Category Archives: Chocolate

Coconut Collaborative: A Dairy-Free Deep Indulgence

Small yet mighty in satisfaction.
Small yet mighty in satisfaction.

It’s tiny. But it’s oh-so-big on decadence.

The Coconut Collaborative’s Chocolate Dessert Pot is thick and fudgy, and tastes like velvety dark chocolate ganache. Close your eyes, and you can easily imagine enjoying it out of a crystal goblet at a fine restaurant, not out of a plastic cup in your own kitchen.

What’s more, it’s dairy-free.

That’s because it’s made with coconut cream.

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Craft Chocolate Experience, La Cocina Municipal Marketplace, and More

Inaugural Craft Chocolate Experience

Attention all chocoholics, don’t miss the first ever Craft Chocolate Experience at San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts, March 6 to 8.

This sweet extravaganza will bring bean-to-bar makers, chocolatiers, pastry chefs, and cacao bean farmers from around the world for panel discussions, cooking demos, and a chocolate marketplace with more than 85 artisans sampling and selling their creations.

There’s also an opening night party on March 6, featuring a dazzling array of chocolates, pastries and cocktails.

The renowned participants include: Jordi Roca from El Celler de Can Roca in Spain; Francisco Migoya, head chef at Modernist Cuisine; John Scharffenberger, founder of Scharffen Berger Chocolate; Kenji Lopez-Alt, chief culinary consultant for Serious Eats and author of “The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science” (W.W. Norton); and founder Todd Masonis of San Francisco’s Dandelion Chocolate.

Tickets for the opening night party are $95 each; a weekend pass to the event is $145 per person.

Celebrate A Milestone For La Cocina

La Cocina, San Francisco’s pioneering kitchen incubator for women, people of color, and immigrants wanting to start food ventures, expects to open its much-anticipated food hall this spring.

Momos at Bini's Kitchen. (Photo by Eric Wolfinger)
Momos at Bini’s Kitchen. (Photo by Eric Wolfinger)

To celebrate the impending debut of La Cocina Marketplace, a landmark all-women operated food hall, the organization is hosting a Week of Women in Food, March 2 to 8. It’s a series of prix fixe dinners spotlighting the seven La Cocina chefs who will make the new food hall their home. For these special dinners, each La Cocina chef will cook alongside a well-known, established Bay Area chef.

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Shakewell’s Short Ribs with Citrus-Olive Herb Salad

A favorite recipe from my cookbook, "East Bay Cooks.''
A favorite recipe from my cookbook, “East Bay Cooks.”

When I was working on my cookbook, “East Bay Cooks: Signature Recipes from the Best Restaurants, Bars, and Bakeries” (Figure 1), I was fortunate enough to have the help of a small army of friends and family who helped test all the recipes with me.

When one of my testers told me that he’d made the recipe for “Short Ribs with Citrus-Olive Herb Salad” not once, not twice, but five times, I was immediately alarmed.

But then he told me why: It wasn’t because anything was wrong with it. On the contrary, he and his wife ended up loving this dish so much that they couldn’t resist making it multiple times to share with friends.

While I’m fond of all the recipes in this cookbook that spotlights 41 restaurants in the dynamic East Bay, that testimonial convinced me right then and there that this recipe by Chef Jen Biesty of Oakland’s Shakewell was truly a winner.

Because of book-publishing timetables, my friend had to test this recipe at the height of summer. But I patiently waited until winter to give it a test-drive, since long-braised short ribs are so made for this time of year.

This is definitely a comfort dish taken up a level. The short ribs cook up fork-tender in an almost mole-like brothy sauce made with ancho chiles, fennel, garlic, thyme, chicken stock, a little ground coffee, some chopped bittersweet chocolate and a whole bottle of Zinfandel. How can that not be good?

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The Aptly Named Aphrodisiac Biscuit

Resistance is futile.
Resistance is futile.

If Valentine’s Day is all about showering the ones you love with an overload chocolate, then this biscuit is sure to do the trick — and then some.

“Aphrodisiac Biscuit” is aptly named because it not only has chopped chocolate inside a tender interior but glossy melted chocolate spread lavishly all over its top.

This decadent treat is from “The Big Bottom Biscuit: Specialty Biscuits and Spreads from Sonoma’s Big Bottom Market” (Running Press, 2019), of which I received a review copy.

The book is by Michael Volpatt, who opened the Big Bottom Market in Guerneville in 2011, a combo retail store and cafe that serves sandwiches, salads, and of course, biscuits.

It includes more than 50 recipes for biscuits, biscuit dishes and things that go with biscuits. In short, it will expand your horizon on just what biscuits can be.

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Love Birds and The Chemistry of Love

The Love Birds box.
The Love Birds box.

I doubt if anyone ever needs an excuse to indulge in Recchiuti chocolates. But with Valentine’s Day coming up, you indeed have the perfect reason to treat yourself or someone you love to some of the finest artisan chocolate confections around.

For more than two decades, Michael Recchiuti has been making exquisite chocolates by hand with flavoring ingredients sourced seasonally from Bay Area farmers markets.

You can find the confections at the Recchiuti storefront at the Ferry Building in San Francisco and the retail shop, Recchiuti at the Lab, in San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood. Or you can shop on its own web store.

In anticipation of Valentine’s Day, I was lucky enough to receive samples to try of two holiday offerings.

The Love Birds Truffle Box ($48) is a collection of 16 pieces, an assortment of the most popular flavors, including Tarragon Grapefruit, Pearl Mint Tea, and Piedmont Hazelnut.

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