Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Valerie Confections' Fall Open House: Love (and chocolate) for the people

Last fall – Monday, October 26th to be exact – I was having a particularly bad day. I’m not sure what made it bad (though I imagine it was somehow related to work and/or sleep deprivation), but I remember I was ready to cry by the time the clock finally, mercifully struck 5 pm. At the time I was planning on going to my usual Monday night Bar Method class, but at the last minute, I changed my mind.

I’d been invited to attend a special Press Preview Event and Party at Valerie Confections to kick off their Fall Open House, which would be taking place that week. My initial reaction upon receipt of the invitation was to skip the sugar fest in favor of the aforementioned workout, but as I started to leave my office parking lot all I wanted to do was drown my sorrows in chocolate.

I didn’t know what to expect when I pulled up to Valerie Confections’ humble storefront at 3360 West 1st Street, just west of Downtown LA, but as soon as I entered the shop and attached workroom, my mood was instantly uplifted. Owners Valerie Gordon and Stan Weightman greeted me with warm smiles and a glass of champagne. They insisted that I grab a plate and begin making my way around the room that was filled with heaping trays of their signature toffees, salt and pepper truffles, rose petal petit fours, specialty jams, and huge pieces of their Blum’s Coffee Crunch Cake featuring two layers of sponge cake coated in a coffee whipped cream frosting and “delicious bits of crunch.”

As I nibbled on the delightful confections, I finally understood what Carla from “Top Chef” Season 5 was talking about when she claimed she was infusing “love” into her dishes. Each hand-crafted chocolate, each crunchy piece of toffee and each delicate petit four tasted like it had been made with love. I felt Valerie’s sincere presence in each bite I took, and by the time I made my way to the exit, I felt like I’d been given a giant hug.

This week, Valerie and Stan are again inviting the local community into their beloved shop for a Fall Open House featuring various complimentary confections for visitors to sample. The Open House kicked off yesterday, Monday, November 8th, with samples from their New Fall Collection, including their pumpkin seed toffee and their new chocolate bark flavors, and will end this coming Saturday, November 13th with highlights from the week. Each day of the Open House will feature a different item or items from their ever-growing line of products.

Today, between 10 am and 6 pm, Valerie Confections’ will be doling out slices of the aforementioned Blum’s Coffee Crunch Cake that was recently featured in the July 8th issue of the New York Times Style Magazine. The cake is as delightful as the owners themselves and is the perfect way to perk up an otherwise bland Tuesday.

If you can’t make it by the shop today, I highly encourage you to check out at least one of the opening house events this week. Even if you aren’t in a bad mood like I was when I was first introduced to Valerie Confections’ a year ago, your heart will still be warmed by Valerie and Stan’s welcoming presence and the love that they infuse into their artisanal goodies.

The Fall Open House tasting schedule is as follows:

Tuesday, November 9th
10 am to 6 pm
Blum’s Coffee Crunch Cake

The Blum's Coffee Crunch Cake was a favorite confection for many, many Californians until the Blum's Bakeries were shuttered in the 1970's. Valerie is proud to have recreated the cake for those who remember it as their favorite childhood dessert and for those just introduced to its unique flavors. The cake features two layers of sponge cake in a delicate coffee whipped cream frosting, covered in bits of coffee crunch. We will be sampling slices of cake for all who visit.

Wednesday, November 10th
10 am to 6:30 pm
Cookies and Hot Chocolate

Stop by on Wednesday for a cup of Valerie's new Hot Chocolate and an assortment of cookies including Chocolate Covered Shortbread, Sugar, Durango Salt & Chocolate Chip, and Gingersnaps.

Thursday, November 11th
10 am to 6:30 pm
Chocolates, Truffles, and Toffees

Our signature hand-dipped toffee in flavors like Almond Fleur de Sel, Ginger, and Mint as well as liquid caramels, black pepper truffles, and salted ganache truffles will available for visitors to taste.

Friday, November 12th
10 am to 6:30 pm
Valerie at the Market Jam

Valerie's jam, made with local, farmer's market fruit was recently named the "Best in LA" by Los Angeles magazine. Taste the best jam in LA for yourself. On Friday, we'll be handing out sample size jars of our jam in seasonal flavors.

Saturday, November 13th
11 am to 5 pm
Highlights of the Week

On Saturday we will be sampling all manner of chocolates and confections including much of what has been sampled throughout the week, and perhaps a few new additions. Visitors are invited to stop by and see what we have on hand.

Valerie Confections is located at 3360 West 1st St. in Los Angeles at the intersection of Virgil and 1st Street.


Gastronomer said...

I hope to swing by on Saturday! The spread sounds irresistible!

Monet said...

Now if only I lived in LA! I'm sorry that you were having a bad day...but there is nothing that a little chocolate and sugar can't help! Have a wonderful day and thank you for sharing this bakery filled with love!

Esi said...

Sugar overload for sure, but a delicious one.

Darin said...

I really want to check out this place...especially that coffee cake. I might not be able to make it this week, but I will...and soon.

bagnatic said...

pumpkin seed toffee sounds so good!

stuffycheaks said...

OMG that HUGE bowl of toffee looks lovely. Hmmm toffe day tmrw. tempting..

Diana said...

Cathy - Give me a call if you're going to stop by -- I'll meet you there! :)

Monet - I wish I could send you a box of their delightful goodies - I know you would be just as smitten as I am with them!

Esi - When it comes to Valerie Confections there is no such thing as sugar overload.

Darin - You can also check Valerie's out at the Hollywood Farmers Market on Sundays and the Santa Monica Farmer's Market on Saturdays. Recently they've been selling savory bread puddings and galettes.

Amy - I haven't gotten to try that one yet, so I'm hoping they have it when I stop by on Saturday!

Stephanie - Go, go! You won't regret it! Lunch break?