Well I said in my last post that I was going to practice with my new lens at Eclipse Chocolat, so there I was at 2:30pm! I still have a lot to learn when it comes to using this lens. My previous general-purpose one couldn't open up past f/4.5 for the shots I take, so having one that's as fast as f/1.8 is quite a change. But of course, I only stick around f/3-4.5 for food shots. So...please bear with me as I get used to the additional depth of field options I have available...I'll be screwing up a lot of shots until I gain more experience.
Okay okay. Enough of photography mumbojumbo. On to the food!
Artisan Caramel and Cheese Plate:
The four cheeses, listed from farthest to nearest, are as follows:
1. Black Diamond - White Cheddar -
3. Gjetost - Goat Cheese -
4. Amsterdam Reserve - Gouda -
Black Diamond- Pretty sharp, full flavor. The result of aging? Smoother than Trader Joe's Australian cheddar. LOVED IT.
Etorki- This one was kind of funky. I haven't had a lot of interesting cheeses, and this one caught my interest. I've never tasted anything like it before. I suppose it faintly tastes of mushrooms. I dig it.
Gjetost- Has a light caramel flavor, which is very intriguing. I've never had anything like it before. It's consistency, like the cheeses above, is pretty smooth. This paired very nicely with the burnt chile caramel. My favorite cheese out of the four.
Amsterdam Reserve- This cheese is harder than the ones above, and tasted pretty sharp initially. Maybe I just needed to cleanse my palate or something. Gouda never really interested me, and I don't know enough about cheese to say anything constructive...so just get out there and try it?
The cheeses are fine eaten as-is, but dipping them into the burt chile caramel introduces a whole new set of flavors and can actually complement the cheese, as in the case of the Gjetost. I really liked dipping the cheddar in the caramel too. I think I liked having the Etorki by itself, as to better taste that "mushroomy" flavor.
Sugared torta and candied apricots on the side were also great solo or dipped into the caramel. I could eat the torta all day. It's really light and would be great to nibble on with a cup of coffee.
I'm not sure why, but I was salivating like crazy as I was eating this plate...I supposed it's because everything tasted damned good? Go try it and compare notes with me!
After a bit of studying, I also bought a Salted Peanut Butter Cupcake:
I thought it was a chocolate cupcake at first, but it's actually yellow (eggy and rich). Doesn't matter. I like both types. The icing on top is a smooth dark chocolate with chopped and candied peanuts. A great combo! But wait, it gets better: The inside has a filling of Will's mix of superb peanut butter (available for sale at the counter) and sugar water. The result is a sweet/savory filling with a lighter consistency than regular PB.
Here's the cupcake cut in half:
Not a lot of filling, I know. But oddly enough, this is just the right amount. Any more would detract from the rich flavor of the dough. Flavors (dark chocolate, PB, nuts, dough) are very well balanced here. Doesn't this seem like such a nice change from the icing-dominant cupcakes from Sprinkles? Well...I guess it's all personal preference. There's no right or wrong when it comes to food, in my opinion.
There was a plate on the counter featuring one of Will's many chocolate bar creations. Free samples of Kyoto Green Tea:
This is, according to Will, one of the more "unpopular" bars because it targets a narrower audience: People who like white chocolate AND green tea. It's actually not that strange a combination, though. Green tea, as many of you already know, can give many desserts a refreshing flavor. Examples: Japanese style cheesecake (green tea flavored), ice cream, cakes, etc. The toasted rice inside give the nuggets a delightful crunch. There's just the right amount too. Not like Nestle's Crunch bars.
Oh I nearly forgot. I also bought a double chocolate brownie to enjoy at home. No pictures will be posted because I ended up eating it in the car...gosh I do this every time I bring desserts home. Brownie was good. Super rich chocolately flavor packed into a nice thick dough. The plan was to enjoy it with some strawberries I have in the fridge, but oh well. I'll snap some photos of the brownies from Eclipse Chocolat next week. Hopefully the pecan one is available! There's a constant rotation of brownie flavors. I'll have to try them all...AT ONCE! muahhahaaa.
Will gave me a small stack of coupons, so UCSD students, contact me for one so you have an excuse to try out Eclipse Chocolat!
Coupon1 - FREE Espresso, Tea, or Pastry with any dessert purchase.
Coupon2 - FREE Box of (4) Exotic Truffles ($10 value) with any chocolate purchase of $10+.
Hurry! coupons expire on 5/9/08.
Other visits to Eclipse Chocolate:
First visit to Eclipse Chocolat.
2121 El Cajon Boulevard
San Diego, California 92104