I typically spend my weekends checking out food events or new eating spots, but this past weekend was an especially busy one, sending me down to San Jose on Saturday for some bacon and beer and then to San Francisco’s Fort Mason the next day for yet another chocolate salon.

Here’s a look at some of the highs and lows of my tasting weekend.

Bacon and Beer Classic
On Saturday, I made my way down to San Jose for the Bacon and Beer Classic at the Municipal Stadium. For some readers with good memories, you’re probably thinking “Didn’t I just read about a bacon and beer festival?” And you’re right. I had the same feeling when I got another invite, because it was just eight months ago when they put on the first one. But why question another chance to explore bacon and beer in one place?

The event, put on in cities across America by Cannonball Productions, drew just as large a crowd and despite being fall (and chilly weather earlier in the week), the weather in San Jose was sunny and pleasant in the high 60s. The layout was a bit different this time around, with vendors and guests hanging out on the minor league field. Of course, there were tons of breweries serving up tastings of their craft beers, but I felt there were fewer food vendors that earlier this year.

And some of the food vendors were getting literal with the name of the event. While the one earlier this year had a variety of pork goods, playing with the concept of bacon, this time some vendors were basically just handing out fried bacon strips. Since I’m not a fan of just plain bacon, I gravitated to those who were more creative.

My favorite bite was a kalua pig coquette with spicy aioli and bacon bits served up by the Habana Cuba restaurant in San Jose. It was creative, delicious and perfectly cooked. Many of the bites paired perfectly with the cold brews offered up by places such as Speakeasy, Drake’s, Anchor, Half Moon Bay Brew, and Sonoma Springs.

Bacon and Beer Classic

A tasting of beer with the perfect foam head on a warm fall day in San Jose.

bacon

Several vendors just gave the crowds want they wanted … strips of bacon!

Kalua pig coquette

Kalua pig coquette with aioli and bacon from Habana Cuba restaurant

Trying out Anchor Brewing's holiday brew.

Trying out Anchor Brewing’s holiday brew.

Sundae from Frozen Kuhsterd

Sundae of frozen custard with spice cake and bacon from the Frozen Kuhsterd gang.

San Francisco International Chocolate Salon
The chocolate event put on by Taste TV happens twice a year in the spring and fall, but this time the fall salon on Sunday took place at a new location, the recently renovated General’s Residence at Fort Mason.

The General’s Residence was a quaint locale, with sweeping views of Fisherman’s Wharf. But because of the size, there were fewer vendors. Still, there were a lot of interesting new chocolate vendors showing off their new flavors.

One of my favorite discoveries is the fairly new Alexander’s Patisserie from Mountain View. Their chocolate truffles were the most colorful and had bursts of flavors (especially the “margarita”). Other chocolatiers were playing with alcohol, such as Evolve from Bellingham, Wash., which has a line of truffles infused with beer, and CocoTutti, which had one truffle with rum. Other chocolatiers stuck with more common flavors like sea salt caramel or matcha green tea.

Alexander's Patisserie truffles

The colorful creations from Alexander’s Patisserie of Mountain View

Amano Artisan Chocolates

Perennial salon award-winner Amano Artisan Chocolates is now starting to offer flavored chocolate bars such mango and chili.

chocolate truffles

Tons of chocolate truffles to drool over.

Paul Neumann of Marco Paolo Chocolates

Chocolatier Paul Neumann of Marco Paolo Chocolates from LA.

SF Chocolate Salon

The General’s Residence gave the salon a classier vibe.

matcha green tea chocolates

Matcha green tea caramels from La Chatelaine.

General's Residence

The recently renovated General’s Residence at Fort Mason in San Francisco is not opened to events.

And that was my weekend. Hope yours was just as adventurous!

 

 

 

3 Responses to Foodie Weekend: Bacon & Beer Classic + San Francisco International Chocolate Salon

  1. Carolyn Jung says:

    That’s a real eatin’ weekend! Salty and sweet — you can’t get better than that.

  2. Brenda Ton says:

    The chocolates from Alexander’s Patisserie looks incredible. You had such a fun weekend – love it. I am wondering how crowd both events are? How about lines for food? I always pass over events that seem big because I think I’ll get impatient.

    • Ben Ben says:

      Both events didn’t feel overcrowded. The Bacon/Beer event is planned well and spread out so you don’t get the sense of being overwhelmed. Plus the crowd is so busy drinking beer I don’t think they feel to rush for the food. As for the Chocolate Salon, over the years it usually have crowds but this one was smaller. Still, I always seem to run into the people who like to stand in front of the chocolate table chatting away and blocking the chocolate samples! 🙂