Monday, August 24, 2009

The Happiest Place On Earth

I went to the happiest place on earth this weekend, and it was not Disneyland, it was the Napa Valley. ??? I am not a wine person, and I am not the kind of person who likes snobby wine people, so why is Napa the happiest place on earth? One word CHOCOLATE.

The first stop on our dessert tour was Bouchon Bakery. OMG. It was all around wonderful. First of all the town that the bakery is in is so cute. Touristy, yes, but so It's a Small Worldish. I was very skeptical when we walked up and there were a ton of bicyclist hanging about. (Bicyclists are right up there with snobby wine people. I know I shouldn't stereotype, but we live by a popular bike trail and have had many bad experiences with them and my kids.) We waited in the back of the line, which was out the door and into the courtyard area, and in a few short minutes we were inside this adorable rustic bakery. With the wall of fresh bread behind the case of pastries, and the window to the kitchen where all of the goodness is made, it was hard to keep my focus on what I came for CHOCOLATE. Being the prepared girl (compulsive perfectionist) I am, I came with a list. I told the girl at the counter that I had a large order and she told me just to give it all to her, and with out writing it down she quickly got our order together. My husband ordered a ham and cheese croissant, my daughter a regular croissant, and my son a chocolate donut. Then there was me, I ordered: 1 vanilla macaroon, 2 caramel macaroons, 1 blueberry macaroon, 1 chocolate tart, and 1 order of bouchons. When we sat outside at the bench to eat I realized I didn't get anything for breakfast, my order was all for tasting through out the day. I took a bite from my daughter, it was good, then I took a bite from my son and I was in love. That was not a chocolate donut he had, it was something much more amazing. My sweet husband got back in the line, which was now even longer, and in no time at all he came out with a chocolate donut for me, and a loaf of fresh bread to take home.

So, the chocolate donut has chocolate frosting and crunchy chocolate beads sprinkled on the top. (Hey, that's where the bead talk comes in on this post.) That alone makes it better than an ordinary donut. Then they put in a chocolate filling unlike any chocolate filling I have had before. It is rich and creamy and very chocolaty not like the donuts you get at your corner donut shop. I am forever ruined from having donuts anywhere else.

Up next was the macaroons. I have only tried the caramel so far, but it too was divine. These macaroons are not like petite macaroons I am use to. These are the kings of the macaroon world, about 3 inch wide. It was soft and full of caramel flavor. I passed it around and everyone liked it, the only criticism was that it was very rich. Not a problem for me. I am trying to pace myself, but I will be trying the other flavors soon.

The chocolate tart. I am not a tart girl. I have issues with fruit in my dessert. So this might be the only tart I have ever had. I am not sure what the decoration was on the top. To me it looked like a little mouse, which is slightly disturbing to have on top of your food, with gold leaf fur. Mouse or not it was calling my name. It was a smooth rich chocolaty almost ganache with a chocolate crust. In between the filling and the crust there was a layer of crunchy toffee maybe, it was hard to tell because I inhaled most of it. My husband did managed to pull it away before I finished it with out losing a finger, so he could share it with our daughter.

Last was the bouchons, that are named after their shape of a cork. They are a mix between a cake and a brownie, with chocolate chips inside. I was afraid they were going to be too bland for me, after all they didn't even have frosting on them. I was wrong. They were perfect. This is what I need when I crave chocolate. It was the perfect consistency not too dense not to light, and had the perfect amount of sweetness. These might be my second favorite, to the donut. They are definitely more practical to eat on a semi daily basis.

So this was just our first stop. There is still more to write about, but I will save the others for tomorrow. I just couldn't say enough about this place. My family really had a great time on this trip, and we have already talked about making this bakery at least a monthly breakfast spot.

Enjoy drooling over the photos.

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