Chantal Guillon & Dessert First's Holiday Party Recap: A Macaron Lover's Dream Come True

Chantal Guillon Red Velvet Macarons - Fall / Winter 2015

There are only two things that I love about the holidays, having time off from work and indulging in seasonal desserts. When it comes to macarons and French pastries, Chantal Guillon sets a high bar with her creative twists, impeccable textures and unique flavors. Chantal Guillon's Fall Winter 2015 - 2016 Holiday Catalog was just released and you definitely don't want to miss the limited releases and seasonal flavors. Chocolate dipped marshmallow or foie gras and salted caramel macaron, anyone? 

Patrick and I recently attended a very fun holiday party at Chantal Guillon's SoMa location, hosted by my food blogger friend and author, Anita Chu of Dessert First and Chantal Guillon.

The moment we entered the shop's spacious kitchen, my jaws dropped to the vision of hundreds of colorful macaron shells accompanied with full pastry bags, an endless chocolate fountain and edible 18k gold paint - all there for us to play with, decorate, and eat. 

It felt like I died and the heavenly gods sent me to macaron heaven.  

There were so many seasonal flavors to try and while I loved each macaron, five flavors won over my heart: guava, foie gras and salted caramel, green tea, passion fruit and spice road. 

If there's something to be thankful for this holiday season, it's the creative minds behind Chantal Guillon. Seriously, take a look at the Fall Winter 2015 - 2016 Holiday Catalog and see how brilliant macarons can truly be. 

YOU SHOULD KNOW: The shop operates as a cafe and serves great breakfast and lunch, think French comfort foods like eggs cocette (ham, soft boiled egg, creme fraiche, gruyere and herbs) or a baguette filled with pork rillettes. The buttery croissant au jambon with ham, gruyere and sauce mornay is worth the trip back alone! 


I want to take this 10 level tower of macarons home with me. Can you believe that it holds up to 230 macarons?! 

Chantal and her team welcomed us into their kitchen to learn the art of macarons and we all had a blast.  

Anita Chu is an expert in all things dessert and her dessert blog is one of my favorites.  You should also check out some of her books on candy, lollipops, and cookies

The foie gras macaron is a new limited release for this year that cannot be missed, perfectly balanced between sweet, salty and richness levels, you'll want to order a box of 6 pieces just for yourself. 

You wouldn't believe how amazing this giant chocolate passion fruit grand macaron was. When you cut into the shell layers, you'll discover a chocolate and passion fruit mousse and a white chocolate truffle with a melty passion fruit ganache in the middle. It is incredible. Does the 18k gold chessboard decoration look familiar? It is inspired by fashion icon Louis Vuitton.

I painted my first macaron with a super thick coat of gold paint, not knowing at first that it was 18k gold until Jenn Yee, Social Media at Williams Sonoma laughs and says to me "That is one very expensive macaron!". If you've never tasted edible 18k gold before, it's sweet and metallic. It's usually brushed on very lightly, unlike my glowing creation. 

Playing around with raspberry, lychee and rose macarons. 

The party ended on a really sweet note. The shop offered each of us to pick out some macarons and pastries to take home with us. 

This heavenly lemon tart is to die for. It has the perfect amount of acidity, sweetness, and creaminess. The buttery crust is absolutely phenomenal. 

The Paris brest is a tasty traditional French dessert, made of choux pastry filled with traditional hazelnut praline cream. It was a delicious treat. 

Thank you Anita Chu and the entire team at Chantal Guillon for having us as your guests and for hosting an awesome event. I look forward to my next visit. 



1309 Howard St.
San Francisco, CA 94103

There are multiple locations





  • Mon to Fri  8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

  • Saturday 10 a.m. to sold out

  • Sunday - Closed

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A Taste of Bacano Bakery's Sweet & Savory Holiday Menu

It's likely that you'll find me at the Temescal farmers' market taking satisfaction in stuffing my face with Bacano Bakery's savory bread pudding. It was around the same time last year that I first discovered and visited Bacano Bakery in Emeryville and wrote about their insanely delicious baked goods and love for ancient grains on The E'ville Eye. It wasn't until then that I found an appreciation for gluten-free baked goods. I've been a fan ever since and love everything about them and what they represent for the local community. 

A selection of tasty treats at the Emeryville location. 

The holidays are just around the corner and I was super excited when I saw their holiday menu, especially because I simply love seeing their creativity and what they can do without using wheat. Think pumpkin caramel rum spice pie with a molasses cookie crust or a buche de noel with a twist - a chocolate cake rolled in a cardamom cream topped with chocolate ganache and decorated with Italian buttercream and meringue mushrooms. Say what?!

We stopped by Bacano Bakery to meet up with co-founder, Laverne (really sweet guy). He sent us home with a few treats to try that's featured on their holiday menu. 

