I’ve been out this week with a rather virulent virus, but wanted to update you on the 2017 San Francisco International Chocolate Salon award results held at the Hotel Kabuki on March 18, 2017, where I reprised my recurring role as judge.
Unlike judging wine, you can’t ‘sip and spit’ when judging chocolate. No, you must savor and swallow each morsel offered by every chocolatier attending….thank god for hotel fitness facilities.
My favorites include Basel B Inc (www.baselbinc.com), whose hand-painted truffles resemble elaborate, Byzantine bijoux – with equally exotic flavor combinations like pistachios with honey and cardamom, and candied ginger with lavender.
Sonoma’s Firefly Bean to Bar California Bay Laurel Chocolate (www.fireflychocolate.com) still haunts me – a tantalizing combination of organic cacao beans, wild harvested bay nuts, and organic coconut sugar with an unusual nutty texture that pairs exceptionally well with Pinot Noir, a discovery I learned later on my own.
And for the vegans among you, Cadence Chocolates (www.cadencechocolates.com) offer a variety of toothsome truffles like Hibiscus Rose (my personal fave), Negroni, Olive Oil, and Sunflower Seed Butter, in addition to their non-vegan assortments. (Disclosure: Trade samples were provided by Cadence Chocolates.)
While I’ve been judging this event since 2012, I have to admit that the 2017 San Francisco International Chocolate Salon far exceeded my expectations, not only in the breadth and depth of artisan chocolatiers, but in their commitment to fair trade, exceptional sourcing, and creative flavor combinations. Bravo!
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