Cookin’ The Mint : Part III : A Sweet Ending

Part 3 of 3, this post shares the sweet treats at the Chocolate Bazaar of Standing Ovations: Cookin’ The Mint. Click here for Part 1 (event overview) and Part 2 (cocktail reception). I’ve always been thankful that I do not have any food allergies. And…

Cookin’ The Mint : Part III : A Sweet Ending

Part 3 of 3, this post shares the sweet treats at the Chocolate Bazaar of Standing Ovations: Cookin’ The Mint. Click here for Part 1 (event overview) and Part 2 (cocktail reception).

Cookin The Mint-Chocolate Bazaar

I’ve always been thankful that I do not have any food allergies. And I’ve always thought it would be especially tragic to have an allergy to chocolate. I just can’t live without it. I indulge in a small (or not so small, depending on how my day went) piece of chocolate each day. So, I was pretty much in heaven when we left The Old Mint building and walked across the chilly plaza to the uber-swanky Mezzanine for the much awaited Chocolate Bazaar.

I hope you like sweets, because this post will be oozing with chocolate.

The atmosphere of Mezzanine was a stark contrast to the historic and more serious Old Mint. The club had a strong energy pulsating from the music, the bar, and the chocolate decadence. Those who were making their way from the dinner at the Old Mint were merry from the champagne and excellent wines, and were ready for the sugar rush. It was fun to encounter some very familiar Bay Area dessert venues and to also become acquainted with lesser known chocolatiers.

Upon entering, the first vision to hit you was a 6-tier pedestal cake stand proudly bearing mini cupcakes from Just Desserts. My greedy little eyes scoped the tiers up and down, and I instantly thought Are you kidding me, one of those wimpy cupcakes will NOT be enough to satiate my eager taste buds! I wonder if I can sneak two? But I should know better. Just Desserts specializes in bite size snacks (you may be familiar with their award winning Brownie Bites), and they can pack a whole lot of flavor into one itty bitty mini cupcake. They debuted their new Chocolate Caramel Cupcakes, and upon first bite, I had to unlodge my eyeballs that had rolled to the back of my head. I just about fainted from the sheer bliss. It was utter perfection, and left me completely satisfied.

But of course, for the sake of experiencing the rest of the bazaar, I powered on and continued to stuff my face sample more sweets.

Cookin' The Mint Chocolate Bazaar at Mezzanine

Straus Family Creamery was scooping out smooth mounds of Dutch Chocolate or Coffee Ice Cream. I’ll give you one guess which flavor I picked. My husband doused his with a generous hit of Ghirardelli Hot Fudge – normally I would do the same, but I really wanted to get a feel for the ice cream with no distraction.

I did find myself alternating ice cream spoons with bites of Beth’s cookies, kind of resulting in a deconstructed ice cream sandwich. I had a chance to meet Beth during dinner, and she was such a warm, friendly soul. Her spirit lives in her cookies. If you follow on the Facebook page, you’ll know that I recently asked for people’s cookie preference. The overwhelming response, and I am included, was for a soft and chewy cookie. However, Beth’s cookies may have transformed me. I finally found a crisp and crunchy cookie that I just love!

There are two more that I want to tell you about. The table of artisanal chocolates was to die for. Not only were the chocolates delectable, they were miniature pieces of art. Saratoga Chocolates had some innovative chocolates, and one of my favorites was the Meyer Lemon Truffle – fantastic Meyer Lemon bar flavor enveloped in a white chocolate ganache. And Charles Chocolates made me stop in my tracks with their beautifully packaged hand formed chocolates. The Tea Infused Chocolates and Chocolate Butterflies were too pretty to eat (but I did). I swooned over the Raspberry, Passion Fruit & Mojito Hearts that were shimmering with luster dust. They were my personal top pick of the entire table.

Can you think of a sweeter ending to a memorable evening? I think I have a cavity just writing about it.

Thank you, Foodbuzz, for the fantastic opportunity and for letting me share the experience. And thank you, dear reader, for allowing me to gush for three posts. I hope I have inspired you to try some of these amazing food finds!


