Tag Archives: artisan chocolate

Shekoh Confections Adds Second Location — Plus Lunch and Dinner

Owner Shekoh Moossavi at her new downtown Palo Alto confectionary shop.
Owner Shekoh Moossavi at her new downtown Palo Alto confectionary shop.

It’s been a banner time for chef and chocolatier, Shekoh Moossavi, who not only opened her Shekoh Confections, 2305 El Camino Real near California Avenue in Palo Alto last March, but added a second location in downtown Palo Alto last month.

Now, starting this Thursday at the downtown outpost, 444 University Ave., she’s upping her offerings to include lunch (11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.) and dinner (5 p.m. to 9 p.m.) six nights a week (except Mondays, when the shop is closed).

At lunch, look for salads, sandwiches, and her heartfelt wild mushroom soup with mint — her mom’s recipe that she has featured at every restaurant she’s ever opened. At dinner, the fare will be simple yet satisfying with the likes of risotto, polenta, and lamb shanks. With a liquor license recently approved, look for wines coming soon to complement the meals.

Handmade chocolates.
Handmade chocolates.

Like all the chocolate bonbons, marshmallows, nougats, madeleines, and other confections, Moossavi will be making all of the savory items, too.

When she sleeps is anyone’s guess.

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The Amazing Story Behind Maui Ku’ia Estate Chocolate

Little squares of Maui Ku'ai Estate chocolate -- with a big story.
Little squares of Maui Ku’ai Estate chocolate — with a big story.

It’s one thing to make exquisite farm-to-bar estate chocolate.

It’s a whole ‘nother thing to donate 100 percent of net profits to Maui charities and non-profits.

Maui Ku’ia Estate Chocolate succeeds on both those fronts.

The artisanal chocolate company was founded by Dr. Gunars Valkirs, a Maui resident and retired biotech entrepreneur, who was the inventor of the first fast and sensitive pregnancy test.

Agriculture is in his heritage, as Valkirs’ father was a farmer in pre-World War II Europe before moving to San Diego, where he maintained a lush citrus orchard.

Inspired by his father, Valkirs started experimenting with planting cacao trees at his Kapalua home. Before long, he was leasing 50 acres of former sugarcane fields in Maui. Today, his farm, which marked its first harvest in spring 2018, encompasses about 7,000 cacao trees.

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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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Theo Chocolate’s Big Daddy Is Big Yum

Theo Chocolate's take on S'Mores.
Theo Chocolate’s take on S’Mores.

I admit this Food Gal is more of a B&B Gal or Resort Gal than a Camping Gal.

I’ve been camping once, and while it was a blast, I readily acknowledge I am not one for roughing it regularly. What can I say?

Thankfully, one of the best things about camping, well, doesn’t really require sleeping outdoors in a tiny tent. And that is S’Mores.

Theo Chocolate’s version may not be melty from a campfire, but it is every bit as blissful to eat.

The Seattle bean-to-bar chocolate company, the first organic and fair-trade chocolate factory in North America, has created the Big Daddy ($9.99), a three-piece collection of S’More confections that I recently had a chance to sample, along with some of its other new products.

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Thomas Keller Debuts A Chocolate Bar

Four-star chocolate from a four-star chef.

Four-star chocolate from a four-star chef.


When Thomas Keller of the French Laundry makes a chocolate bar, you just know it’s not going to be your run-of-the-mill candy.

Not by a long-shot.

What makes this chocolate bar so different and special is that it contains extra virgin olive oil. And naturally, it’s olive oil by one of Italy’s most exclusive producers, Armando Manni. The Tuscan producer makes some of the most cherished and expensive olive oils around, beloved by illustrious chefs such as Keller and New York’s Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

Their collaboration is K+M Extravirgin Chocolate. The premium cocoa beans are processed in a way that maintains their antioxidants that are normally destroyed in the chocolate-making process. A small amount of Manni extra-virgin olive oil is added to boost the level of antioxidants even more.

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