Wednesday, February 27, 2008

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Pudding with Butterscotch Rum Sauce

It's February 27th today, which means that Friday is the 29th (leap day!). Not that I don't enjoy having a extra day every four years, but the real significance of this is that it will bring our February to an end. And March is a whole different thing.

This week marks the end of our fourth month and also the retirement of our second Dessert Tasting Platter. When I first mentioned this (our signature) concept, I vowed that the platter would change every eight weeks to reflect seasonal ingredients and flavors (see our first and second platter line-ups here: Fall Collection, Winter Collection). And with the end of the month quickly approaching, it's time to tease your taste buds with what's coming up.

While each part of the collection seems to find a fan-base, this little gem may turn out to be the all-star of this next platter. White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Pudding with Butterscotch Rum Sauce pretty much sums up everything a dessert should be. A little salty, a little smoky (two of my favorite things), it consists of a light and airy white chocolate pudding flanked with toasted macadamia nuts above and below. It's capped with a generous portion of a butterscotch rum sauce made from both burnt caramel and dark muscavado sugar. While in the cafe whipping up this cocoa-concoction, Anu and I both crumbled from our resolutions to eat just a bite. In no time at all, each of our glasses were empty. You will be able to enjoy this and the other three desserts on the platter starting this Saturday, the 1st!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Balsamic Pink Peppercorn

If you can believe it, we are still recovering from Vday! I'm happy to say this week will be mostly spent catching up on my stock of truffles, and today was no exception. Yesterday we we're down to just three varieties *gasp*. How can you make an assorted box of eight with just three to choose from???

No worries, folks! Well, we're back to eight infusions at the moment and I'm hoping to have at least ten before the weekend.

Earlier in the week I began fooling around with an old standard of mine: Balsamic Pink Peppercorn. Made from 60% dark chocolate ganache infused with raspberry puree and balsamic vinegar, it's enrobed in a 60% dark chocolate shell and topped with an organic pink peppercorn. I've decided to throw the flavors around a bit and begin using a Port Balsamic vinegar made by O Olive Oil (a discovery of mine and Ben's at the Fancy Food Show). This particular vinegar seems to pair better with the peppercorn than just a typical balsamic. It's a pretty huge upgrade! Pink peppercorns, if you've not experienced them before, are actually not true peppercorns at all. They are, in fact, dried berries that after curing resemble peppercorns in size and shape. They certainly have a peppery flavor, but that is tempered with after-notes of rose and cardamom. I've also pumped up the raspberry content and I'm happy to say the result of these upgrades is a much more rewarding and deep flavor profile. And I love how pretty the peppercorn is on top! Take a look:

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Condolences, Thank Yous, and My Macadamia Ginger Bar

I've experienced a great deal of loss and regret in the past two weeks; a culmination of a few difficult things that all, unfortunately, fell during the busiest week of my professional career to date. I didn't intend for such a hiatus from the blog, and I've missed the chance to write about how much I enjoy Eclipse. I think I even forgot how much it meant to me.

That being said, it's a challenging time in my life and I'm spending a lot of time examining myself and my relationships at large. I am so regretful that I never realized how important many of the people in my life were to me, and how generous they were with their time, effort, and love. Eclipse required (and still does) a great deal of energy to develop, and I just couldn't do it by myself. But I've realized that it means nothing unless I can share it with the people in my life that I love so dearly.

Just a few long overdue thank yous:

To my Dad: For always being a phone call away even if you are 1800 miles east, I have grown more from our conversations than you may ever know.
To Tanya: For simply being there, even if I never realized it. And especially for being honest, direct, and helping me confront who I am and how to understand myself.
Autumn: For being an amazing person, inside and out. I want you to know how much I admire the love inside your heart and you're williness to share it.
Oreste: For keeping me grounded. I am amazed by your generosity.
Rachel: For your continuing support and consul: you've always a balanced sounding board.
And Ben: For offering everything you had, unconditionally. I had no idea how much that meant to me.

And I would be amiss not to mention Jen, Grace, Jenny, Marc, Michelle, Brian, Steph, Charlie, Steffi, Micheal, Ernesto, and a dozen other people who have so generously lent a shoulder in the past two weeks. I never meant to take any of you for granted.

Also sincere appreciation for all of you foodies and friends out there who had extended their gratitude and interest in my work; it really keeps me going. Thank you so much.

So for everyone who has experienced sadness or loss recently, or just simply still remembers how hard life can be at times, keep a stiff upper lip and remember that it's all just part of living. Of course it helps to have a little bit of help, and for me I find my center by preparing great food for myself and those close to me. One of the first solid blends I ever made was my Macadamia Ginger bar, and even though its conception was nearly three years ago to the date, I still find it pretty much sums up the good things in life. No need for complicated flavor descriptions, let's just say that it's infused with happiness.

Monday, February 11, 2008

These Days with Tom Fudge (and Will!)

If you missed it on air, here is the link to download the podcast or listen online to today's episode of These Days with Tom Fudge. Check it out, I was On Air with local SD food writer/blogger Caron Golden. We discuse chocolate, its anatomy and history, and, of course, Eclipse Chocolat!;id=10882

Friday, February 8, 2008

Cardamom Rose Petal and Other Vday Delights

Fresh off the enrober (ie: me) is a new truffle just in time for the holiday: Cardamom Rose Petal. A rich 61% dark chocolate infusion, the ganache is scented with cardamom pods and rose water. Dipped in a dark chocolate shell, it's dressed with a candied pink rose petal. We're featuring these babies along with Lavender Poppy, Chamomile Lemongrass, and Rosemary Mint for Valentine's Day. Of course you're welcome to design your own assortment from the 12 different exotic infusions we have in the shop right now for your sweetheart as well!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

TV and Radio!

If you watch the evening news, you may have seen your's truely on a brief spot at 6 o'clock on the local CBS syndicate. If not, you can see our first TV review here!

Check out These Days with Tom Fudge on KPBS Monday, February 11th at 10am to here myself and local writer Caron Golden, as we discuss the history and future of chocolate!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Chocolate Picnic for Two

Just in time for Vday, we have Chocolate Picnic Baskets for Two! Containing an assortment of artisan cheeses, exotic truffles, chocolate bars, salted caramels, and our new Chocolate Pumpernickel bread, these babies are dressed for a spread at the park or in front of toasty fireplace at home.

They come in $25 and $50 sizes. To insure availability, email or call today for pre-order.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Seasonal Truffles: Jasmine Green Tea and Chamomile Lemongrass

It's that time of year again; with Valentine's Day rearing its rose-colored head, everyone at the cafe is in full-time chocolate-making mode. And while most of it involves pumping out our favorites like the Exotic Salted Caramels and Sea-salt Nib Bar, we do still have a few tricks up our sleeves.

Shown here are two of our newest truffle concoctions: Jasmine Green Tea and Chamomile Lemongrass. The first is a white chocolate ganache scented with organic jasmine blossoms, dipped in a white chocolate shell, topped with Japanese matcha powder. Matcha powder, if you have not seen it before, is the ceremonial green tea enjoyed at the Japanese Tea Ceremony and is made from harvesting, drying, and powdering the finest tea leaves. We will find this truffle creamy and refreshing, with subtle and lingering notes of the floral jasmine flavor.

The second and bolder infusion is flavored with organic chamomile blossoms and lemongrass stalks. Covered in a white chocolate shell and topped with candied lemon peel, this truffle has a much deeper infusion of floral notes. Bathed in a woody chamomile scent with a lemony finish, we think it's perfect for the forthcoming spring season.