Hundreds of choco-fiends gathered at the Pasadena Conference Center this past Sunday for the third annual Los Angeles Luxury Chocolate Salon. I attended the festivities with a press pass in hand and my gal pal Laurie by my side. We arrived an hour after the gates were unlocked and sampled the afternoon away—a nibble here, a nibble there, a nibble everywhere! Here’s a rundown of my favorite tastes of the day:
Valerie Confections’ Almond Toffee Treats were one of the first items to disappear at the event. Each little sphere of goodness was hand dipped in bittersweet chocolate, rolled in roasted organic California almonds, and dusted with French sea salt. The sweet and salty double punch amused and pleased my taste buds to no end.
The chocolates from XT Patisserie were not only insanely beautiful, but fantastically delicious as well. Each vibrantly flavored bite melted away smoothly and luxuriously on the tongue. The Saigon cinnamon and kalamansi were two of my favorites.
The Plush Puffs table was equipped with little burners for the crowd to toast their marshmallows. I was a big fan of the Simply S’mores variety, which was comprised of a vanilla bean marshmallow mashed with pieces of graham cracker, dusted with cocoa powder, and topped with chocolate chips.
The Sizzling Bacon Bar from Christopher Michael Chocolatier was everything I hoped it would be and more! Made of 41% Venezuelan milk chocolate, bacon, sea salt, and Pop Rocks, the candy bar was a porky party in my mouth. I have a penchant for the unusual and quirky, and this smoky, salty, and sweet creation fit the bill perfectly.
My friends Laurie and D takes a B went all sorts of gaga over Clarine’s Florentines. The main ingredients of this delectable treat are thinly sliced natural almonds. The almonds are mixed with butter, sugar, honey, and cream and then baked into a perfectly golden brown brittle. The final step is applying a generous coating of Guittard bittersweet chocolate.
The root beer float chocolate by Choclatique came highly recommended by D takes a B. I was instructed by the Choclatique representative to bite the chocolate from top to bottom in order to fully experience each of the three layers—root beer, cream, and “fizz.” The triple-layered confection was different from any chocolate I’ve ever eaten, and really tasty too.
Another winner from Choclatique was the seasonal Slimy Lime chocolate. I loved that the tart innards were a sickly shade of green.
One of my favorite vendors of the afternoon was Neapolitan Printing & Company, straight out of Portland, Oregon. As evident from the photo above, the Ants on a Log chocolates were quite popular with the crowd. Think peanut butter, celery, and raisins coated in sweet milk chocolate.
Neapolitan Printing & Company‘s dried mango slices dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with chipotle was also noteworthy—sweet, bitter, spicy! By the way, the chocolate moustaches pictured up top were also from this wonderful vendor.
And finally, decadent fudge from Studio City’s Auntie Früf’s Aahsome Füdge (AF2 Chocolatiers). The fudge was so rich, dense, and intense that a small square was perfectly satisfying.
After attending quite a few food events around the city, I was very impressed by how smoothly this year’s Los Angeles Luxury Chocolate Salon was run. The lines were totally manageable and the selection of sweets on hand was extensive without being overwhelming. In addition to tasting the lovely treats mentioned above, I really enjoyed speaking one-on-one with the artisans and learning about their craft and passions. Chocolate making, especially of the gourmet boutique variety, is a labor of love. Support your local chocolatier.