Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Holiday Personal and Corporate Gifts

Today is November 26th, and while tomorrow is Thanksgiving, there are officially only 29 days left until the *big* holiday (possibly less if you're among the mass of individuals who celebrate many of the other winter possibilities). And if you're anything like the majority of my clients, you may be wondering where the time has gone and what are you going to do for gifts?Have no fear, the Eclipse Chocolat team and I are happy to accommodate your corporate or personal gifts! If your needs are small, we have prepackaged options in the cafe from which to choose. If your needs are a bit larger, you can request a catalog which include price breaks for orders 50 units and larger. We also have custom messaging options, too (available for orders of 50 units and greater).

Take a look at our pesonalization options! Here we have our new Box of Twenty-Eight Truffles dressed with a custom ribbon color and a custom printed vellum overlay. The vellum can show any text and/or graphic you like and is designed/ printed in-house so our turn-around is very fast. This option is available at just 10 like-items.

And here you can see one of our most popular holiday options. Tucked inside this adorable cellophane wrap are three of our best-selling items: a box of four dark chocolate truffles, an Asian Take-out of our seasonal Gingerbread Spice Bark, and our most popular chocolate bar, Sea-salt Nib (55% chocolate studded with candied cocoa nibs and lavender-herbed grey sea-salt). A great little gift or stocking stuffer for $25, our Petit Gift Set is dressed to impress with seasonal red ribbon!

And if you just can't decide what your guest may like we have Eclipse Gift Certificates! Available in $5, $10, $20, and $50 increments, your friends and family can redeem them at the cafe. Treat them to dessert, chocolate, or even one of our dinners. They make great stocking stuffers, too.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Creole Christmas Dinner

Lotsa holiday things happening around the cafe, and I find myself with less time to blog! Still, last week we served 70-some guests to a Five Course Autumn Harvest dinner and I am here to report. These dinners are featured here at the cafe and showcase a different thematic menu each month. If you've missed them in the past, don't wait to place your reservation (at for our next on December 13th: Creole Christmas. Here's the line-up:

Fried Plantains with Chile-Burnt Caramel Dipping Sauce
Crawfish Bisque with White Chocolate Olive Oil Crostini
Dirty Rice with Cocoa-Bacon and Pepper Melody
Chicken Jambalaya with Smoke Beef-Cocoa Nib Sausage
Beignets with Dark Chocolate Chicory Drizzle

Until then, allow me to temp you with our last dinner:

Starter: Cocoa-glazed Duroc Bacon-wrapped Dates

Course One: Amuse Bouche Trio featuring Cranberry-Peppercorn Aperitif, White Chocolate Parmesan Spoonbread, and Cocoa-glazed Cippolini Onion Tartlette.

Course Two: Roasted Asparagus and Shallot Soup with White Chocolate Creme.

Course Four: Roasted Autumn Veggies with Cocoa Butter-Smashed Potatoes and White Truffle Oil Drizzle.

Course Five: Spice Pumpkin and Cranberry Creme Brulee with Milk Chocolate Center.
Photos courtesy of our talented friends at MoneyCMedia.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Truffle, Cheese, and Wine Tasting

Just a quick mention on an upcoming event here at the cafe. We started truffle and wine tasting events a few weeks ago, with the intention to host them here at the cafe on the first and third Wednesdays of the month. This next one we're trying out something a little more... we're adding cheese!

Join us Wednesday, November 19th, from 7-8pm to enjoy four truffles paired with four wines paired with four artisan cheeses. Our friends from Venissimo are providing us with the cheesy excitement, as always. And with those we will be featuring our artisan truffles and some wines (and maybe a beer!) from our current line-up here in the cafe.