Orange Almond Pistachio Cake

There's a really nice orange flavor permeating into the moist cake, almost like it was slightly soaked. The complexity, flavor and subtle crunch of the almond flour is wonderful. The orange and pistachio flavors are fantastic together!

Now, let's talk about that buttercream frosting which is freakin' amazing. The majority of buttercream cakes are heavy, but this is not that case with this cake because it's frosted with an Italian meringue buttercream, very airy, light and fluffy. 

The cake is beautifully designed outside - and inside. The texture is so consistent and symmetrical. 

The large version of the orange almond pistachio cake can serve 8 to 12 people. 

Chocolate Hazelnut Cake w/ Dried Cherries & Brandy

If you love the combination of dark rich chocolate (58%) and sweet cherries, with a bit of nuttiness, then you'll love this cake. The dried cherries inside this cake were macerated in brandy for 24 hours. It reminds me of the brandied cherries that sit inside a cocktail. Laverne suggests a scoop of vanilla ice cream to go with the cake, and I concur. 

Peppermint Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Patrick describes the crinkle cookie as a pillowy thin mint with crispy edges. I think it's more like the crispy edges on a brownie. You just can't go wrong here. 

Traditional Pumpkin Spice Pie w/ Maple Syrup

The pumpkin pie mix is a combination between local red kabocha and sugar pie pumpkins, which gives it a nice complexity. The texture is smooth and velvety. Instead of refined sugar, maple syrup sweetens up this pie. The flavor slightly leans more on the savory side in comparison to the overly sweet Paula Deen or Eagle Brand-type of pumpkin pies that many may be used to. It's the kind of pumpkin pie that makes you feel not-so-guilty after eating a couple of slices. 

From pumpkin pies, breads and rolls, to fall-themed cakes, there's a bunch of sweet and savory options to choose from. You can check out their holiday menu for November and DecemberThe cut off date for orders are 11/23 for Thanksgiving and 12/21 for Xmas, so be sure to mark your calendars!

I can't imagine a better bakery to turn to and rely on for the holidays than Bacano Bakery. It's guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser. #Fan4Lyfe

Thanks for all the sweet treats, Bacano Bakery! 

P.S. Bacano Bakery will be having their one year anniversary celebration at their Emeryville store sometime in early to mid-November. I'll update this post, and give a shout out on social media when I get more details, or sign up for their e-mail mailing list

UPDATE - 11/5/2015:

If you're in the east bay, you won't want to miss this! Bacano Bakery is celebrating their 1 year anniversary in Emeryville throughout the week of 11/10 to 11/14, which includes a Saturday tasting party for the community, a paella Friday lunch, raffles throughout the week and $1 coffee! Here are the details: 

  • $1 12-ounce drip coffee from their local supplier, Mr. Espresso coffee in Oakland, all week long.
  • Paella Friday Lunch, a Spanish-inspired lunch from Oakland’s Venga Paella on Friday, November 13, from 11:45 until 1:30 pm (until supplies last).  The paella will be accompanied by salad and roasted garlic focaccia.  Lunch also includes a free slice of Bacano’s gluten-free pumpkin pie. The vegetarian paella lunch is $10.50; seafood paella, $12.50.
  • Bacano For the Community—Saturday, November 14 caps off the week with an anniversary party open to the public from 11am-2pm with music, raffles and plenty of free samples from their holiday menu.

Visiting Bacano Bakery


1298 65th St, Emeryville, CA 94608


Holiday Menu:




  • Tues-Sat: 8am – 3pm

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Eat Real Festival 2015 Recap: 11 Memorable Things I Ate (Photos)

I get excited every year when my favorite food festivals come around, and Eat Real Festival is one of them. Patrick and I have been attending for the last 3 years, but this was the first year we went for all three days. When there's so many local food vendors nearby, it's hard to resist. This year we spent our first two days with Sandy (Foodhoe) and her husband Mr. K, and we also had a impromptu greet and eat with our Instagram friends @jevenhuis and @marzeedotes on Saturday. 

Patrick and I went hunting for the best bites and enjoyed some local beer (served in an official Eat Real mason jar glass, of course). Here's a look at the memorable food we ate and the vendors we visited: 

Savory Lemon Ricotta Zeppoles from Girl Friday Zeppole

Girl Friday's zeppoles are little fried pillowy bites of heaven that are chewy and moist inside, best described as an Italian donut. It's one of the best things we ate at the festival. The creamy harissa dipping sauce was tart and sweet, which took the zeppoles to another flavorful level. I really wish they had a permanent shop because I've been craving them since. 

Fried Calamari Tacos from Eat on Monday

Eat on Monday's perfectly fried calamari taco was the best deal we found at the festival ($3.50 / taco), and also one of the more satisfying bites. Our heads were satisfyingly nodding up and down a lot for this one. 

