Categories
Food Events

Chocolate Sunday Part I

First off, I would really like to thank my friend Justin Rita for helping me out to hold all the samples and shooting video footage. Couldn’t have done it without him. Now let’s get this Chocolate Sunday coverage going!

GateauOChocolat prides itself on “luxiourious, organic, flourless, and gluten-free cakes”.  Normally when you think of all those things in the same sentence you don’t imagine that cake will taste very good, but after I was provided with a free sample I was blown away with just how good their cake tasted. The booth exhibitors were very friendly and welcoming to us and provided us with some information pamphlets. Gateau uses Ecuadorian Rainforest Alliance certified chocolate, organic butter and eggs from small farms, and organic, carbon-neutral Florida cane sugar.

A visit to their website has informed me that Gateau are currently waiting for organic certification, but do use 100% organic products. Their website is very informative and has information on how to best serve their cakes (available in either 6 or 9 inches). I met the founder, Emmanuel Roux, at their booth and he was really enthusiastic while telling me about their cakes, I couldn’t wait to take my first bite.

The cake was was rich and had a very soft texture. I loved the taste of the chocolate, it wasn’t too sweet, but just right. The strawberries and whipped cream on the side went well with it and the nuts on top were fantastic. My favorite thing was that this cake tasted homemade and not like something you’d find at Publix or some other grocery store. My photograph was taken as we were surrounded by about 100 people in a tight space so I do apologize that the photo isn’t clearer, but if you look below you can see the beautiful presentation of these cakes.

You can order Gateau O Chocolat’s cakes at their website: http://www.gateauochocolat.net/

Next we stopped at Casey’s Cookies. Casey’s is a not-for-profit company with the mission to “promote independence and improve the quality of life for developmentally and physically disabled adults” and was started by Casey’s parents after their daughter was born with Goldenhar Syndrome, “a congenital birth defect that includes deformities of the face and spine, and sometimes mental retardation”. Casey’s parents been through many struggles as Casey has grown up, but Casey’s Cookies is something positive that they have come up with. The booth was selling cookies for a dollar and so we decided to buy one, the cookie was pretty great and my friend only took a few seconds to finish it. Casey’s Cookies caters and accepts donations and volunteers as well.

You can visit Casey’s Cookies online at http://www.caseyscookies.org/ You can also find them on Facebook.

Pure Magic Ice Cream was our next stop (just the name makes you want some). Located in Kissimmee, Florida, these vendors were a little far from home, but we were glad they made the trip out to Clearwater for the day. Pure Magic uses Liquid Nitrogen to make fresh frozen ice cream, which according to their website is 320 degrees below zero. Pure Magic has been around since 2007 and was founded by Doug Mayhew and John Eustace. They can also serve alcoholic ice cream (interesting) and popular flavors are Pina Coloda, Strawberry Margarita, Kahlua, and more. I didn’t see these at their booth, but would love to try some! They cater all kinds of events and serve Tampa, Orlando, and Central Florida.

You can watch the process below:

Liquid Nitrogen freezing the ice cream. Justin had some ice cream and loved it, he claims its some of the freshest tasting ice cream he has had. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it back to the booth to try it myself, but it looked appetizing.

Pure Magic on Urbanspoon

You can visit Pure Magic Ice Cream at their website: http://www.puremagicicecream.com/. You can also find Pure Magic on Yelp and Facebook (as well as Urbanspoon-just click the button above this).

We backtracked and visited Taste Cafe at this event as well. It’s been a few months since I last visited Taste Cafe for their Bloggers Dinner. It was great seeing an old friend again and sure enough Taste Cafe had some great choices of food to sample here.

This dish (almost all gone when I visited their booth) was Taste Cafe’s chocolate bread. One bite of it and I wanted to eat the whole thing…no wonder it was almost all gone. They offered two toppings: Irish Whiskey Dark Chocolate and White Chocolate Mousse, both were amazing! As usual the owners mouth-watering descriptions of their food remains true!

Taste Cafe also was offering another sample, which quickly became my favorite at Chocolate Sunday…

Black Bean Chili with chocolate in it. I’m not much of a chili-eater. I will eat some here and there…but this chili was so good. It could convert me into a daily chili lover. I wanted to take the whole pot home (maybe I will next time I stop at Taste Cafe).  The chili was appealing to all my taste buds and in the right way. Describing this chili in any other way than perfect would be wrong. It’s no wonder Taste Cafe won the most unique use of a chocolate award at Chocolate Sunday.