The event is $25 per person, please no split plates. We're collection RSVPs, so email us at

Cya there!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Autumn Seasonal Dessert Tasting Platter

It's here! The new Seasonal Dessert Tasting Platter is complete. As always, our guests can enjoy the collection for the next six weeks until it is retired to chocolate memory. Check it:

frozen peanut butter mousse petit four
[frozen peanut butter mousse+maldon sea salt+dark chocolate crumb crust]

aztec-cinnaroll bread pudding
[custard-soaked aztec-cinnamon roll bread pudding+38% milk chocolate cinnamon sauce]

pumpkin-dark chocolate pot de creme
[chilled 61% dark chocolate pot de creme+spiced pumpkin butter]

grilled white chocolate apple-cinnamon cake
[grilled apple-cinnamon cake studded with 31% white chocolate chips]

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Grilled White Chocolate Apple Cake and More

Today I'm finishing up the last details on the next Seasonal Dessert Tasting Platter which will debut first thing tomorrow morning! I've always enjoyed working on the line-up, and as it rotates every six weeks, it's always kept me on my toes. And since we recently celebrated our first anniversary, I thought it would be fun to bring back one of our best desserts from this time last year. And for good measure, I'm including a new one in this little teaser, too.

Back in the fall of 2007, I first made my Frozen Peanut Butter Mousse Petit Four to much applause. In fact, I remember the response from some of my clients when they returned to find out that the collection of four desserts we feature that comprise each Tasting Platter is retired every six weeks. I'm not as disheartened; there's always new and exciting dessert combos to get my mind around. Still... maybe this post will be a long-awaited conciliation for them. Come and get it, folks!

The mousse begins with a rich crust of brownie crumbs combined with melted chocolate and a touch of Maldon sea-salt. You know me... a little salty chocolate finishes any dessert! That is then topped with a whipped mousse of milk chocolate and peanut butter. To finish, its glazed with a silky chocolate ganache, frozen, and cut into bars. Pretty tasty, folks.

My second temptation is of the grilled variety. If you remember, the platter is a collection of one frozen item, one bread pudding, one chilled pudding, and one grilled item. This time around, we're celebrating the Autumn with a Grilled White Chocolate Cinnamon-Apple Cake. Made from a house-made spiced apple sauce from local stock, this baby begins moist and develops a crispy crust after a quick pass through our panini grill. It's stuffed with 31% white chocolate chips that melt and become little pockets of gooey goodness.

See 'em both here today, but the real platter is available for the first time tomorrow. Just in time to get everyone into the Autumnal spirit!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Thanksgiving Dinner

I'm a sucker for holidays, especially the cold ones. There's something about the crisp weather that makes me excitable. And of course the food. No fall holiday is complete without the food. So here at Eclipse we're gearing up to celebrate our Thanksgiving Dinner a full week early!

I've done a lot of recipe testing for our next Prix Fixe Chocolate Tasting Dinner, and those who came to our Anniversary Party had a taste of what's to come. Among the truffles and wine and other chocolate-goodies, we sampled our Savory Bread Pudding with Dark Chocolate Jus.

As I have said time and time again, I am a big fan of bread pudding... and the heavier the better. I must admit, though, for the dozen-or-so bread puddings that have been featured here, I have yet to step outside of the box and go savory on one of them. I know what you're thinking "Stepping outside of box is so a problem Will has when it comes to food". Well this time it was different.

Each Seasonal Dessert Tasting Platter we feature has a bread pudding as one of the four desserts, and since it rotates each six weeks... well it's been a lot of bread pudding. This time, however, I uncovered a savory concept of this favorite to feature at our next dinner: Autumn Harvest. Bound with all heavy cream and eggs instead of meat stock, it's pretty much Thanksgiving dressing on crack. My version showcases a sauteed veggie mixture common to dressing, but is punctuated with the addition of morels and dates. The extravagance of the morels adds a woody aroma and texture that isn't far from the dressing my grandmother used to make with turkey giblets, but of course mine remains vegetarian. It's pretty much the best of both worlds.

