Valrhona and Measured Indulgence: New Lemon Tart

August 27th, 2013 · 6 Comments · Chocolate, Recipes, San Francisco, SF Events, Tarts

new lemon tart

When most people talk about becoming a pastry chef, it’s usually French pâtisserie they are referring to: puff pastry, buttercream, profiteroles, chocolate ganache. Can you imagine making crème brûlée or pâte sucrée by any other method than the French way? And yet, it’s a French pastry chef who is trying reinvent the classics of French pâtisserie. In July I was invited by Valrhona to attend a special conference on “La Gourmandise Raisonnée”, that promised a modern perspective on making pastries less of a guilty pleasure and more of a measured indulgence.

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A New Professional Pastry Program at the SF Cooking School

August 7th, 2013 · 3 Comments · San Francisco

 

SFCS Exterior 1
 The San Francisco Cooking School – a new opportunity to learn from some of the city’s best culinary talents. All photos in this post courtesy of SFCS.

When I get asked about going to pastry school, I have a shortlist of schools I usually guide people towards. Therefore, I was excited when I heard that the recently opened SF Cooking School is starting its own professional pastry program, which will be closely intertwined with San Francisco’s thriving food scene. I got the opportunity to speak with Nicole Plue, the Director of Pastry Arts and the instructor for the professional pastry program, about her vision for the school.

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{SF}TCHO Milk Chocolate Chip Brown Butter Cookies

July 2nd, 2013 · 13 Comments · Chocolate, Cookies, Recipes, San Francisco, Sweet Spots

milk chocolate chip cookies

Ok! Recipe post, finally. I’ve been trying to get this up for a while! A TCHO chocolate-dipped ice cream cone last weekend gave me the final push to get these photos processed and up. I recently got a box of some of TCHO’s latest offerings, including their milk chocolate baking discs and Mokaccino chocolate bar. I’ve loved TCHO’s dark chocolates for a long time (Fruity is my favorite) and I’ve been after them to come up with their own milk chocolate.

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{SF} Baker + Banker: Dessert All Day Long

June 29th, 2013 · 4 Comments · San Francisco, Sweet Spots

baker banker

For those of you waiting for a recipe post, don’t worry – I have one coming up on Monday!

There’s no lack of fantastic restaurants and bakeries in San Francisco, but Baker + Banker stands out as a fantastic restaurant and bakery. Run by husband and wife team Jeff Banker and Lori Baker, Jeff handles the savory side while Lori oversees the pastry.  Although I’d enjoyed a fabulous meal at the restaurant a couple years back, the bakery was closed so I didn’t get a chance to sample the baked goods. (The bakery opens in the morning and closes at 5, shortly before the restaurant side opens for dinner service.) I finally got the chance a few weeks ago to stop by and try some of their updates on classic American bakery treats. Below, some of my favorites:

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{SF} Sweet Alchemy: Michael Recchiuti’s Chocolate Lab

June 17th, 2013 · 2 Comments · San Francisco, Sweet Spots

choco lab erlenmeyer

A dessert cafe is probably the last place you would expect to see an Erlenmeyer flask, but it’s quite apropos at Michael Recchiuti’s Chocolate Lab. Recchiuti has already cemented his place as one of San Francisco’s premier chocolatiers, and he’s decided to go back to his restaurant roots with the opening of Chocolate Lab, a sweet (and savory) cafe located in the Dogpatch, near his commercial kitchen space.

The laboratory theme fits Michael’s curious, inventive nature perfectly – he is constantly experimenting with different sweet ideas and envisioned Chocolate Lab as a place to showcase different concepts. On our last visit there we didn’t have a chance to sample the savory side of the menu, but we made sure we had room for as many of the desserts as possible:

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{SF} The Return of Charles Chocolates

May 23rd, 2013 · 3 Comments · Chocolate, Reviews, San Francisco, Sweet Spots

charles chocolates display

San Francisco is currently going through a chocolate renaissance – new artisan chocolate makers and chocolatiers are popping up at every food festival and in every neighborhood. One of these chocolatiers, though, is actually a Bay Area classic making a welcome return – Charles Chocolates.

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