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  1. Belinda @zomppa

    What a dreamy place to be! I remember a kid in elementary school being allergic to chocolate and I always thought how terrible that was!! We always had to have a vanilla cupcake or honey dew donut for him.

    • Liren

      We have many kid friends with severe food allergies, and it has just become a normal part of our routine to always check foods, etc. And it always is manageable. But of all, chocolate allergies are the hardest for me, followed by seafood, because I love those so much! Thank goodness for cooking/baking substitutes and innovative recipes!

    • Liren

      Hee hee, I KNEW I would! I thought of you and your lemon bars when I tasted that truffle! It was sunshine wrapped in chocolate :)

  2. Cristina

    So right about the food allergy thing…so good not to have any known allergies. Gotta be stressful depending on the consequences. I like the concept of the “Just Desserts” bite-sized desserts [portion control – they’re….”teenie” =) ].

    What an amazing event! Did you get to meet anyone from FoodBuzz there?

    You should have your own food column…seriously. You are an excellent, descriptive writer (are you reading this Saveur, F&W!).

    • Liren

      Now I thought of YOU when I saw Just Desserts – I love the idea of small bites for portion control. Then the only contender is self control. I typically fail at that part.

      Anyway, yes, it was amazing, and I *did* get to meet Susan from Foodbuzz. That was a total surprise! She was seated at my dinner table and was so very nice. It really was wonderful to meet her!

      As for a food column, oh Cristina, you’re so sweet! I’m glad you think so – really flattered! And I would leap at the chance if offered (hear that Saveur and F&W?).

    • Liren

      I felt rather gluttonous – and there were many other treats I wanted to sample but really had to hold back!

  3. The Cilantropist

    Glad you got to enjoy such a sweet event. :) I probably would not have been able to restrain my self with all those chocolates! Love your photos!

    • Liren

      Thanks! It was so hard to photograph in such low light! As for the restraint – it was hard, believe me!!

  4. Stella

    Hey Liren, sounds like such a nice time. I’m glad you had fun.
    I can’t imagine having a food allergy either. I mean, I’m sure I have some slight allergies-we all do I suppose. But a serious one would surely be a pain!

    • Liren

      Hi Stella! Thanks, ’twas definitely fun. Oh, the world of food allergies and food restrictions can be so challenging — I’m thankful, too. For now, I’ll enjoy being able to eat whatever I want!

    • Liren

      It was the first time that I had tried Straus’ ice cream, and it was very nice – creamy texture, very smooth, good flavor. Ironically, I have used their heavy cream when I make ice cream at home, so it had a very familiar texture and creaminess!

  5. citronetvanille

    Oh all my favorite companies under one roof! Wow, I wish I was there, it seems like I am always somewhere else! I love Straus yogurt, I can just imagine how their ice cream tastes like. I think it would have been too much excitement for me :o) – What a wonderful event! thinking about it, I think I would have gained a couple of pounds just looking at the chocolate!

    • Liren

      Hi Silvia, If you like Straus yogurt, you’ll really enjoy their ice cream! They only have a handful of flavors so far, but I love the creamy texture! Oh and yes, I wouldn’t be surprised if I gained an extra pound or two after all that tasting.

  6. Jean

    Again, what a wonderful eat-fest. Even if my stomach said “Enough, no more food!” my mouth would have kept chomping on the goodies!

    • Liren

      Jean, you and I are alike. Brain definitely said no, but taste buds kept saying yes :)

  7. Jenn

    Hi Liren,
    These three posts have been amazing to read. What an experience! And so lucky to be living in the Bay area, for serious. The event looks spectacular, you got to try amazing food. *sigh*.
    Very nice *thumbs up ;)*

    • Liren

      Jenn, I’m so glad you enjoyed the posts – I worried that it might have been boring. Believe me, I am grateful for each day I am able to live in the Bay Area :) It was such a fun event to attend!

    • Liren

      Ah, you would have been at your prime at this event, Chocolate Priestess! If you ever visit the Bay Area in the near future, you must visit these chocolatiers :)

  8. denise @ quickies on the dinner table

    Knowing so many people who have one food allergy or another, makes me so grateful too that I have none, that I know of! This post has me weak kneed and oh my word – the thought of Meyer lemon and white chocolate is almost enough to make me keel over!

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