bones, Alethea’s, Bella Vida, Sean’s, Gecko’s and George’s