Chicharron Sundae from Friend in Cheeses Jam Company

I didn't believe Sandy at first when she told me there was a vendor selling "chicharron sundaes" at Eat Real, but there it was! Friend in Cheeses Jam Company was hidden and after spending a while looking for it, we gave up and Mr. K comes around to tell us he found it. This creation is a cone filled with house made chicharron, topped with chevre, salami and Tart n' Spicy Tomato Jelly. 

Fried Chicken Spring Rolls from Bicycle Banh Mi

There's just something about Bicycle Banh Mi that makes me keep on coming back to them at every event they're at. The food they make always hits the spot, whether it's their coconut fried chicken banh mi or fried chicken spring rolls. 

Summer Peach and Blackberry Cheesecake from Crumble & Whisk

If you love cheesecake, one taste from Crumble & Whisk will get you hooked. Charles makes the best cheesecake, and every time I visit an event he's at, I always find myself going back for seconds (or sending Patrick to grab seconds for me while I'm in line somewhere else)!  It's just so rich and fluffy, perfectly tart and sweet, and the buttery shortbread crust is to die for. My goal is to order an entire cheesecake one day from him!

Paella from La Marcha

Paella from La Marcha

La Marcha's paella was super flavorful, very fragrant and generous with the shrimp, chorizo and chicken. I am excited for La Marcha to officially open in mid-October, and can't wait to visit. 

Blueberry Jasmine Popsicle from Fat Face

I can never pass up getting a popsicle at Fat Face. Their popsicles are so damn good. I've never been disappointed in any of the flavors I've previously tried. I really love the mango sticky rice and thai tea popsicles, but I may have found a new favorite after having the blueberry jasmine. It is wickedly refreshing, very fruity and floral; you can really taste the jasmine tea.  

Korean Fried Chicken and Waffles from Bok Ssam

I really liked Bok Ssam's fried chicken; it was very juicy and flavorful, nice breading and covered in gochujang. I had a problem with the waffles and think that they were too soft and bready, plus the vanilla scent was overpowering. It would've been perfect if the waffle was crispier, especially on the edges. 

3 Hour Slow Roasted Lechon from Jeepney Guy

Another very memorable bite from the festival was Jeepney Guy's plate of 3 hour slow roast lechon with crispy skin, drizzled with JG's house made all-purpose sauce. I loved it so much that we decided to go back on Sunday for it, but unfortunately we were 3 hours too early and it wasn't ready yet. I'm definitely keeping an eye out for their next event.

Unique Macarons from Shades of Sugar Bakeshop

Shades of Sugar Bakeshop knows how to make beautiful and true-to-taste macarons.  I love the unique flavors they offer that all taste exactly like what their flavors are. Here's what we tried (from left to right):  coffee date, earl grey meyer lemon, vanilla bourbon, lychee rose, Mexican hot chocolate, jalapeño pineapple, strawberry fig peppercorn. I would recommend every single cookie we tried, especially my three favorites: earl grey meyer lemon, jalapeno pineapple and lychee rose. My mind has never been so blown away by macarons before until now. 

Thai Tea and Coconut Mocha Frozen Custard from Frozen Kuhsterd

Frozen Kuhsterd makes a killer frozen custard that's creamy and rich. I loved all the three flavors I tried: thai tea, coconut mocha and malted white chocolate. 

If you missed out this year, don't be sad - you can still experience the food. Below, I've listed where you can find or track down all the vendors I mentioned in this post: 

  1. Shades of Sugar Bakeshop: They don't have a store, so will only be appearing at events for now. Follow them on Facebook or Twitter to get the latest updates. 
  2. Frozen Kuhsterd: Here's a list of all their events here. 
  3. Jeepney Guy: Follow them on Facebook to get the latest updates. 
  4. Bok Ssam: Unfortunately, they don't keep up with a social media presence and don't list their events anywhere to be found. 
  5. Fat Face: I haven't seen Fat Face at any other Bay Area event I've attended, but if you're in Davis, then you're in luck. 
  6. La Marcha: It looks like La Marcha is opening very soon in Berkeley, likely by mid-October. 
  7. Crumble & Whisk: Follow Charles on Twitter to see where he'll be next. 
  8. Bicycle Banh Mi: Stay in the loop via FacebookTwitter and Instagram
  9. Eat on Monday: Visit their website for a list of their events. 
  10. Girl Friday Zeppole: Follow them on Facebook for event updates. 
  11. Friend in Cheeses Jam Company: You can buy the jam on their website or one of these locations and put those ingredients together yourself, or find out where they'll be next. 

Tip: If you're curious about how it's like going all three days, we found Friday at 7pm to be the most relaxing, especially with the cool weather and smaller-sized crowd. It's nice and quiet on Saturday morning 15 minutes after it opens. Sunday was our least favorite day because many of the vendors were not ready with food by the time the festival opened, plus we ran into a few vendors who sold out of food over the last two days. 

Eat Real Peeps: What would be really helpful for next year is to see a map of where each vendor is placed at the festival and a menu of what each vendor is serving up. 

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