World Class Chocolate in San Diego?

Eclipse Truffle

San Diego is known for many things. Beautiful weather and beautiful people? Yes. Beaches, great fish tacos, and palm trees? There’s plenty! Handmade artisan chocolate? Hmmmm.

Chocolate just isn’t something that come to mind when you think of California’s southernmost city. But Will Gustwiller, owner of Eclipse Chocolat, is on his way to changing that.

Besides being owner, Will is the head chocolatier of this San Diego-based artisan chocolate shop. This isn’t the corner candy shop you remember from your youth. Eclipse specializes in creating exotic chocolate infusions in truffles, chocolate bars, and a variety of other confections such as crème fraîche cupcakes and dark chocolate croissant bread pudding with creme anglaise.

But Eclipse Chocolat is a special kind of business for reasons other than its amazing chocolate creations. As you walk into the shop, you will see the Eclipse Chocolat Pledge painted on the wall:

  • To provide the highest quality chocolates made from all natural and, when possible, organic ingredients. We never use additives or preservatives.
  • To sponsor local and regional non-profit organizations by donating 10% of our net profits.
  • To maintain “green” operations, using post-consumer paper products and reducing our eco-footprint.

Sounds like a good pledge to me!

Those of you who read Pinch My Salt regularly know that this post is a bit of a break from the norm. For one thing, I don’t normally frequent high end chocolate shops (I’m not much of a chocoholic). For another, I don’t normally write reviews of such places. So what the heck is going on?

Well, I was lucky enough to be invited to Eclipse Chocolat for a San Diego Foodblogger Mixer! That’s right, in addition to sampling some amazing desserts, I got to meet and mingle with a whole bunch of local foodbloggers!

As an American writing a food blog in Sicily, I was a bit isolated from the rest of the foodblogging world (geographically, that is). I was always jealous when I would read about other bloggers meeting up for dinner and becoming friends in ‘real life.’ All of that changed during my trip to New York and Chicago last summer when, for the first time, I got to meet some of my favorite foodbloggers in person. And it was wonderful to discover that they are all as much fun in person as their blogs suggest!

So when we finally had to pack up and make the big move from Sicily back to the states, one of the things I looked forward to was becoming a part of a local foodblogging community!

Although I haven’t been writing much lately, I was really excited when I received the evite from Will inviting myself and several other San Diego Foodbloggers to meet up and indulge in some complimentary dessert tasting platters. I admit I was a little nervous, as I always am in large groups of people I’ve never met, but the event turned out to be lots of fun and I met a great group people!

And let’s not forget about the desserts…

Chocolate Olive Oil Fondue

Chocolate and Olive Oil Fondue. The combination sounded strange but it was good, especially with the strawberries!

Seasonal Dessert Sampler

This is the latest seasonal tasting platter, which included: Frozen Chocolate-Mixed Berry Merlot Mousse (say that five times fast!), Grilled White Chocolate Carrot Gateau, Dark Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding with Creme Anglaise, and a White Chocolate-Chamomile Lemon Bar.

Seasonal Dessert Sampler

A better view of the bread pudding from the same platter.

Foodlbogger Sampling the Seasonal Dessert Platter

Kim from Foolin’ Around in the Kitchen digs into that yummy frozen mousse!

foodblogger sampling a panino

Tyler of What We’re Eating with a Roast Beef Panini that apparently contained chocolate in some form or another. Yes, Eclipse Chocolat also offers sandwiches!

Lavender Vanilla Bean Lemonade

Surprisingly, this Lavender Vanilla Bean Lemonade was one of my favorite things!

Foodbloggers at Eclipse Chocolat

Unfortunately I didn’t get a good group shot of everyone but as you can see, there was lots of mingling going on! Will had the great idea for us to wear name tags featuring our first name plus the name of our blog.

Again, I do not consider myself to be a chocoholic and I freely admit that I prefer milk chocolate over dark. But truffles, whether made from milk or dark chocolate, are one of my weaknesses. The one below consisted of caramel chocolate ganache dipped in milk chocolate, topped with Lavender-scented gray sea salt and we were each given one as a parting gift.

Oh my!

Eclipse Truffle

Not sure how I managed to photograph that truffle before biting into it but it really was as good as it looks! I loved the crunchy sea salt on top and the hint of lavender worked well.

