Matthew Lickona 4 p.m., May 26
Beer and Cacao Worthy of Serious Buzz
When Friday comes around, I embrace my vocational freedom in tandem with a few cold ones. Last week, my workweek-erasing boozing was put on hold. I had a date with some friends to take in a chocolate tasting at a production kitchen in Mira Mesa. Our guide for the early PM session was David Bacco, a chocolatier of over a decade whose young business, David Bacco Chocolatier, is in its infancy but showing a great deal of promise.
Ywa, it’s yet another truffle-centric chocolate venture. Yet, much like the breweries I cover, there’s always room for another artisan with good ethics and technique. Bacco utilizes a variety of high-quality direct-trade chocolates in thoughtful ways and combinations to put forth roughly 25 truffles and a quartet of single-variety chocolate bars that burst with flavor as a result of top-notch enhancers (exotic spices, fresh-fruit puree over fruit-infused liqueurs and luxury items such as 25-year-old balsamic vinegar).
Some of my favorites on a day that included consumption of almost 20 rich chocolates that left me with a caffeine headache rivaling any ale-induced hangover I’ve had in years included the Ceylon, a milk chocolate-based truffle made earthily spicy and holiday-ready thanks to a hefty dose of fresh-grated cinnamon, and the Incantato, a half-dome of 75-percent bittersweet chocolate encasing a mix of milk chocolate and passion-fruit caramel. And I’m not even a fan of often musty passion fruit!
The passion fruit caramel inside the Incantato truffle had great texture and avoided being as messy as many overly oozy caramel-filled chocolates.
One thing I am an outspoken fan of is craft beer. As such, I was Pavlovian in my intrigued, saliva-drenched enthusiasm when Bacco busted out a quintet of chocolates he’d crafted for San Diego Beer Week. He admits to being a beer novice but came up with flavor combinations that rank among some of the finest confectionary concoctions I’ve come across in a journalistic career stocked with hundreds of pairing experiences. Tops among them was a treat made with San Marcos-based The Lost Abbey’s Lost and Found, caramel, figs, and raisins. The filling was Newton-like (in a good way) in taste and chew factor. Another hit was his Magic Hat Number 9 truffle, which didn’t taste the least bit beery…just well balanced with its caramel and citrus notes and damn tasty.
In addition to being delicious, the aesthetic design of Bacco's beer-infused truffles was photo-worthy.
Those beery morsels are scheduled to make a return appearance come Father’s Day. In the meantime, Bacco’s everyday line, which is just as worthy of local love, is available at Cardiff Seaside Market or online at Bacco’s official website.
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