A successful Death by Chocolate party means knowing your guests. Are they hard-core chocoholics, or are you just inviting friends for a night of chocolate-themed fun? Chocoholics might enjoy learning a new skill or making a chocolate treat. Less passionate types may expect a quieter get-together, with a few chocolate items on the dessert menu. A mix of good food, a compelling activity or game, and relaxation will make your event memorable.
A Death by Chocolate party will showcase at least some chocolate foods. Make sure one is unusual, such as chocolate-sauced pasta, or try a traditional Mexican mole poblano, a chicken or turkey stew made with chili sauce and chocolate. Rich and retro iced cocoa or chocolate bread pudding may be new to most people. Feature chocolate in all its forms, dark chocolate, chocolate drinks, cakes or cookies, and white chocolate. Or, ask each guest bring a favorite treat for a chocoholic potluck. If your menu relies heavily on sweets, don’t forget to have other food on hand, such as fresh fruit or small, simple sandwiches, to refresh the palate.
Depending on your guests’ tastes, chocolate-making could be the highlight of your party. Consider asking an experienced friend, or hire a professional, to briefly teach chocolate-tempering techniques, so guests can make baskets and cups, or fancy decorating such as piping or making curls, scrolls and cutouts. Or, consider a party project. Set aside half an hour for a simple activity—dipping fresh fruit in chocolate fondue or filling the chocolate baskets they have made with fresh berries. Or, host a tasting of fine gourmet chocolates. For a chocolate tasting, remember to provide the professional drink of choice: cold water.
Try a couple of old-fashioned parlor games. For Chocolate War, you’ll need a set of bulky winter clothes, a knife, fork, and plate, a bar of chocolate, and a die. Players sit around a table and take turns rolling the die. The first person to roll a 6 puts on the winter clothes, and then starts to eat the chocolate with the knife and fork. The other players keep rolling, and the next person to roll a 6 gets a turn to eat. The first person takes off the winter clothes, hands them over along with the utensils, and player 2 gets dressed and digs in. Everybody else keeps rolling for a 6. When the chocolate is eaten, the game is over.
Or, try Conversation. One player holds an ice cube in his hand, while the other player talks endlessly (about chocolate). If player 2 runs out of things to say, he has to take the ice cube, and then player 1 has to start talking. The game ends when the ice melts.
- The Chocolate and Coffee Bible; C. Atkinson, M. Banks, C. France, C. McFadden; 2008
- Parlor Games; Sara Dickerman; 1996
Nancy Yos lives, writes, and blogs in the south suburbs of Chicago. Her essays and book reviews have appeared in Commentary, First Things, and American Heritage, as well as in local newspapers. She is the Chicago Baking Examiner for Examiner.com, and freelances as an independent wine consultant.