Chocolate Extravaganza: What Goes Into Making a Chocolate Buffet
By Teresa Tobat
The decadent chocolate fountain at Four Seasons Atlanta.
If you think of yourself as a true chocolate lover, you have a chance every Friday through the end of March to really prove yourself. Each Friday in March, the Four Seasons Atlanta serves an all-you-can-eat chocolate buffet. More than 20 chocolate treats, all created at the hotel’s restaurant Park 75, are available, alongside live music and a different celebrity guest each week.

Flavors NOW spoke to the chefs behind the buffet and tracked down some facts and figures about the buffet to give you the inside scoop on what it really takes to put on a chocolate buffet.

Guests enjoying the night Frank Ski (of V103 FM) served as celebrity host.
Q&A With the Chefs Behind the Buffet

What is the theme of this year’s chocolate buffet? What does the menu feature?

Park 75’s Pastry Chef Charles Barrett: The idea for this year was to do a nostalgia-themed event with classic sweets that we grew up with as children re-imagined. We use Swiss Rolls, Nutty Buddys, Twinkies, red velvet cakes, and we’ll also feature our classics like chocolate chip cookies, white chocolate shortbread, chocolate waffles.  We’re also featuring an anti-griddle where we are making frozen treats to order.

Why was this started?
Park 75’s Executive Chef Robert Gerstenecker: It’s a wonderful event. We have great talent in our pastry department and really wanted to introduce it to the late-night market. The people who go the opera, theater, and once that is over, they have somewhere to go. I’ve worked in other cities, where stuff opens at 9 p.m. Atlanta really doesn’t have that.

Chocolate covered pretzel rods.
What do you enjoy about putting this on?
RG: It’s a good opportunity to try out different ideas, and new ways to look at things. Our event is uniquely American. When people think chocolate, they think European pralines, truffles, and those are great. But we want to remind people that just because it’s not European doesn’t make it any less than amazing.

CB: I like the aspect of people getting excited about it. It brings people to the Four Seasons, and breaks down the hotel/restaurant barrier that we face in the industry. Shows then were having fun, shows people that they can enjoy themselves.

What is the atmosphere of the buffet like?
CB: Guests turn into kids when they come in the hotel. Pile it as high as they want to. They kind of lose control after a while. That’s part of the excitement. It’s meant to be a relaxing environment. It turns into a very energizing experience.  

Why should Atlanta residents attend the chocolate buffet?

RG: For the fantastic experience. We use very fresh, flavorful ingredients with many different textures, flavors, temperatures. For you to have this many different tastes at a meal, you’d have to go to ten different places.

CB: Part of our ability as a hotel is to produce and put this type of product in front of people. This is a showcase of the number of items we can put in front of people because we have the resources to make that happen. Reminder to say we can do a lot of fantastic, exciting things.

Chocolate Buffet Facts and Figures
On average, 150 people attend each chocolate buffet.
Park 75 will use approximately 6oo pounds of chocolate throughout March.
A total of ten chefs and culinary staffers work together to put on a single buffet.
The two chocolate fountains at the buffet each use about two gallons of chocolate per night.
*Facts and pictures provided by Chef Gerstenecker.

The chocolate buffet is available every Friday through March 30 from 9 p.m. to midnight. Tickets are $30 per person. Valet parking is included.

Park 75 Lounge and Terrace
Located inside the Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta
75 Fourteenth Street
Atlanta, GA 30309