Category Archives: Chocolate

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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The Plumed Horse’s Trifecta

Chef Peter Armellino in his element at his new Pasta Armellino.

Chef Peter Armellino in his element at his new Pasta Armellino.

 

If you only know the Plumed Horse for being the chic Michelin one-starred restaurant in downtown Saratoga, wait until you hear what it’s been up to.

It’s added not one, but two sister properties just steps away.

The Plumed Horse Collection, as it’s now known, debuts today the casual Pasta Armellino across the street. I had a chance to check it out last week at a private media event.

It officially opens today.

It officially opens today.

San Francisco graffiti artist Chris Kondo's handiwork.

San Francisco graffiti artist Chris Kondo’s handiwork.

Executive Chef Peter Armellino, who’s headed the Plumed Horse for a decade, has expanded his reach with this 60-seat eatery that’s all about home-made pastas.

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Ooey Gooey Dark Chocolate Cookies with Caramel

These brownie-like cookies have a hidden center of caramel.

These brownie-like cookies have a hidden center of caramel.

 

Taking time out to spend special moments with friends and family may be the best thing about the holidays.

But a close second surely is all the cookies to indulge in at this time of year.

“Holiday Cookies” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy, is all about this festive sweet time of year. The book is by food stylist and recipe developer Elizabet der Nederlanden of Berkeley, with photography by the talented Erin Scott of Berkeley.

You’ll find everything from “Gingerbread Cookies” to “Chocolate-Stenciled Shortbread Rounds” to “Saffron Pistachio Biscotti.” Beyond cookies, there are also confections such as “Apple Cider Caramels” and “Matcha Chocolate Bark with Berries and Coconut.”

"Holiday Cookies: Showstopping Recipes to Sweeten the Season" by Elisabet der Nederlanden

“Holiday Cookies: Showstopping Recipes to Sweeten the Season” by Elisabet
der Nederlanden

“Dark Chocolate Cookies with Caramel” is especially fun because these brownie-like cookies hide a center of caramel inside. It’s achieved easily enough by rolling the cookie dough around an unwrapped, purchased caramel candy.

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Of Gourmet Ice Cream, Nuts and Sandwiches

A tower of ice cream sandwiches at Ici Ice Cream. (photo by Tory Putnam)

A tower of ice cream sandwiches at Ici Ice Cream. (photo by Tory Putnam)

Ici Ice Cream Opens Second Berkeley Location

Bay Area fans of Ici Ice Cream — and there are legions — are rejoicing that this artisan shop has just opened a second location in Berkeley.

That means twice the opportunities to get your fix of Honey-Vanilla-Black-Tea, Chocolate-Chocolate Almond Toffee, Pink Peppermint, Honey Lavender-Pistachio, and other fabulous flavors of ice cream and sorbets.

Mary Canales, who spent nine years as the pastry chef of Chez Panisse, founded her original shop 11 years ago on College Avenue in the Elmwood neighborhood. The second shop opened last week in downtown Berkeley.

Since the beginning, Ici has churned organic and sustainable ingredients in its ice creams. They’re made in small batches to ensure freshness.

A special treat just for this time of year: Ici's Bouche de Noel. (photo by Tory Putnam)

A special treat just for this time of year: Ici’s Bouche de Noel. (photo by Tory Putnam)

Everything will continue to be made at the College Avenue location, then transported to the downtown shop. Both places sell scoops, pints, cakes and confections, including seasonal cakes, ice cream bombes, ice cream sandwiches, bon-bons and candies.

It’s a perfect place to stop after a dinner of paella at Oakland’s Duende, owned by Mary’s husband, Paul Canales. Hey, just sayin’.

New Heirloom Reserve Nuts

Just in time for your holiday baking needs, Diamond of California has released a new line of Heirloom Reserve walnuts, pecans and Marcona almonds.

I used the new Diamond Heirloom Marcona Almonds in a salad of green beans, orange segments and fennel. (photo by Carolyn Jung)

I used the new Diamond Heirloom Marcona Almonds in a salad of green beans, orange segments and fennel. (photo by Carolyn Jung)

The century-old producer of nuts is highlighting varietals that have been passed down for generations.

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