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Things to do and food to eat: November 20 to 26

People, places and things on our menu this week.

Chocoholics, here we go

Saffron, caramelised cashew, thyme... if you like a taste of the exotic in your chocolate, then nibble on the latest creations from the chocolate artisans ChoCo'a. Family-owned and passionate about taste, they have created a range of pure chocolate delights by combining the richest Belgian chocolate with mouth-watering Oriental and Arabic flavours. They now offer weekly creative chocolate art courses at their factory in Dubai. Chocolate lovers can while away hours decorating sweets and truffles led by their very own master chef decorator. But those of us living in the capital need not be disappointed. The recently opened ChoCo'a Abu Dhabi in Muroor is the latest choc on the block.

ChoCo'a Al Barsha, behind Mall of the Emirates, 04 340 9092; Marina Plaza Tower, Muroor Road 02 628 2411

 

A beautiful pairing

There are certain foods that seem destined to go together; cheese and bread, strawberries and cream, salt and pepper. The delicious and perfect pairing of oil and vinegar is a taste that whets any appetite and inspires your imagination; think beautiful Tuscan hillsides, olive groves, lusty lemons and ruby-red tomatoes bursting with flavour and nourishment from the Mediterranean sun. These oil and vinegar drizzlers designed by the quirky and innovative Carrol Boyes will make a statement in any kitchen where food enjoyment takes pride of place.

Oil and Vinegar Drizzlers, Dh830, by Carrol Boyes, available at Home Design, Mall of the Emirates, 04 323 3370; Ramesses Café, next to Cleopatra Spa, Wafi City, 04 324 0000; and the Majlis Gallery, Bastikiya Roundabout, Bur Dubai, 04 353 6233

 

Here's pie on your plate

No crumb is left unturned or uneaten with this pie slicer. A pudding lover's dream and a dieter's nightmare, it lets you slice, hold and serve effortlessly with one hand, thanks to the additional slideable scoop that picks up the entire portion and deposits it swiftly onto your plate. No longer will the scraps of your favourite piece of hot apple pie get left behind with this Edward Scissorshands kitchen utensil. Made of stainless steel and heavy-duty plastic, it's also easy to clean and dishwasher-safe.

Slide & Slice Pie Server, Dh85, Crate and Barrel, Mirdiff City Centre, 04 284 3151; Mall of the Emirates, 04 399 0125

 

One hot bag

When you're feeling a little peckish, what could be quicker and easier than rustling up a tasty snack in your toaster? Whether you prefer cheese, jam or anything else left over in your kitchen cupboard, these Toastabags promise to make the perfect toasty. Each bag can also be reused up to 500 times, so you can make as many filling selections as your heart desires or stomach dictates. Just prepare a sandwich as normal, then pop the bag into the toaster. It's hassle free and no mess, so you've got no reason not to indulge.

Toastabags, Dh50 for a pack of two, Lakeland, Mirdiff City Centre, 04 284 3460

 

Website of the week

What true foodie doesn't have a favourite Abu Dhabi restaurant and a favourite chef? Here's your chance to celebrate them. The first round of voting in the 2011 Abu Dhabi Gourmet Stars Awards - the third annual "Oscars" for the capital's hospitality industry - is well under way. Nominated already in 10 categories are more than 130 industry professionals and more than 50 outlets. You have until December 4 to vote at www.gourmetabudhabi.ae. Winners will be feted on February 17 at the Awards Dinner of Gourmet Abu Dhabi, which culminates the 16-day annual culinary festival.

 

Vive la France

What makes French cafes so unique? Is it the smell of the coffee, the fresh croissants or pain au chocolat, the view of the Eiffel Tower or Notre Dame? In Dubai, you might not get the view of Parisian landmarks or the vineyards of Burgundy, but you'll certainly get the taste of France at the newly opened Chocolat Chic French patisserie in the Marina. Serving up authentic cakes, pastries, crunchy baguettes and their signature macaroons, Chocolat Chic's French chef makes everything on the premises, invoking the romance of the country's gastronomy. Prepare to loosen your belt, as this menu will have you going back for seconds - or thirds.

Chocolat Chic, The Boardwalk, Dubai Marina, 04 399 0433

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Steamed Shrimp Dumplings

(serves 10 people)

Ingredients:

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Tapioca starch 25g

Spring onions 20g

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Banana leaves 20g

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Sesame seeds 50g

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