Category Archives: Chocolate

Diana Henry’s Chocolate & Olive Oil Cake

Yes, this is the way this chocolate and olive oil cake is supposed to look.

Yes, this is the way this chocolate and olive oil cake is supposed to look.

 

I think of this as the Frank Gehry of cakes.

It’s all angular pieces that jut this way and that. It seems to not make sense or be of this world. But the longer you gaze at it, the more you appreciate its quirky distinctiveness.

Just wait until you taste it, too.

“Chocolate & Olive Oil Cake” is a recipe by the incomparable Diana Henry, the London-based columnist, broadcaster and author who has a true gift when it comes to food writing, making you see, smell and taste an ingredient or dish in its totality just from the words she pens on a page.

The recipe is from her newest cookbook, “How To Eat A Peach” (Hatchette), of which I received a review copy.

How To Eat A Peach

It’s a compilation of her favorite dishes in her menu notebook that she’s jotted down entries in since she was 16. These are the dishes she most wants to cook for friends, family and herself. They include such scrumptious fare as “Sea Bass Crudo with Radishes & Nasturtiums,” “Autumn Vegetables with Hazlenut, Roast Bell Pepper & Anchovy Relish” and “Arroz Nego with Romesco Sauce.”

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Recchiuti Confections New Collection For A Cause, An Afternoon with El Cajon & More

Recchiuti Confections' new Musical Jamboree collection. (photo courtesy of Recchiuti)

Recchiuti Confections’ new Musical Jamboree collection. (photo courtesy of Recchiuti)

Recchiuti Truffles Get Extra Artsy

If there wasn’t ample reason already to love Recchiuti Confections’ burnt caramel truffles, its new limited edition collection offers up yet another one: They are decorated with dazzling art by Creativity Explored, a San Francisco non-profit that gives those with developmental disabilities the opportunity to create and share their work.

This marks the 14th year that the San Francisco chocolatier has partnered with that organization.

The special Musical Jamboree chocolate collection showcases artist Kate Thompson’s whimsical comic book-like illustrations of musicians in full color on top of each truffle. Thompson’s artwork also was featured on Google’s 2015 prototype of self-driving cars.

“I like to tell stories through my artwork and have it convey people doing things whether that is people on a bike, riding a bus, or playing an instrument,” Thompson said in a statement. “I never thought of having my artwork on chocolate, but I’m very excited!”

An 8-piece box is $23, with a portion of all proceeds donated to Creativity Explored.

Saturday, Sept. 8, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Recchiuti’s Ferry Building store will host a celebratory jamboree, where Thompson’s current work will be on display.

El Cajon’s Epicurean Tasting Event

For a quarter of a century, the Bay Area’s El Cajon Project has worked to give at-risk and disadvantaged high school students training in the culinary arts that includes hands-on experience at such notable establishments as Chez T.J. in Mountain View, Evvia in Palo Alto, Alexander’s Patisserie in Mountain View, and the Menlo Grill in the Stanford Park Hotel in Menlo Park.

Sunday, Oct. 21, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., it will host “An Afternoon with El Cajon,” a tasting event at The Sea by Alexander’s Steakhouse in Palo Alto.

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Maison Alyzee — The Newest Hot-Spot Patisserie on the Peninsula

Presenting the Passiano (and the chocolate tart in the back) at the new Maison Alyzee.

Presenting the Passiano (and the chocolate tart in the back) at the new Maison Alyzee.

 

Owner Laurent Pellet makes no bones about what sets his Maison Alyzee in downtown Mountain View apart from other Bay Area bakeries.

Its heritage is unequivocally French — from the Lyon-born Pellet to the three French pastry chefs who moved to the United States just for this endeavor.

Oui, oui.

Since opening two weeks ago, the place has been inundated. So much so, that it had to up its baking to double the number of croissants, kouign-amanns and other viennoierie after just the second day.

And that’s saying something because it’s directly across the street from competitor, Alexander’s Patisserie.

Head Pastry Chef Jean-Victor Bellaye who had never been to California before taking this job.

Head Pastry Chef Jean-Victor Bellaye who had never been to California before taking this job.

Pellet, who was a chief financial officer for Sony for many years, longed for an authentic French patisserie when he moved to the Bay Area. So, he decided to start one, himself, and named it after his youngest daughter.

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Chocolates, Cakes & Pizza — Who Needs More?

Brazilian brigadeiros to indulge in.

Brazilian brigadeiros to indulge in. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

Brazilian Chocolates

Watching World Cup may have gotten you riled up with all the action on the field. Me? It just got me hungry, thinking about all the specialty foods associated with each of the countries competing.

So when a sample box of brigadeiros arrived last week in my mailbox, it was perfect timing. San Francisco’s Tiny B specializes in these traditional Brazilian sweets, bite-sized chocolates made with condensed milk and flavorings. They’re like little balls of fudge rolled around nuts or sprinkles. And they are plenty addictive.

My sample contained some of Tiny B’s classic flavors. I have to say I am partial to dark chocolate, so the dark chocolate sprinkles one was probably my favorite because it let the intensity of the dark chocolate shine through.

A box of four is $12. You can customize it by choosing your exact flavors, too.

Bluestem Brasserie Lets You Have Your Cake

If you’ve ever had the legendary Honolulu Hangover cake at Bluestem Brasserie in San Francisco, you know how incredible it is. If you’ve never had it, well, now here’s your chance.

 

The unforgettable Honolulu Hangover. (photo by Carolyn Jung)

The unforgettable Honolulu Hangover. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

The restaurant has brought it back and will offer it through Labor Day as part of its special “Cake Only” dessert menu.

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Crepe Cake Perfection at Anton SV Patisserie

Anton SV Patisserie's tiramisu crepe cake.

Anton SV Patisserie’s tiramisu crepe cake.

 

It is a different kind of Silicon Valley engineering feat.

Slathering delicate crepes with a luscious cream filling, then placing them perfectly level, perfectly straight, one on top of the other until the stack rises a majestic 20 layers or higher in complete precision.

Anthony Tam not only possesses the skills to do this, but the business acumen to have turned this into a delectable phenomenon.

The former supply chain manager at a Fremont tech firm started his Anton SV Patisserie just over two years ago out of a Milpitas commercial kitchen.

Anthony Tam traded tech for cakes.

Anthony Tam traded tech for cakes.

Now, his handmade $88 crepe cakes have become a sensation, gracing special events at some of Silicon Valley’s biggest tech companies. He now even offers delivery of whole cakes to select Bay Area cities. The crepe cakes also can be enjoyed for about $10 a slice at six cafes in the South Bay and San Francisco.

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