The finished plating is dressed with a dark chocolate jus made from an intense beef reduction and, of course, an extra brute cocoa for body and flavor. We have a roasted veggie-cocoa sauce to keep the experience truly vegetarian, as many of our clients prefer such. The remainder of the dinner looks like this:

Amuse Bouche Trio including:
Chilled White Chocolate Roasted Corn Pudding
Cocoa-caramelized Onion Tartlette
Cranberry-peppercorn Champagne Aperitif
Roasted Asparagus Soup with White Chocolate Creme

Savory Bread Pudding with Dark Chocolate Jus

Roasted Root Veggies with Cocoa Butter-Smashed Potatoes & Shaved Parmesan

Milk Chocolate Creme Brulee Duo of Cranberry and Pumpkin

We also have an optional meat starter for those who just can't get enough of the carnivore goodness. And this one is seriously carnivore. I call it "The Devil's Candy":

Cocoa-glazed Duroc Bacon-Wrapped Dates

It's sensationally chewy and meaty and everything that is so wrong with bacon that it's so right.

We are about 70% sold on the event, so don't wait to make a reservation: 619.578.2984.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Anniversary Pics!

Just a quick thank you to every out there who has made my first year of business a success! Here's to twelve more months of chocolate!

And to those I owe so much, I couldn't have done it without you. I'm thrilled to share my life with each of you: Ray, Zach, Rachel, Victor, Tanya, Sean, Rich & Megan, Ben, my Dad, and about a million other people...

Friday, November 7, 2008

Anniversary Party Updates!

People keep asking me for more details on our event tomorrow, so I figured I would take this moment to elaborate.

Tomorrow is, of course, our First Year Anniversary Party. And as I sit pool-side overlooking the beautiful Baja California Coast, I'm excited about everything we have planned for the big event. "Ummmm, what?" I hear you all ask? Yes, yes... I know. You think I should be slaving away in the cafe elbow deep in chocolate preparing for tomorrow, no? No fret, I've got it covered. I did that all week long! And when my lovely BF (and talented make-up artist) Ray asked if I would accompany him to a cozy resort an hour south of the Border while he played stylist for a wedding, I thought to myself, "Hm... yes. That would be a nice calm before the storm :)".

So I sit here peering out over El Oceano Pacifico, drinking my cocktail with my laptop blogging away reminiscing my first year of Eclipse. But I digress... I swear my life is never this glamorous.

Tomorrow is the big day and all are welcome to join us from 6-9pm at ol' 2121 El Cajon. We will be sharing:

*Three of our featured wines paired with three artisan truffles including the never-before-seen Vanilla Bean Sassafras.

*Samples of our upcoming Prix Fixe Dinners including our Savory Bread Pudding with Dark Chocolate Jus and Cocoa-glazed Bacon-wrapped Dates from our Harvest Feast Dinner in late November AND our Sugared Beignets with Dark Chocolate-Chicory Sauce from our Creole Christmas Dinner in December.

*10% off our entire retail chocolate line AND

*A FREE Box of Two Truffles with each Box of Ten purchased.

*And of course Me (Will), Zach, Nicole, Jess, and the rest of the EC Family!

If you miss it, you'll just have to wait until next year. Cya soon!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Seasonal Truffles Part III

Things always seem to go in waves here at Eclipse, and this week is no exception. Call me a completionist, but I tend to take a task to beginning to end and then think to myself "well that went well, let's try it again with something else". So early last week I began this process with a new truffle and just kept on with the theme. Today I am debuting our third Seasonal Infusion this week! In fact, as I peer into my chocolate case to decide whether or not I am prepared for our Anniversary Weekend, I find that seven of twelve of the infusions we are featuring at the moment are seasonal! I promise this will be the last new truffle infusion for some time (though no worries, I still have about a dozen spices in my pantry just waiting to become chocolate-fodder).

If you read the blog regularly, you may know that I purchase my spices from a bulk Co-op who's focus is on organic specialities. I'm quite fond of the group and its make-up and can be found regularly perusing their catalog dreaming up new cocoa-concoctions. I suppose this makes me a bit of a spice addition, but as their is no culinary version of AA, its just something I need to learn to live with.

