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Sunday, November 21, 2010

San Francisco Luxury Fall Chocolate Salon 2010 - Review

I don't enjoy starting my day with a tea hangover, but that's what happens when you go to a 90th birthday party the night before, drink 100 cups of extra strong tea then lay awake gazing at the ceiling for 8 hours. Yes, wild and crazy me.

I had been looking forward to the SF Luxury Fall Chocolate Salon for weeks, one because I was giving a chocolate decorating demo and couldn't wait to check out the Fall chocolate scene. Two, I got asked to be on the tasting panel ( another feather in my cap ! ),  and indeed, I intended to take this most prestigious honor VERY seriously folks.

My Demo on How to Make a Chocolate Dessert Cup:

Arriving just in the nick of time (due to heavy traffic on the way over) , to make a quick scan of the joint and find a place to store my box of chocolate decorating essentials until it was time for my demo. I met up with salon organizer and mystery man "A", ( I was informed by him later that day, he likes to remain behind the scenes, hence you will not see a photo of him on this blog.  I did try to snap a shot and was immediately put in my place ). I was then enlightened to the fact there was no microwave to melt my chocolate for the demo ( the miscommunication was that there is one AVAILABLE but I needed to request it ).  "A" could not have been more accommodating saying he was sure the people in the building next door would let me use theirs, and so we trotted over and "no problem-o",  as long as I brought them some treats in return.

Me and Janet ( Twitter Mistress ) and Frank having a gay old time
where Fancy Pants? takin' the photo !
Arriving gleefully back with my pot o' melted chocolate, I had slightly lost track of time and entered in the demo room full of people without being fully set up. Feeling a bit frazzled I managed to organize my station and quickly get to it.  My demo was on how to make a chocolate dessert cup with a transfer sheet.  So happy to see Mercy ( Sugar Princess ) and Janet ( Twitter Mistress, check out her choco blog ) in the front row. And of course, the beautiful " Miss Fancy Pants" on the sidelines.

Off to a shaky start, I soon had the crowd laughing and enjoying the demo. I think I won them over by the end (or did I imagine that ? not sure ...). Whew !  Lot's of chit chatting after the demo ( great meeting Lynn ), then it was on to my very important task of voting on my favorite chocolates. I know, tasting chocolate after chocolate and having to vote on favorites sounds so grueling, poor me. I made several trips in and out of the salon with "Miss Fancy Pants" my side kick,  by my side, in a sugar frenzy and in no particular order. And you bet I bragged to anyone who would listen " I'm on the tasting panel" .

My Chocolate Tasting Frenzy;

Plumeria Flours

Starting with the delightful Plumeria Flours  showcasing delectable chocolate dipped Oreo cookies with a Hawaiian inspired motif, really, how can you go wrong with a chocolate dipped Oreo?  well you can't , especially if it's a mint Oreo with a chocolate plumeria on it. Moving on down to CJ's bites, chocolate dipped Pretzels, hand rolled in English Toffee.  Crunchy, salty and sweet, now that's the way I like it, uh... can I just have a bucket to go?

Clarine's Florentines
And if that isn't enough just mosey on next door to Clarine's Florentines. An almond brittle cookie of sorts with a splash of chocolate decadence (  a salon favorite of mine in the nosh department ), I kid you not when I say these are truly special little nuggets of deliciousness that will knock your socks off!  and would be most dandy with a strong cup of Irish breakfast tea.

If tea is your thing, and it IS my thing,  Tea Room Chocolate sports a jaw-dropping selection of tea infused chocolate bars fit for a queen with such flavors as Black Masala Chai, Green Earl grey and the list goes on and on. I love this idea and Raspberry Rooibos infused with dark chocolate is the bomb, and about that vintage packaging ? SO 'a la mode.

Tea Room Chocolates

And it only gets better ... 

Sterling confections was certainly a favorite in the confectionary beauty category. These hand-painted truffle "loafs" are so unique and astonishingly gorgeous. Each bar is hand painted with a modern flair and the chic, contemporary designs are most sophisticated. I love how you can slice off just the right amount ( for example a big slice for me and little slice for you ). Flavors include Banana Honey Caramel, Strawberry Orange Liqueur, Double Hazelnut Caramel .
Sterling Confections
Another most alluring favorite Gateau et Ganache, but I'm saving them for my next blog !

Saving the Best for Last :

Birds of a feather flock together, and flocking straight over to Vice Chocolates was no exception. Certain people ( me for example ) are drawn to things of a darker ( chocolate? ) nature. I knew these gals were up to something sinfully decadent and my fingers were crossed that whatever it was, I would not leave disappointed.  Once I finally got full view of the display, I was utterly bedazzled.  The boxed chocolates were like mini works of jewel incrusted chocolate art and the selection of chocolate bars almost too good to be true.

Vice Chocolates is the epitome what chocolate is all about for me; sensual, indulgent , magical, mysterious, intriguing, luscious, need I say more? ok, how about names like Vixen, Slayer, Violent heart and Punk 'n ( Punk'n being my favorite "truffle du jour"; dark chocolate ganache, pumpkin cinnamon,clove and nutmeg, oh my ! )  I told you these gals were COOL. Check out Vice at the Oakland Temescal Farmers Market on Sundays 9-1.

Vice Chocolates

What a marvelous event and such a great experience !  I just love the chocolate community, don't you ?
Here are some of the winners!
Would love to hear your thoughts and comments :)

BTW- I'm starting a new blog soon, and I'll be posting lots of chocolate decorating tutorials, product reviews and lot's of fun stuff here. I've decided to keep this one going too :)

See you on the flip side of the chocosphere 

~Katreece aka The Chocolate Addict

P.S.  Happy Thanksgiving !

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