On Thursday, the following notice appeared on Twitter and on the Irish Food Blogger's Association page:
If you'll be in Dublin city centre this Sunday, why not let Haagen-Daz and The Exchequer treat you? Award-winning mixologist Darren Geraghty has created a special dessert cocktail for Valentine's Day - The Haagen-Daz Loving Cup. Darren will be on duty to demo the cocktail between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. We have 5 pairs of tickets to give away. First come, first served!
Of course I immediately sent off an email in the hope of securing a spot to try this intriguing dessert/cocktail combination. I was sent back an email telling me to head along to The Exchquer Bar on Sunday at 3pm with a friend and ask for Darren Geraghty. So yesterday afternoon myself and my friend Michelle did just that.
We arrived and soon located the lovely Darren, who is an award winning mixologist, in the Exchequer's back bar dishing out the Loving Cup to other lucky couples. We were immediately made welcome and asked did want anything savoury to eat before tackling the dessert. We decided to dive right in to the sweet stuff.
Darren behind the bar
Darren brought us out a large glass goblet containing two scoops of Häagen-Dazs' new flavour; Chocolate Pralines and Caramel, flanked by a small jug of coffee, a small jug containing a mixture of coffee and citrus liquers and two spoons as this dessert is to share with a friend or lover.
He explained that his inspiration behind the Loving Cup is the traditional Italian Affogato, a combination of ice cream and fresh coffee, but with a new twist - namely the citrus flavours.
Darren then showed us how to put the dessert together so that we could make it at home too. First he added some fresh orange zest to the top of the ice cream.
He then poured over the shot of espresso coffee that slightly melts the ice cream and brings out the flavours of the caramel and the orange zest.
Finally, Darren poured on the alcohol portion of the dessert; consisting of a shot of Patrón XO coffee liquer and half a shot of Cointreau. He mentioned that you could substitute in Kahlua and Limoncello if that's what you have at home.
That's it! A delicious, romantic dessert for two with minimum effort but maximum impact. Myself and Michelle dived in and both us really enjoyed the balance of flavours between the chocolate, coffee and orange. We soon made short work of it.
Michelle with the remains of our Loving Cup
While we were there, we had a great chat with Darren about cocktail making, the use of local produce in their cooking and how we both learnt to make a proper Cosmopolitan in the Octagon Bar of the Clarence Hotel. We also got to try one of their other cocktails, a Cucumber and Mint Daiquiri.
These were incredibly refreshing and we could both imagine drinking them after a long day at work in the summer.
We had a lovely time at the Exchequer Bar, and having seen some of the food going by (and knowing that they are recommended by The Bridgestone Guide) we will definitely be returning in the not too distant future.
The Häagen-Dazs Loving Cup will be sold in the Exchequer Bar for one night only, tonight 14th February. Price €10.