I missed doing a review for the Fall Salon, but since it is in a smaller venue and didn’t have much new I don’t think there is anything to miss.
As with last year this Spring sees me leaving the event with a serious chocolate buzz. 10 hours later and I am still feeling the effects from it. There were a lot of regulars and a few new folks there. Compared to the last few years the event was smaller. In the Herbst Pavillion instead of the larger one which I am forgetting the name of. One cool thing this year, I learned a new word! One of the exhibitors has these thin tasting wafers that just melt on your mouth. Apparently they are called “palette” (sp? – it is a French pronunciation and spelling, so just make yourself sound French and trail off halfway through pronouncing the word any you are set).
I think the best way to review all the exhibitors is to focus on which ones got me to shell out money right then and there. That really is the best endorsement I can give. Everything I tried was great, well one of the toffee makers was marginal (the other was great), but the ones that got my money really stood out.
As usual I picked up a Genmai bar from Jade Chocolates since they really do the best green tea bar, bar none. I have tried a whole bunch of bars over the last year. Pretty much any time I come across a green tea or matcha bar I will pick it up to try, and none come close. My wife picked up the Rice Paddies which look to be new this year. They are quite nice and have a good crunch to them. Oh yeah, speaking of Jade Chocolates I did get a box of their truffles in the Fall. I did not see any out at the show and forgot to ask if they were still making them. The truffles from the Fall were okay but nothing to write home about.
Next up is Dandelion Chocolates. They were first at the Fall Salon and I picked up their bar sampler there. I really liked the rich favors they are getting from their single source seasonal beans. The favors of each bar vary based on where they were from and really need to be tried to get a feel for how varied the flavors from chocolate can be. They are opening a store in SF this year and I hope they see much success with it. Seeing them develop their bars and build a business is really inspiring.
On a side note I have to say that. I really love the paper that Jade and Dandelion wrap their chocolates in. The weight, print and texture of the paper and the unwrapping experience on their bars feels very luxurious.
NeoCocoa is on the list again this year. While my wife drove these purchases of their ganache wrapped around marshmallow everything I had at their booth was top notch. If it wasn’t these it would have been something else. My favorite this year was their caramel ganache. Very decadent!
Finally we have bacon. Bacon, bacon, bacon. Did I mention bacon? Christopher Michael Chocolates had this amazing bacon milk chocolate bar with pop rocks in it. Unlike other bacon samples I tried with this one you could smell the bacon right away. The flavor is classic milk chocolate with that yummy bacon savory salty smokeyness that ends with the sizzle of pop rocks in your mouth. Tasty and fun!