The first weekend in September I will be flying off to Portugal to learn about cork, but if I was in town I'd be sauntering down to Ghirardelli Square to check out the annual Chocolate Festival. It's free to attend, but tickets are sold for "tastings" and all proceeds benefit Project Open Hand. There are close to 30 vendors including Ghirardelli chocolate, Ciao Bella Gelato, Kara's Cupcakes, Presidio Cafe and Young's Double Chocolate Stout.
Some highlights include a chance to meet Kara Lind, owner of Kara's Cupcakes and learn about cupcake making and decorating, a wine and chocolate pairing seminar and demonstrations by Master Chocolatier Ann Czaja who will share chocolate recipes and entertaining ideas. Yes, there will be samples!
What: Chocolate Festival Indulge in chocolate treats, sip at the Wine & Chocolate Bar, and enjoy Chef Demonstrations and other family activities.
Where: Ghirardelli Square, 900 North Point St, San Francisco
When:9:00am-5:00pm, September 6-7, 2008
How: Admission is free, but tickets are available for tastings, 15 tastings for $20 or 6 tastings for $10
Why: This is a fundraiser for Project Open Hand, for over 20 years, Project Open Hand has provided meals and bags of groceries to men, women and children living with symptomatic HIV and AIDS. They also provide daily congregate lunches to seniors and provide meals to people who are homebound and critically ill.
Here is the winning recipe from Ghirardelli's America's Most Intense Chocolate Recipe:
Triple Chocolate Truffle Cake
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened, plus additional for pan
3 cups Ghirardelli Semi Sweet Chocolate Baking Chips
8 large eggs, cold
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Baking Chips
2 ounces Ghirardelli White Chocolate Baking Bar, chilled
1. Preheat oven to 325° F. Arrange rack in center of oven. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9 by 2-inch round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
2. Melt butter and semi-sweet chocolate chips over double boiler until smooth; cool slightly. Meanwhile, with a hand mixer or in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment, whip eggs and salt on medium speed until doubled in volume, about 5 minutes.
3. Gently fold, in thirds, whipped eggs into melted chocolate. Pour batter into prepared cake pan and place pan in water bath. Bake until the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan and is set in the center, about 40 minutes. Remove pan from water bath to a cooling rack and cool cake completely in pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. To remove cake, dip the bottom and halfway up the sides of the pan in warm water and run a thin metal spatula around the inside of the pan. Invert onto a plate to unmold, remove parchment paper.
4. To prepare ganache, bring heavy cream to a simmer and pour over milk chocolate chips. Stir gently until smooth; cool slightly. Pour ganache over top of cake and spread with an offset spatula to evenly cover. (There will be some ganache leftover.) Chill cake until ganache sets, about 30 minutes. To garnish, grate white chocolate bar on top of cake.