|Signage at Fort Mason|
This time around we went first thing in the morning, right when they opened. We figured this would help us beat the crowds that had made the Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival a bit trying. It turned out to be a good call because it definitely wasn't as crowded earlier in the day as it was later on. Plus it had the added advantage of being held at the Festival Building in Fort Mason which was essentially a large warehouse. Various chocolatiers and wineries had display tables and they were spaced far enough apart to accommodate a reasonable number of people without being so far apart that you had to trek from one to the other.
|Help yourself to samples|
Now, I'm a bit of a purist when it comes to chocolate. I favor milk chocolate and I don't mind it combined with caramel and/or nuts but that's usually it. I can appreciate a high-quality dark chocolate but my sweet tooth still prefers milk chocolate. Those who consider themselves true chocolate aficionados will disagree with me but that's okay - there's no such thing as "wrong" when it comes to high-end chocolate. Except I have to admit, some of the flavors at the show were a bit too exotic for me. The recent trend has seemed to be infusing chocolate with all sorts of flavors you can think of - not just your traditional fruit flavors like orange, raspberry, cherry or liqueurs like kahlua, kirsch, frangelico, and whatnot. But I saw a lot of tea-infused flavors like chai, green tea and jasmine as well as spice-infused chocolate. I was unfortunate enough to sample a chili pepper chocolate. One nibble and I had to go get a sample of the sorbet one table had to kill the taste. Sorry, I don't believe in spicy chocolate.
|My favorite - and yes, I ate a whole one|
We also saw the first cooking demo of the day, given by Jake Gandolfo from Master Chef, Fox TV. He did a balsamic vinagrette with chocolate melted into it as a sauce for a caprese and a red wine reduction with chocolate for a goat meat dish. He only made a single serving so no sampling there :).
www.permano.co) was quite good.
All in all, it was a fun way to spend the day. Now I'll be dreaming about Salt Water Caramels for awhile....