BY J. A. RIPPO
The beauty of Saint Jacques Chocolat is that it’s smooth. It’s not too rich, sweet, overpowering or the usual run-of-the-mill, over-the-top stuff you might find elsewhere. Enjoyed alone, the chocolates are enticing, with a fine finish and long aftertaste. Paired with Caffe Calabria’s Boulangerie Blend or with a good pinot noir, they came into their own and you feeling very satisfied indeed.
The Tasting Bars offer an attactive and well-packaged item that can add much to the menus of San Diego’s cafes. The are 18 small wedges of milk, dark, white or very dark chocolate are packed in clear plastic boxes that are prettily wrapped and tastefully marked. The contents of each weighs 3.37 oz. or 95 grams. The chocolatiers at Saint Jacques envision these boxes may be sold in cafes or individually added to dishes and drinks to add value to a cafes offerings. This expectation does not fall wide of the mark. The chocolate has a lot to offer. Gluten-free creations are also available.
As a local business, Saint Jacques Chocolat deserves your curiosity. It is a new company, based in El Cajon, and it sells its wares out of the Rust General Store on the plaza in Old Town, San Diego. The store is an antique sort of place that seems authentic to the late 19th century and offers a complete line of Saint Jacques Chocolat. One item is a pairing kit or paper box with chocolates and samples of Caffe Calabria beans, which come in small three ounce sample bags.
Word to the wise: if you get a sample from Rust, de-gas the bags if they show signs of swelling. The swelling indicates that the coffee was packed immediately after roasting and without allowing the carbon dioxide to dissipate. The blown bags are not dangerous but it’s conceivable they may pop at the wrong moment, possibly when you’re presenting one to your mother-in-law or your boss. This this does nothing to detract from the coffee’s quality.
Saint Jacques also offers a White Chocolate Chai Tea and a “Haute” Chocolate cocoa powder. These come in small, rectangular tins; the chocolate comes with a tiny whisk to stir the milk or water boiled for the up to eight demitasses one can expect to brew from each tin.
We tried the chocolate with both milk and water and, purists that we are, prefer to make it with water. You may prefer milk. That’s OK, since it works either way. The water brew did justice to some fine sesame seed biscotti and the after effect of this pairing would have been worth much more than we paid to experience it. The White Chai was engaging and we would urge users to add steamed milk to the brew.
Find them at www.SaintJacquesChocolat.com or by calling (619) 820-6189.