R’s Rating : 5/5 ☆☆☆☆☆ : EXCELLENT (Poor / Good / EXCELLENT)
Nestled peacefully in a cove off the idyllic paradise of Bang Tao Bay in Phuket Thailand, this serene little luxury resort in the tropics is hardly where one would expect to have a chocolate adventure. However, where there is a chocoholic, chocolate can always be found and in this case the results of my explorations were pleasantly surprising.
When we found Anantara Phuket Layan we were seeking a nearby island for our first getaway of the year. The cosy luxurious comfort of the resort was exactly what we were looking for and when we arrived we realised that it was smaller and even more charming than we had expected. Nestled beside a small island that creates a tiny cove reminiscient of the hidden bay in the movie The Beach, smooth sandy shores are lapped by the gentle nuzzling waters of Bang Tao Bay and murmur with colourful hermit crabs and tiny running grey shorebirds.
It was only upon ordering our first meal – a poolside lunch – that we realised how special the quality of food was at this resort. That dinnertime my Dearest Beloved enjoyed a fusilli pasta dish that so captivated him he ate it three more times during our stay, and at the breakfast the next morning my eyes were wide with pleasure as I discovered the wonders at their breakfast buffet – with two things catching my attention more than others.
The first of these delightful gastronomic surprises was the extensive superfood section at the breakfast buffet, including all kinds of antioxidant seeds and nibs and superfood powders and berries. The second was the offering of freshly baked gluten free bread and creamy looking gluten free muffins.
My delight at seeing a superfood section in the breakfast buffet was unparalleled, and I set about enjoying their superfood selection of spirulina, rich fragrant cacao nibs and rice flake fruit cereal with goji berries every morning, along with the most incredibly soft moist and delicious gluten free muffins I’ve ever tasted. Put some icing on them and they would have been perfect cupcakes for any occasion.
Having the luxurious option of enjoying such healthy and energising offerings every morning was utterly brilliant. Like most people, I want to indulge while on holiday but also feel well for swimming and roaming around. The option of these muffins and superfoods meant that I could eat all that I liked without feeling the least bit bloated or unwell. What a treat!
It was the remarkable quality of these foods that piqued my interest in exploring more of the chocolatey options at the resort.
After trying the coffee chocolate offerings which weren’t the best for chocolate lovers (though may be passable for those who like a creamy dark cafe au lait), I decided to explore other chocolate options and discovered the chefs strength in creating rich moist chocolate brownies.
The brownie at the villa was different to that from the poolside bar, with the villa brownie a small round succulent cake like creation and the poolside bar brownie a rich rich rich dense triangular dark walnut waltz of solid strong chocolatey perfection. Dense and delicious but without any of the headache that I get from overly saccharine sweets. High quality and oh-so-moreish!
Then the piece de resistance arrived one evening after we had casually mentioned my love of chocolate to an attentive staff member. We returned to our room after meandering the tawny waterfront sands to discover an array of specially prepared delights awaiting us. Incredibly thoughtful and absolutely unexpected – a beautifully presented platter of chocolate dipped strawberries, dark and white chocolate balls, freshly baked quinoa chocolate chunk cookies and custard apples.
The chocolate dipped strawberries perched on a tray of sweet passionfruit sauce, accompanied by an iced orchid. Fresh and fragrant, they were finely coated in a crisp cloak of bitter chocolate with white chocolate swirls; the sweet tang of ripe natural fruit and breathless aftertaste vanishing like a scent on the wind.
The soft powdered chocolate truffle balls were indescribably exquisite! Approximately 60% dark chocolate in flavour with enough sweetness to set the tastebuds tingling amidst a velvety powdering of coco; the dreamy fluffiness gently melting into a gentle exhale of warm smooth silken cloud. An utter gourmet delight!
The white chocolate truffle perched prettily next to its smouldering sibling and melted sugary creaminess all over the tastebuds.
Finally there were the quinona chocolate chip cookies with dark chocolate chunks; tenderly chewy cookie dough amorously folded over dark chocolate chunks and baked to perfection. Quite a revelation and the quinoa gave a subtle texture. Definitely a home baked speciality! If these were on the breakfast buffet with the creamy gluten free muffin cupcakes I worry that we may never leave the resort again, and we and every other guest may be rushing to the buffet and ordering cookies on room service!
All too soon our days meandering along the peaceful shorelines were over. We had grown to love the curving bay and quiet currents of sighing water on the shallow sands, and the quality of the food – and chocolate – had quite captured our hearts.
The calming effect of the exceptional food and idyllic setting were only surpassed by the genuine staff smiles and the thoughtful attentiveness to details from the management.
And so we shall return, hopefully sooner than later, to watch tiny hermit crabs scuttle towards shade, enjoy the flash of tiny minnows in the glistening waters around our ankles, and once again bask in the serenade of soothing birdsongs as we sit at the little outdoor dining table of our villa sala, savoring the perfection of our daily brownie.
Fabulously eccentric TV host, curvaceous model and founder of Hong Kong ’s first luxury corset brand, Pearls & Arsenic. I love sharing my passion for all things elegant and live with my Dearest Beloved and a fluffy Angora rabbit named Lord Pemberly III, who is a ridiculous snob. Find me on IG @RavenTao or FB : Raven Tao
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