A great start to a Valentine’s Day.
Yes, roses are lovely.
But chocolate is where it’s at.
At least that’s my philosophy for Valentine’s Day.
And nobody makes chocolate like Burlingame’s Guittard Chocolate Company, a family-owned craft chocolate maker that celebrated its 150th year in business in 2018.
In honor of that monumental anniversary, Guittard created a limited-edition Eureka Works 62 Percent bar, named after the first factory that founder Etienne Guittard set up in San Francisco in 1868.
It’s a blend of cacao beans from its earliest sourcing locations: Indonesia, Hawaii, Ecuador and Brazil. What’s more a portion of proceeds from every bar sold will go to the Heirloom Cacao Preservation Fund, a not-for-profit that works to preserve the rarest cacao trees that produce the highest quality chocolate and to help the farmers who grow them.
Guittard’s special, limited-edition Eureka Works chocolate.
The huge 500g bar ($29.95 on the Guittard Web site) is lovely to look at — molded with a nifty cacao bean imprint design. And the taste? I was fortunate enough to receive a sample recently. It’s a smooth, complex chocolate that tastes prominently of dark cherries and a touch of pineapple. It has some acidity and bitterness, but in measured amounts to let the fruitiness of the bar shine through.
Hooray! This homemade version of chocolate popcorn is pretty darn close to the one I fell for in Seattle.
Ever since a trip to Seattle last year, I have been obsessed with chocolate popcorn.
My first taste of this crunchy, chocolatey treat came courtesy of the Cinerama movie theater in downtown Seattle, where the marquee not only flashes its availability in bright lights, but the intoxicating smell of it wafts out its doors.
The late Paul Allen, a co-founder of Microsoft, bought the iconic theater and proceeded to seriously up the game on the concession stand. Fortunately, you can even walk into the lobby and buy some of this popcorn without even buying a ticket to a movie.
That’s what my husband and I did after our interest — and nostrils — were piqued. On the second to last day of our trip, we bought a small ($6.50), which is fairly sizeable. One taste and we were completely hooked. In fact, I like chocolate popcorn way better than caramel corn because it’s not as cloying. We nibbled to our stomach’s content and even had enough leftover to bring home on the plane.
After the last of the chocolate popcorn was gone a couple days later (and mind you, it was still wonderfully crisp even at that point), I began to have serious withdrawal. So much so that I even looked online to see if the Cinerama might possibly do mail-orders of the popcorn. But alas, no.
So I was determined to try to make my own at home.
(Clockwise from back) Chocolate Decadence, Orange Creamsicle, and Chocolate Espresso Roons.
Sweet, moist, chewy as can be, and full of tropical coconut.
That’s what you get with Roons, delicious coconut macaroons hand-made in Portland, OR.
I had a chance recently to try samples of these bite-size treats that are gluten-free and grain-free.
I will readily admit that I’m a rather fickle coconut fan. Sometimes I love it; other times I can leave it.
These had me at the first bite.
Humphrey Slocombe’s Hot Toddy — Glenlevit ice cream with clove caramel and candied citrus. (photo courtesy of Humphrey Slocombe)
Humphry Slocombe’s The Glenlivet Ice Cream
Some folks may have pledged to a dry January following the over-indulgent holidays. But you may find yourself falling off the wagon with Humphry Slocombe’s new The Glenlivet flavor.
Yes, the famed 12-year-old single malt scotch stars in this new flavor by the artisan San Francisco ice creamery known for its creative rebelliousness.
Throughout the end of January, The Glenlivet will be available at all three Bay Area Humphry Slocombe locales.
But head to the original Mission District scoop shop, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Jan. 25, for a real treat. That’s when that location will be offering free scoops of the Hot Toddy Sundae, which features The Glenlivet ice cream drizzled with clove caramel and topped with candied lemon.
Another year, another 365 days of satisfying the appetite. Which eats do I still dream about? Which would I go back to just for another sublime taste?
These are my Top 10 dishes of the year (in no particular order). Here’s to 2019 — and more unforgettable meals to come!