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Monday, April 14, 2008

Sunday Smorgasbord: Chocolate Salon at Fort Mason

Posted By on Mon, Apr 14, 2008 at 6:31 AM

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Click here for more photos. All snaps by Janine Kahn.

Chocoholics stormed Fort Mason Sunday for a slice of the San Francisco International Chocolate Salon. Smart parents bought their wee ones (kids under 6 got in free), but everyone who paid the $20 entrance fee -well, at least those who arrived before 2 p.m. when we headed out- got their money's worth.

Chocolatiers from the Bay Area and beyond were generous with their samples, and those with the foresight to bring freezer-sized ziplocs took full advantage - stuffing their bags and faces with the rich treats as they went along.

We got there too late for the chocolate-inspired hairdos, but did make it to the body painting exhibition. Check out a short video of that demo as well as a list of our favorites from the Salon beneath the cut. . .

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Salon Fave #1 - Bananas Foster by Christopher Elbow

Elbow's Bananas Foster - which contain bananas and caramel flambeed with rum - is soothing to the tongue, with a distinct fruit flavor that blessedly isn't lost in translation. The ultimate comfort snack. Stock up at the locations listed here. (Spoiled SF has three!) Also exquisite: Elbow's "Ecuador," chocolate ganache of 70% cacao guessed it, Equador.

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Salon Fave #2 - Cosmic Chocolate's Barack Obama bites

If Obama were made of chocolate, what would he taste like? Oakland-based Cosmic Chocolate has decided the answer is "espresso cognac." They also carry a special Oprah-Obama collection, which you can check out here. (The Queen of Talk's chocolate is filled with raspberry ganache.)

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Salon Fave #3 - XOX Truffles Earl Grey

XOX's cocoa powder-dusted Earl Grey truffles were a favorite at last year's Salon, and they are still fabulous at this one with their hints of citrus and bergamot.

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Salon Fave #4 - Vegan Milk by Sacred Chocolate

Sacred Chocolate founder Steve Adler says when he's not sun gazing, he prays over every batch. (Listen to the interview here.)

Nothing like good vibes singing through your chocolate, eh? The Vegan Milk bar (or heart, in this case) is light, rich and creamy. For the true purists who like it dark, there's the whole bean cacao bar with skins.

Aside: Sacred Chocolate's products are heart-shaped because the brand was originally called Sacred Heart Chocolate.

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Salon Fave #5 The Chocolate Traveler GLBT tins

Tired of the barbaric breaking of chocolate bars with your bare hands? The Chocolate Traveler schools the primitive by presenting its product in a neat wheel of slices inside an easily-toted tin. We especially liked the buttery goodness of TCN's Creme Brulee White Chocolate Wedges. Coincidentally, they're 25% off online. How about that? TCN also gets extra points for producing GLBT-themed chocolate tins for SF Pride (pictured).

As for the chocolate body painting, here's what it looked like:

P.S. Thank you, Trader Joe's, for handing out the free water bottles. Sometimes, there's only so much decadence the palette can take.

--Janine Kahn

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