We recently attended a special dinner at Eclipse Chocolate. It was a tasting and viewing dinner to celebrate Eclipse founder and chef Will Gustwiller’s win on Food Network’s Guy’s Grocery Games. It was a very fun experience where we got to view the episode and eat the dishes he made on the show
I was fortunate to receive complimentary tickets to the event and the timing worked out perfectly because the dinner took place during my friends’ visit from the East Coast, who are big fans of the show.
We’ve always enjoyed the chocolate at Eclipse, so I was really excited to taste Will’s winning dishes. Whenever I watch a cooking show, I always wish I could taste the food, and this was a great opportunity to do just that.
The dishes were coursed out so that we were eating them at the same time they were being presented during the show. Afterwards, Will answered any lingering questions we had about his experience on the show. We were also treated to a new feature at Eclipse, Build A Bar, where you design your own chocolate bar.
The episode he competed on was a special chocolate episode, so every course featured a chocolate challenge.
Smoked Brown Sugar Drinking Chocolate
My favorite thing to get at Eclipse Chocolate is their drinking chocolate, so I had to order one to go with my meal. They offer many flavors and this is one I actually haven’t tried. All the drinking chocolates I’ve had here have been good. They taste like their name–like drinking rich, liquid chocolate.
Pork Tenderloin & Long Beans
For the first course, the contestants were challenged to create a savory dish with ingredients commonly used to make a German Chocolate Cake: chocolate, coconut, pecans and maraschino cherries.
Will cooked a cacao, cherry and dijon glazed pork tenderloin, paired with chinese long beans, coconut, pecans and hickory sea salt.
I thought the cacao helped to temper the sweetness of the cherries and the pork was very tender. My favorite part of the dish was the chinese long beans. The coconut worked surprisingly well and the toasted pecans added some crunch.
Fire & Ice S’mores
For the second challenge, the contestants had to create a decadent chocolate dessert. However, their shopping budget would be determined with a game of speed ball and all the contestants ended up with just a $15.55 budget.
Will made brownie shortbread, topped with torched vanilla bean marshmallows and frozen blackberries. It was served with a browned butter and chile burnt caramel drinking chocolate with a black salted rim.
I think this was everyone’s favorite dish at our table except for me. I did enjoy this course, but loved the last course even more.
Steak & Cocoa Nib Cream Pasta
For the final course, the two finalists were asked to create a romantic dinner. Will made a Porterhouse steak (our version was skirt steak) with a cocoa balsamic sauce and a linguine with garlic cocoa nib cream, charred asparagus, pink peppercorn, and chives.
The steak was very flavorful with just the salt and pepper rub and even better with the cocoa balsamic. The garlic cocoa nib cream was quite different from any pasta cream sauce I’ve ever had. The sauce is first cooked with cocoa nibs which are later removed, leaving behind the cocoa essence in the cream sauce. I especially loved the asparagus which were charred until crispy so that they tasted like asparagus chips.
At the end of the night, we got to bring home our chocolate bars. The hardest part of the evening was trying to choose just three add-in ingredients to my chocolate bar and to choose ones that would work well together. I’ll definitely have to come back for future Build A Bar Nights.
Overall, this was such a fun and unique experience. I loved tasting each dish while watching the show and learning more behind-the-scenes information about the show. Eclipse Chocolate is such a beloved local business that is very involved in the community, so it’s great to see this deserving win.
2145 Fern St, San Diego, CA 92104
Please note, as indicated above, my meal was complimentary. All opinions expressed remain my own.