Lacquered Duck in Chocolate Sauce

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Appears in

Real Chocolate: Over 50 Inspiring Recipes for Chocolate Indulgence

Real Chocolate

By Chantal Coady

Published 2003

  • About

This is Paul de Bondt’s recipe, which he demonstrated in his chocolate masterclass during the Eurochocolate Festival in Perugia in 2000. I was guest chef part of the time, when I was not being commandeered to do tutored chocolate tastings with the delegates of the ‘chocohouse’ school in another part of the building. Paul began as a chef in Holland, and then fell in love with Italy, the Italians and one in particular, Cecilia lacobelli. Between them they now own and run one of the very finest artisan chocolate shops in Italy.

Paul is full of energy and good ideas; he loves to brainstorm and shares his knowledge and enthusiasm of food, wine and chocolate with fellow professionals in a spirit which I find so refreshing. I have spent many inspiring hours in his company. Paul and Cecilia often prepare chocolate banquets and this is one of the dishes they might serve, although it needs plenty of time and planning in the preparation. My chocolate tapenade often features too (see Chocolate Sushi). Good accompaniments for the duck include: marinated ginger (bought), mixed with pieces of orange, orange juice and cooked orange peel cut in julienne strips, then served ice-cold in small bowls; fried soya noodles; onions and courgettes, stir-fried in a wok; curly raw leeks, all finished with toasted black and white sesame seeds.


  • 1 fine fresh duck, weighing about 1.5 kg
  • 50 g sugar
  • 50 g honey
  • big lump of ginger, peeled and sliced into little strips
  • 12 whole cardamom pods
  • a little liquorice root or powder (optional)

For the Sauce

  • giblets, neck and wing tips of the duck
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • small glass of dry sherry
  • 30 g unsweetened chocolate or very dark chocolate
  • cornflour (optional)


To prepare the duck, make a small hole in skin and blow up the poor beast with a compressor or a drinking straw. This lifts the skin, so that the fat underneath will drain out when cooking and the skin will become beautifully crisp. Cut off the neck and wing tips.

Make a thick syrup by boiling the sugar, honey and 300 ml water together. Then add the ginger and cardamom, together with a little liquorice if you can find it! Paint the syrup on the duck and hang it in a cool, airy place (not the fridge) until the end of the day. Keep painting it with the syrup whenever you think about it.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4. Place the duck on a rack over a roasting tin filled with water. Cook the duck until it is well roasted and caramelized, about 1½-2 hours.

To make the sauce, brown the duck neck and wings in a little oil, then add the onion, celery and carrots, and fry gently for a few minutes. Make a stock by adding the giblets, together with the ginger and cardamom taken from the sugar syrup and 300 ml water. Boil for several hours until it has reduced by half, strain off and skim any fat from the top. Now add the soy sauce, dry sherry and finally the unsweetened or very dark chocolate to taste. This is the most critical part of the recipe – add the chocolate little by little and stop when you can discern the bitterness. If it needs to be thickened, add a little cornflour mixed with cold water, and boil until the sauce is no longer cloudy.

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