I was catching up on my reading this morning and came across this article about Chef Perry Hoffman, culinary director at SHED in Healdsburg. I've always admired him and his family's commitment to food culture in Northern California. (Mark and I had our rehearsal dinner at The Apple Farm in Philo! Amazing!)
Needless to say, I was more than chuffed to see that Chef Perry enjoys my labor of love as well! Near the end of the Escoffier Questionnaire listing his favorite places to go for various food stuffs, he calls out La Forêt for chocolate! Thanks, Chef!
It's unofficially summer and we're celebrating with a collection of chocolates inspired by America's best regional desserts. Pack up the station wagon and hit the road!
The journey starts in the Empire state with New York Cheesecake. Just the right amount of tang from the cream cheese and the dense, luxurious texture of cheesecake in a simple ganache. Pair that with tart, cherry reduction and a graham cracker "crust" and there you have it, a perfect little dessert encased in 72% dark chocolate.
We're just getting started on production, but here's the full ten flavor line-up for this summer's allocation. More information about the regionally sourced ingredients to come....
This is one of my favorite custom cakes. The client asked for something delicious and spooky for their Halloween party. I went a little crazy with the modeling chocolate, but it was fun to attempt a realistic bones, especially in the hands. The crispy peanut butter eyeballs take it over the top!
We transform our super yummy mallo puffs into fuzzy tarantulas. It takes a few steps, make the mallos, pipe the legs, spray with chocolate for the velvety texture, then add the eyes, but they are worth the effort!
Speaking of eyeballs...
These are handy when carving a jack-o-lantern! Yeah, that's a bottle of Bushmills photo bombing my pumpkin pic. Happy Halloween!
A couple of months ago, long time allocation subscriber gave me this amazing gift, a gorgeous tin of saffron from his recent trip to Iran. I promised to use it in an upcoming allocation!
After a little research, I found an interesting recipe from British chocolatier, Paul A. Young pairing saffron, honey and Valrhona Caraibe 66% dark chocolate.
And of course, these Yotam Ottolenghi cookbooks are a great source of inspiration! Fragrant rice pudding with rose water and cardamom. Yes, please!
Looking for even more inspiration, I called up SOSChefs in NY. My box of goodies arrived just in time to finalize the flavors. The zereshk or barberries were particularly delicious. And they have the best extra green pistachios!
With cooler nights and shorter days just around the corner, we're starting to crave our favorite comfort foods in the shop. These Bourbon and pecan liqueur infused marshmallows were inspired by Bourbon pecan pie. The generous coating of toasted pecans add just the right amount of richness to the super-light marshmallow center. Happy Fall!
Saturday, September 19 - Noon to 4pm
If you're in SF this weekend, stop by and see us at the Artisan Market at Williams-Sonoma's flagship store. We'll have all of your favorite retail treats and a few special items, like a our new Mini-Mallos!
We loved the giant mallos, but these mini puffs are just too cute. Let us know what your think!
Cream puffs, filled with light vanilla mousse and coated with caramelized sugar, carefully stacked into a towering cone. What's not to like? I've made several croquembouches over the years, but recently, I've noticed a significant increase in requests for all sorts of events from weddings to baby showers.
They can be contemporary, such as this tower filled with raspberry and rose mousse.
On August 24th, we noted the one year anniversary of the South Napa Earthquake. I try not to dwell on what happened and the passing of time has made it easier to look back on the event. But still, I can feel my blood pressure rise while I write this post.
The earthquake hit at 3:20am on a Sunday morning along a previously unknown fault that runs, geologically speaking, directly under our house and my shop in Browns Valley on the west side of Napa. After finding shoes and wondering around our house dumb-struck in the dark, Mark and I decided that we should drive down to the shop to survey the damage and check for gas leaks.
The kitchen was a huge mess. Broken glass and sticky glucose coated the floor. Shelves and refrigerators had dumped their contents. Anything not bolted to the ground shifted to the center of the room. Thankfully, no one was in the kitchen at the time.
We checked on our neighbors in the shopping area. At Browns Valley Market, we found the owner standing at the entrance with a river of red wine flowing out the door into the parking lot. He was thankful that no one had been hurt when the refrigerated cheese case tipped over onto the deli counter. I almost snapped a picture but I was overwhelmed at the destruction of our local market.
I can't believe it myself. In July 2010, we opened our doors for the first time with just a few products and for only a few days a week. We started small, just me in the kitchen hand tempering all the chocolate, wrapping all the bars, tying all the bows and making all the deliveries. My husband Mark would come by after his day job in wine hospitality to wrap caramels until all hours of the night.
There have been so many milestones and so many challenges along the way. Too many to mention in my first blog post, but I'll do my best to touch on some of the highlights in future posts. In the meantime, I would like to take a moment to say Thank You to everyone who has supported us, our friends and family, our loyal customers here in Napa and around the country, and my awesome employees past and present.
Here's to the next 5 years!