Diablo editors' picks on great locally made sweets to tempt you this holiday season.
We here at Diablo are lucky enough to sample plenty of sweets and chocolates sent to us from all around the Bay Area every year leading up to the holidays. Here are are a few of our top picks.
► Auberge Torte au Chocolat
One word: wow. This signature creation from Paul Lemieux, pastry chef at Napa Valley resort Auberge du Soleil's Michelin one-star rated restaurant, offers a richly complex blend of flavors (pureed organic hazlenuts, dark chocolate ganache) and textures (a crisp hazlenut dacquoise). I don't even like hazlenut and I loved this desert, which managed to straddle the line between heavy and light, all without tasting too sweet (but still decadent). At $57.50 plus shipping, the Auberge torte is made within 24 hours of ordering and shipped out soon after. Their Amandes au Chocolat dark chocolate covered almonds ($17.50) and Pâte de Petits Fruits jelly candies ($32.50) are both worth trying too, while my personal favorite was their housemade raspberry and blackberry jams ($27.50)—just a little goes a long way to turning your morning toast into a special treat.
To order, call (707) 967-3147 or go to aubergedusoleil.com
► Clarine's Florentines
Started out of the kitchen of Lafayette resident Clarine Hardesty's kitchen, this business has flourished and it's no mystery why. These European-style cookies are a delicate balance of sliced almond brittle and bittersweet chocolate and feature simple, all-natural ingredients. Sold in singles, 6-packs, and by the dozen, these make great stocking stuffers or treats for Santa.
Sold in various East Bay markets, CLICK HERE to find out where.
► Recchiuti Chocolates, spirits pairings box
We all know that we tend to drink a little more during the holidays—well now you can pair chocolates with your spirits of choice (might as well get all your guilty pleasures out at once). San Francisco-based Recchiuti chocolates offers a 9-piece chocolate set with Sesame Nougat, Cassis Strata, and Tarragon Grapefruit flavored truffles specifically designed to pair with your favorite spirits. Recchiuti also makes wine and bourbon-pairing box sets, in addition to a host of uniquely themed treats for the holidays.
Go to recchiuti.com to order.
► Chocolotier Blue, Gift Box
Probably some of the prettiest chocolates you'll ever come across, this Berkeley-based chocolotier uses wonderfully diverse and fresh ingredients like cranberry with sage, grapefruit with rosemary, and pear with bay leaf (right) and makes it work. These futuristic-looking treats make a unique gift!
To order and to find locations, go to chocolatierblue.com/location.aspx
► Rachel Dunn Chocolates, Giant Caramel Apple
It's back! This renowned Concord chocolate maker's beloved super-sized caramel apple weighs in at up to three pounds and can feed up to 12 people. That's pretty good value for just $22.95.
Go to racheldunnchocolates.com to order.