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I'm proud of San Diego's own chocolatiers, and my two top favorites are Chuao and Eclipse. Because Eclipse is closer to where I live, it's my go-to place for last-minute desserts. Meaning, when I'm tasked with bringing a treat to a dinner party and my man (a.k.a. "live-in pastry chef") doesn't have time to bake, I stop into Eclipse for something exotic and delectable. It's not cheap, but fine things seldom are.

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Gone are the days of simple milk chocolate with the occasional almond. These days, we like salt and spice with our sweet. We take things up a notch. Hershey's got nothing on the rousing ingredients smaller chocolatiers are experimenting with. Eclipse's truffles come in complex combinations such as Pomegranate Sage, Blackberry Goat Cheese, Basil Absinthe, and Lavender Poppy.

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This time, I went for the Chocolate Rococos, or what I refer to as logs. My favorite is the Chili Burnt Caramel. The logs are great as gifts, or to cut up and share among friends.

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