Title: Publisher of Culinary Muse and Cocoa Tutor
Hometown: San Leandro, CA
1. What happens on your Chocolate & Knitting tour?
We start off at a knitting store and take a lesson that lasts about an hour, then we have a lesson on how to taste chocolate, then we go for lunch. After lunch we stop at some gourmet shops that happen to sell really nice chocolate then we visit another knitting store and the afternoon ends at the Ferry Building where we visit Recchiuti and Scharffen Berger.
I try to book a minimum of two people, often a group of friends sign up together, or knitting groups, it’s always people who are able to take an afternoon off since the tour doesn’t run on the weekends. So far only women have signed up but men make some of the best knitters so I think it’s only a matter of time before they start coming along too.
2. How did you come up with the combination of chocolate and knitting?
I was getting this wonderful feeling from knitting, a meditative state, not quite euphoria but it reminded me of the feeling I got when I would eat really great chocolate. And I realized they were both things that people were absolutely passionate about and there was a way to marry the two.
3. How would you recommend that someone tastes chocolate?
I would suggest going to someplace like Cost Plus and getting a 60 or 65% chocolate from three different manufacturers and tasting each one, maybe El Rey, Guittard, Scharffen Berger or Valrhona. That way you can learn what you like.
4. What are your favorite chocolates and places to shop for chocolate?
I like Charles Chocolates, they do an amazing Mojito chocolate. I also really enjoy Guittard Bittersweet 72% bar. I buy chocolate at Cheese Plus on Polk St and also at Chocolate Covered on 24th St. When it comes to pairing chocolate and wine, I like Essensia with Green & Black’s white chocolate, or a good quality dark chocolate with a fruity pinot noir.
5. What’s next for the tours?
Neighborhood culinary tours, including gourmet cheese shops, wine shops, a neighborhood restaurant that only locals know about, some bargain shops, and tasting at each place along the way, of course. I’ll also be teaching a chocolate and port pairing class at the Cheese School of San Francisco in October.