All in all, it was a great afternoon. My only regret is I didn’t get a chance to chat with everyone who was there. I guess we’ll just have to plan another event! Some of the bloggers I did get a chance to meet were:

Marie from Adventures of an Amateur Foodie
Kim from Foolin’ Around in the Kitchen
Alice from Alice Q. Foodie
Tyler and Amanda from What We’re Eating
Roger from The Fifth Deadly Sin
Katherine from Koko’s Corner
Darlene from My Burning Kitchen
Dennis and Elena from Sea Rocket Bistro
Liz from Fooding 411
Caron from San Diego Foodstuff
Marcie from FoodBuzzSD
Angie from CrazySalad
Ben from Ben Bakes a Cake
Josh the SD Chowhound
Will from Eclipse Chocolat Blog

I apologize because I’m sure I’m missing a few of you! If you know of anyone I’ve left out, let me know in the comments and I’ll add them to the list!

In short, the San Diego Foodblogger Mixer was quite a success. Not only did I get to meet a great group of people but I was introduced to a wonderful local chocolate shop that I probably never would have sought out on my own.

So, if you happen to find yourself in San Diego and in need of a serious dessert fix, Eclipse Chocolat is the place to go!

Eclipse Chocolate Outside View

Eclipse Chocolat
2121 El Cajon Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92104
619-578-2984
info@eclipsechocolat.com

Store Hours:
Mon-Thurs 9am-10pm
Friday 9am-11pm
Saturday 10am-11pm
Sunday 10am-6pm

Eclipse Chocolat Online
Eclipse Chocolat Blog

And did I mention they have a very comfortable couch and free wi-fi? These are the things that make me happy in life :-)

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42 Comments
  1. Lisa (Homesick Texan)

    I know it’s super dorky, but I like it when we wear name tags at our blog mixers, otherwise I’ll never remember which face goes with which blog. And that lavender vanilla bean lemonade sounds refreshing. Have you ever cooked with lavender? I’ve been thinking about making ice cream with it.

    10:27 am  May 13th, 2008
  2. Tempered Woman

    I’m craving chocolate so bad right now I seriously have a headache. You’re killing me with all of those great photos~ ack! ;-)
    Will from Eclipse seems like master of some serious chocolate concoctions. Amazing creations! Very jealous indeed.

    11:07 am  May 13th, 2008
  3. emon

    Mmm…I could pop a thousand of those truffles!

    So, Nicole…check back here one month from now? ;)

    11:25 am  May 13th, 2008
  4. Lydia

    Hey! Thanks for posting all the SD food blogs,…it’s fun to read from others in the same city! I’m going to have fun checking out everyone else’s blogs! :)

    2:20 pm  May 13th, 2008
  5. Nicole

    Lisa: Yes, it was definitely helpful (and yes, maybe a little dorky) :-)
    Tempered Woman: Good. Mission accomplished! :-)
    Emon: Well, hopefully this post marks my return to regular blogging! We’ll see!
    Lydia: I think I have a pretty good list of San Diego food blogs going in my Google Reader now. It’s cool to keep track of what all the locals are writing about!

    6:13 pm  May 13th, 2008
  6. Ruby

    God I love chocolate! Pictures look great. My Aunt Stella works for See’s candy and she often brings me nuts and chews (my fav). Anyhow, looks like u had a great time, how fun!

    8:47 pm  May 13th, 2008
  7. Bad Home Cook

    Hey! I’m only an hour away from S.D. and nobody told me!! And there was chocolate?
    I’m gonna have to start pouting now…
    Works for my kids…

    8:53 pm  May 13th, 2008
  8. Joe

    Oh man, that all looks so good…

    9:12 pm  May 13th, 2008
  9. Nicole

    Ruby I love See’s nuts and chews, too! Mostly because of the caramel stuff!
    Bad Home Cook We need to organize another food blogger meet up and make sure everyone gets included. Someone needs to compile a master list of San Diego (and vicinity) foodbloggers with e-mail addresses so that we make sure everyone gets invited! I’m still trying to figure out who’s blogging down here!
    Joe :-)

    9:24 pm  May 13th, 2008
  10. Alice Q. Foodie

    hee that’s my dessert! It was great to meet you Nicole, and I hope we can get together again soon! Will might not like me saying this, but we actually have a few really good local chocolate makers here in SD in addition to Will – Guanni, Chuao and Dahlmann among them. Hope you’re enjoying checking out San Diego!

    9:39 pm  May 13th, 2008
  11. Y

    What a great looking shop! Love your photos, by the way.

    1:34 am  May 14th, 2008
  12. Nicole

    Alice I’m sure the other chocolate makers are great, thanks for mentioning them!

    Y Thanks!

    7:19 am  May 14th, 2008
  13. jenny

    mmm, looks lovely! Thanks for all the san diego blogs, I’m looking forward to checking them out soon!

