<<I wrote this last February but I thought you might enjoy hearing all about it. It’s coming back next month, so perhaps this will whet your appetite!>>
I have to say this was one fun day!
The first International Chocolate Salon in San Francisco was at beautiful Fort Mason (now part of the Golden Gate National Park and Recreation area). It’s on the edge of the bay with three old army piers and several barrack like buildings which are now a center for artists, artist collectives, museums and Greens vegetarian restaurant – fun place! Despite the misting fog it was gorgeous on the bay. I liked that they called this event the “Chocolate Stimulus Plan”.
My friend and I entered this massive hall filled with tables of local chocolatiers and related vendors, and a zillion chocoholics- what a mob scene!
For the next several hours we methodically sampled all the delicious wares and made quite a few purchases – here is our haul:
The big bags are Choffy, ground cocoa nibs that you brew like coffee. You get all the benefits of the wonderful chocolate flavor and antioxidants, this batch is from the Ivory Coast. I’m having a pot now and it’s really delicious and better for you than coffee.
Chris Michael from Newport Beach came up to sell his amazing bars, I picked up his Sizzling Bacon Bar, with bacon, fair trade single origin Venuzuelan milk chocolate and popping candy for a sizzling sensation, man this is good!
Of course Ghirardelli was there with their new (salmonella free) peanut butter filled chocolate squares.
Bill of William Dean chocolates was there describing in tantalizing detail his creative process behind making unique flavor combinations for his truffles. They are like exquisite jewels – lemongrass, Mexican mango (with habanero), rosemary and bitter chocolate, rosewater and semi sweet ganache. wow.
Jim of Sterling Confections created a huge triangular bar of truffle in delicious layers and handpaints the outside. You thinly slice the bar at your dinner table or let the guests do it themselves, brilliant concept, gorgeous and so amazingly delicious! My favorite was the pineapple ginger macadamia nut bar, although the Rocky Road was a close second.
I also met a 6′ Oompa Loompa, actually he’s the self-proclaimed King Oompa Loompa from Sacred Chocolates, in Marin of course. Despite being a complete ham he did not offer a bacon/chocolate combination (yet).
The gals from Foodzie, an online gourmet shop headquartered in SF, were there making custom S’mores with chocolate covered super thin graham crackers and homemade marshmellows. I plan to order some soon. Check out her wee blow torch! I use a plumbers torch myself at home and her “culinary” one looks like a darling toy. I’m looking forward to checking out their website to see what other goodies they offer.
Socola Chocolatier hit the home run for me with their bittersweet salted caramel truffles (Burnt Baby Burnt) and Guinness ganache truffles. They ran out of their guava truffles (Give it to Me Guava) so I plan to seek them out sometime soon.
Another interesting concept was chocolate slabs created specifically for pairing with wine. Brix has 40%, 60% and 70% cacao bars blended to pair with wines and as they are from Rutherford you know they are good at their job! The chocolate is in a huge block that you break up with a parmesan cheese knife or the like. We grabbed some wine from the new SF tasting room Winery Collective and did the recommended pairings, wow.
By this time my eyeballs were beginning to do the jig and we were flagging from too much sugar and chocolate, so we began to explore the art exhibits and other vendors. We ran across a beauty products booth, Sweet Beauty, based in Seattle. They use organic chocolate in their spa treatment products, dark chocolate body scrub with demerara sugar anyone? I bought a pot of their “pot de creme” cocoa butter cream, it completely took away the winter crepeness on my hands. They weren’t selling their baby balm but the gals there claim it is the best thing for the face during winter and their skin was gorgeous. It has a lighter scent and, of course, good for babies!
Another fun surprise there was my old friend Chris Scott, an amazing makeup designer who used to work for Chanel. He did my makeup for the Opera’s opening nights each year and has written a wonderful book about how to buy makeup from department & drug stores, and has a tv show and website now! He glammed me up good right there on the spot, I forgot how talented he is with mascara and eyeliner!
So with gorgeous eyes and chocolate in the corners of my mouth (quickly remedied) we left the festival and headed for nearby Chestnut Street for some protein and a bloody Mary at the Squat and Gobble cafe, then home for a long nap. I swear I had a chocolate hangover! I usually don’t eat a lot of sweets but am becoming quite a chocolate addict.
So that was my day of fun~ this year it is on March 20, 2010. Perhaps I’ll go! Anyone else up for it?