Continue on to Chocolate Sunday Part II

Categories
Reviews

Taste Cafe Bloggers Dinner

Taste Cafe hosted a bloggers dinner last week for local food critics and reviewers in the Tampa Bay area. The dinner was provided free of charge and was meant to be a tasting of various dishes on their menu. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner choices were served to us. In addition, the smooth saxophone sounds of John Hughes complemented a pleasant evening of tasting. Each dish was served with an explanation of the dish provided by the owners.

Robin’s South African Breakfast, a brunch item consisting of a mixture of onions, tomatoes, and bacon with eggs had an interesting taste to it, but did not really speak to my taste buds. The Crustless Quiche was palatable, but a little salty. The Original Spinach and Provolone was superb and after devouring it, I found myself wanting more. I normally dislike spinach, but this mixture really went well together.

The pumpkin curry soup had some tanginess to it. The curry flavoring brought a different twist than what I was expecting. The pumpkin taste was there, but a little weak for my liking, perhaps overpowered by the curry taste. I think the soup would be better if it were a little sweeter as well. The taste was still pretty good though and I did enjoy eating it. I am a big fan of anything pumpkin related from pumpkin lattes to pumpkin pie and pumpkins are one of the main reasons I love the fall season.

The 3 spreads and a stuffed mushroom.

The hummus, tabouli, and eggplant spread tapas were all enjoyable. My favorite was the eggplant spread. I normally detest eggplants, but the spread had a sweet taste that hit my taste buds just right. The tabouli spread was my second favorite spread, covered in onions (my favorite vegetable) and having a lemony taste to it…if you do not like onions then it really is not for you. My least favorite spread, the hummus spread, was still enjoyable but did not really have anything that screamed out to me about it. One of the reasons the hummus spread was not as enjoyable to me was because I prefer moist spreads over dry spreads.

Medi Veggie Sandwich

Le Cheekon Sandwich

The stuffed mushroom was my least favorite thing I tried. I normally like blue cheese, but the dry tart taste in the mushrooms did not appeal to me at all. The blue cheese really overpowered any mushroom taste there. The Le Cheekon sandwich, my favorite tasting from the evening, included chicken, pineapple, brie, and honey butter, all pressed together. The pineapple gave the sandwich a sweet Hawaiian taste to it and I found the chicken to be juicy and flavorful, really satisfying to my taste buds. The vegetarian option, the Medi Veggie sandwich, was enjoyable, but did not spark my interest in the same way the Le Cheekon sandwich did.

The main dinner entree was curry chicken served over brown rice. Almost tasting a little Hispanic with a touch of curry spice, this entree was enjoyable down to the last piece of rice. They gave us a few condiments to experiment in taste with it, but I found the entree to be flavorful enough on its own. Although the curry chicken does taste good, I would still order a side with it if I was having it as my only choice, because it lacks a few central tastes to a complete meal, in my opinion.

Despite being completely stuffed, dessert came and we were presented with two desserts: Dark Chocolate Mascarpone Pie and Carrot Cupcakes. The chocolate in the Marscarpone Pie cupcake was sweet, without going over the limit and becoming too sweet. The texture underneath was smooth and really enjoyable, a balanced chocolate choice. The carrot cupcake was pleasant, but a little dry. The cafe con leche they served with the cupcakes was a little bitter, and I would probably have some milk instead with these desserts.

Overall, there was a number of different things served to us and these dishes could appeal to people with many different taste buds. Attention was placed on flavor and I would say many of the choices were flavors different from your typical expectations when having these options, a pleasant surprise indeed. Taste Cafe’s idea to have a bloggers dinner says something about them, they want people to know about the food they have, even if critics or reviewers have opinions that may not be what they want and that is a bold thing to do. Their diverse menu, interesting flavors, and hospitality will bring me back there again in the future.

Taste on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Name: Taste Cafe

Address: 500 Main Street, Suite E, Safety Harbor, FL. 34695

Phone Number: (727)723-1116

Website: http://tastesafetyharbor.com/


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