On my last order I picked up a pound of dried Sassafras, not having any idea what I might do with it. This is pretty typical, and often the spices lay around for sometime before inspiration hits. This time, however, the momentum came instantaneously. As soon as I tore the package open and wafted the earthly aroma towards my nose, I immediately associated the potential flavor with chocolate and vanilla bean. After all, Sassafras is the foundation flavor of rootbeer and complimenting that with a little vanilla is a no-brainer.

Unless you work at Eclipse. Nothing here is that simple.

Ultimately, I choose my 61% dark chocolate to make a ganache infused with the organic Sassafras, enrobed in more dark chocolate, and finished the truffle with a generous smattering of our house-made Vanilla Bean Sugar. Not too much more profound than just simple vanilla extract, but definitely Eclipsey. Our sugar is made from ground whole vanilla beans, so the resulting sugar has an earthy tone that definitely parallels that of the Sassafras.

We will showcase this truffle until it is gone, which may be before the end of the month, especially as it is one which we are sampling at the party Saturday. Come join us!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Seasonal Truffles Part II

We're having our next Wine and Truffle Tasting Event tonight and I've got another brand new truffle to share with our guests. Pomegranate Sage is an infusion that I first came up with in fall of 2006, but as it only makes a brief appearance this time each year, it always seems fresh and exciting to me!

Beginning with a canvas of 61% dark chocolate ganache, I add a reduced pomegranate syrup to the infusion for an intense acidity that isn't typically found in my collection. On the palate it comes across as a berry-like familiarity that most people first associate with dark cherry. The finished ganache is then enrobed in more 61% dark chocolate and topped with organic sage powder. We're serving tonight at the tasting event with our Coppola Merlot which as a characteristic wine of that type is rich in dark cherry notes. The finish of sage is a slight accent that is heightened with the addition of the Merlot.

If you're missing the event tonight, this is a series that we are hoping to host every first and third Wednesday of the month. That makes the next event November 19th! usually these will be $20 for four truffles paired with four wines, but the next event will be with cheeses from Venissimo (our artisanal neighbor in Mission Hills) so it will be $25. As always, we take reservations since our space fills up quickly. Email if interested,

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Seasonal Truffles Part I

Well it's finally getting cold and San Diego and I, for one, am ready to take a trip to haul a cord of firewood back to my cozy little apartment down the street from the cafe. After all, what's a brisk evening in SD good for without cuddling in front of a warm fireplace? Add a few autumn-influenced chocolates to the scenario and you'll be all set.

Well look no further! I've been working on a few new tricks around the shop and I'm ready to share. With our Anniversary Weekend just days away, I'm excited to debut three new seasonal infusions in which you may indulge. Well technically only one is brand new, but the other two haven't been seen since this time last year, and that's new enough for me!

I meant to get this one out in time for Halloween, but somewhere between carving seven pumpkins and the myriad of other tasks between my personal and professional life in which to get lost, I didn't find the time until just now. But if you ask me, we are just coming up on Squash and Gourd season, so my Pumpkin Muscavado Truffle is just in time!

Packed with pumpkin puree, an assortment of holiday spices, and topped with Dark Muscavado sugar, this treat is one of my personal favorites for the fall. It's pretty much everything one could ask for in a great pumpkin pie, but stuffed into a dark chocolate truffle. We're serving it at our next Truffle and Wine Tasting Event this Wednesday in the cafe, and I've paired it with one of our new wines, a tawny port from Australia called Yalumba. It's got some serious butterscotch and caramel notes behind it and as such is a pretty natural combo next to the pumpkin flavors.

We should have this truffle at least through the end of Thanksgiving. Stop in and try one! Don't forget our Wine and Beer Happy Hour (4-7pm M-F) where any wine or beer purchase comes from a free truffle!