With some time off, I couldn't resist taking a quick trip down to San Diego to say hi to old co-workers, visit my favorite cheap eats, and of course stick my head into Eclipse Chocolat.
Though I did not bring a camera, I snapped a quick shot of our dessert plate with my brother's camera phone.
This lazy half-assed shot certainly does not reflect my usual work, and kinda does Will's hard work a disfavor, but I really wanted to show everyone some of the new selections available.
Starting from the rear and progressing clockwise is the masala chai banana bread, sweet potato bread pudding, fig bar, a whoopie pie behemoth, and an azteca cinnamon roll bread pudding in the middle.
As usual, I found it hard to immediately decide on a favorite and needed some time to weigh and critique each item. The moist banana bread is very impressive. Masala chai definitely spices things up and gives the banana bread a very unique character and armoa. Sweetness and flavors of other ingredients are balanced extremely well, as usual. My brother's favorite was the sweet potato bread pudding, and with good reason. It felt like the heftiest item on the plate with its rich buttery goodness and subtle sugars from the sweet potato. Furthermore, because of the addition of some sweet potato skin bits, the flavor is amplified--a very good touch by Will. Try it sometime. The meager bits of baked sweet potato or yam that sticks onto the skin packs a surprisingly sweet punch. This is my second favorite. An ideal comfort food, especially when served warm. Perfect for the cold season.
Will's grilled fig bar was very enjoyable as well, and though it is the sweetest item on the plate, rest assured that you will still taste the fruit. I loved its crispy exterior. White chocolate pieces only make it taste even better than it looks/sounds. Then we have the whoopie pie...my god this thing was huge. A rich dark chocolate cake/cookie? sandwiches a frozen cream that tastes like a mix of sweet cream, cocoa nibs, and a dash of sea salt. Good, though I enjoyed the gelatowiches a lot more. It is interesting to note that chocolate flavors do not come forward until you start chewing for a few seconds. This may be due to the fact that our tastebuds have difficulty tasting chilled items. I'm no chef, but I believe that if the whoopie pie's exterior was a bit moister and more chocolately, the delayed-tasting can possibly be alleviated, thus making a better dessert.
Finally, after much deliberation, I found the azteca cinnamon roll bread pudding to be my #1. My heart was initially set on the banana bread, but the thick richness of the cinna-roll won me over. Will strikes such a perfect balance of sugar, spice, and cream that you might see angels with your first bite. Okay that's an exaggeration, but trust me...it's damned good.
We also picked up a box of truffles to take home. As a Thanksgiving special, two complimentary truffles are given with every ten purchased. How could I resist? Eclipse features countless flavors and I've just scratched the surface. Each truffle bursts with bright flavors ranging from the conservative double espresso to the more inventive ginger green tea. Lavender sea salted caramel is another popular crowd pleaser. In my opinion, the bold presence of flavors other than chocolate is what makes truffles from Eclipse stand out from the ones from Godiva (my usual source). A big assertive two thumbs up from me.