Tag Archives: san-francisco

Theo Chef Sessions limited edition confections

The idea of limited edition is kind of like eating seasonally. Something that’s limited edition is less likely to be taken for granted, though you run the risk of turning it into something precious. Or, worse, a marketing scheme.

Thankfully, in the case of limited edition things that are actually kick-ass and that, when they become available you need to snap one up immediately, there’s the Theo Chef Sessions limited edition confection collection. (Say that five times fast.) Featuring collaborations with some of the top chefs from Seattle, Portland and San Francisco, this might be the only opportunity you’ll have to try things like carrot caramel, pine resin ganache or candied beet pate de fruit.

Theo Chef Sessions limited edition confections

Standouts in the collection were the Chris Cosentino (Incanto) agro dolce brittle, a crispy crunchy brittle with pine nuts, capers and currants. Your brain expects sweet and it gets salty and savoury. I wanted more of the Maria Hines (Tilth) tamarind lime chili caramel, with its juicy, complex flavour profile. And, featuring the most traditional flavours of the bunch, the creation from Jerry Traumfeld (Poppy) didn’t disappoint with the huckleberry pate de fruit and cinnamon basil white ganache.

This limited edition (whee!) collection is only available for Valentine’s Day, so get ’em while you can.

Disclosure: The lovely team at Theo Chocolate sent me a box of these, gratis.


Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival

I’m back and nearly recovered from a crazy weekend in San Francisco. The good kind of crazy, though. Like eating Meyer lemon sorbet from Scream Sorbet while basking in the sun. Without wearing my winter coat. In January. Southern California, you’re so weird and wonderful.

While I was there, I also had the fortune of attending the Good Food Awards and the Fancy Food Show. Talk about a great food weekend.

Back in Vancouver, I’m keeping cozy with sweaters and mittens. And, just in time to tide you through the rainy drizzle, there’s the first annual Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival. Included in the list of participating places are two of my favourite spots, Chocolaterie de la Nouvelle France and Thomas Haas Chocolates, plus new upstart Campagnolo Caffe and everyone’s favourite gelato place Bella Gelateria.

The festival runs from January 15 to February 13, and each participant is donating a portion of their proceeds to charity. How’s that for a win-win situation?

Read more about the event from CityFood Magazine or check out the event calendar.

Participating businesses:

San Francisco Fancy Food Show

NASFT San Francisco - street signFive years ago, I worked in a fancy kitchen store. The owners would take off every summer for the New York Fancy Food Show and come back exhausted, a little bit pudgier, and full of stories about all the fabulous new things we’d be getting in the store.

Well, last week, I made the visit to the San Francisco winter show…and I came back exhausted, a little bit pudgier, and full of stories. I went down with my sweet tooth, my eating pants, and comfortable shoes. Comfortable shoes, because with nearly 6000 exhibitors in halls of the Moscone Center, it was going to be an intense couple of days.

Amano Dos Rios barI wasn’t all that surprised by any of the chocolate offerings, though I did get a chance to finally try Amano Chocolate‘s Dos Rios bar. I tried a (then-secret) prototype of this bar last summer, and even as a prototype it was pretty remarkable: floral, delicate and tasting distinctly like bergamot. The finished bar is redolent with orange and bergamot, with just a hint of spice (nutmeg?) at the finish. Art Pollard, the chocolatemaker, touched briefly on the challenges of processing the beans while preserving the vibrant flavours. I can believe it; this chocolate packs a serious punch.

Poco Dolce double shot espresso toffee Poco Dolce‘s double shot espresso toffee squares were stellar. The toffee is crisp and crunchy but doesn’t get stuck in your teeth. The espresso, if you ran into it in a dark alley, would jump out from a dark corner, deliver a swift one-two punch to your forehead, and then run off into the darkness. It’s bold and brash and utterly delicious.

Happy Goat caramelsHidden away in a quiet corner were the folks at Happy Goat Caramel. If the logo and name weren’t cute enough for you, the caramels are really quite good. It’s a caramel made with goat’s milk and real vanilla. The goat’s milk provides a nice savouriness and slight tang to offset the aromatic, sweet vanilla. The finish is definitely goaty, but in a subtle, delicate way.

I also attended a Foodfete event where I met the folks who make Amella Caramel. The lovely 8chocolate reviewed these a while back, and I’ll admit that I was still pretty skeptical. Carrot cake caramel? Really?


Amella caramelsThe carrot cake caramel tastes like you took a carrot cake and stuck it in a transmogrifier on the “caramel” setting. It’s not too sweet and has a pleasant nuttiness. My least favourite is the black forest caramel, which tastes like a chocolate caramel with dried cherries, but not so much like black forest cake. However, the passionfruit caramel is sharp, tart and almost juicy. It’s definitely my favourite of the bunch. Aside from the fun flavours, the texture of the caramels is perfect – solid enough to provide a thoughtful chew, but without getting all gloopy and glommy in your back teeth.

Aside from sweets, I also ate my weight in cheese. Thanks to Amy for guiding me on my cheese expedition, and for posting her top 10 list of Fancy Food Show favourites.

The real San Francisco treat

When a friend of mine mentioned that she would be going to San Francisco for a few days, an alarm went off in my head. I immediately asked if she would bring me back a chocolatey care package, rattling off a list of chocolatiers and bean-to-bar producers.

Well, she did not disappoint. She brought me, among other things, a box of Michael Recchuiti confections. Specifically, she brought me a green box, with an intoxicating assortment of gorgeous chocolates: star anise and pink peppercorn, lemon verbena, and tarragon grapefruit, among others. And, of course, Recchuiti’s signature burnt caramel.

Egads, I love my friends.