    12:27 pm  May 14th, 2008
  14. Nicole

    Jenny: Thanks for stopping by! Now I have another local blog to add to my list! :-)

    3:55 pm  May 14th, 2008
  15. Mary Coleman

    It doesn’t happen often but I’m speechless. Chocolate and Olive? Seriously, How was that?
    Those truffles must have been worth the wait for the parting gift!

    5:24 am  May 15th, 2008
  16. Helen

    Topped with lavender scented grey sea salt? Oh my! I’m not much of a chocaholic myself either but this sounds and looks stunning.

    1:25 pm  May 15th, 2008
  17. Erin @ The Skinny Gourmet

    What a fun event! now I’m more than a little jealous about the good times and innovative sweets. Perhaps there is some chocolate shop in chicago that will adopt all us Chicago food bloggers? dont we suffer enough for the weather? must we lack chocolate-based food blogger socializing too!?

    2:31 pm  May 15th, 2008
  18. Mrs. L

    I’m so craving chocolate right now!

    10:34 pm  May 15th, 2008
  19. PaniniKathy

    You’ve convinced me! For delectables like that, I can venture out of North County. I’m all about salt caramels – that last pic put me over the edge :-)

    10:48 pm  May 15th, 2008
  20. aforkfulofspaghetti

    Wow – what a completely amazing afternoon! The description and photos of some of those items are fabulously inspiring and taste-bud tintillating!

    4:56 am  May 16th, 2008
  21. Shannon

    I would love to have the recipes for some of those mouth watering desserts! The Chocolate and Olive Oil Fondue does sound gross, but looks amazing and I for one, would love to try it. I wish they would organize something like that here in Maryland. I would love to meet up with fellow food bloggers!

    3:56 pm  May 16th, 2008
  22. Tony

    that’s so cool that all of you met up like that. I go to school in Ithaca, NY (i.e. the middle of nowhere) so I know the feeling of not being surrounded by other food bloggers.
    ps. that lavender vanilla lemonade sounds like a killer combo!! It probably would be my favorite… right up there with the white chocolate-chamomile lemon bar, too!

    11:15 pm  May 19th, 2008
  23. Mandy

    I am already sold at the mention of lavender vanilla bean lemonade.Hmmm…of course it also helps that I am a chocoholic. I will definitely pay Will a visit when I am in San Diego. A friend is moving there end of the year. (yay!)

    7:33 am  May 20th, 2008
  24. swirlingnotions

    Oh my is right! That truffle looks amazing. And what a fun group!

    11:34 am  May 20th, 2008
  25. Sandie (Inn Cuisine)

    Very neat! What fun that so many food bloggers live in the San Diego area, but then again, San Diego is well known for food so I should have expected such a thing.

    I’m intrigued by the lavender vanilla bean lemonade, and that photo of the truffles? Oh my! You can just tell they are decadent and delicious!

    2:22 pm  May 21st, 2008
  26. Caroline

    This makes me want to head straight to San Diego! Great recap and photos. Thank you!

    7:29 pm  May 21st, 2008
  27. Nina

    There should be laws against posts like these – every photo had me salivating.

    Ps. I see you’ve made the switch to a .com. I have too, but I am battling to change my template. Do you have advice for me.

    12:36 am  May 22nd, 2008
  28. Dustin

    So I haven’t checked out your site in like…two months. Might have something to do with the ridiculous amount of bandwidth we are alloted out on the ship….anyways, I am here in Dubai, UAE, and I click on Flickr, but apparently that site isn’t in keeping with the cultural and religious values of my host country :(

    Good times…keep bloggin’

    3:17 am  May 25th, 2008
  29. Renne

    Hi there. I’ve been wondering around for couples of months. I’m living in Thailand and found your blog very useful (I love your Buttermilk Biscuit Recipe).
    All I want to say here is .. once I got a chance to go to the states, I definitely find this place!

    12:17 am  May 26th, 2008
  30. Roberto

    So when will you make a post about the new trend of “shot glass desserts”?

    9:19 am  May 28th, 2008
  31. Hélène

    This would be a paradise for me. Sounds like a good day you had.

    8:41 pm  May 31st, 2008
  32. Rachelle ~ "Mommy? I'm Hungry!"

    Ahh man! I love truffles. I wonder how I can sneak over there and get me one? hehee

    7:16 pm  Jun 2nd, 2008
  33. Caleb

    I live in San Diego and run my own food blog and never knew that this place, nor event existed. This is very cool! I’m gonna stop in and overdose on the chocolate.

    11:56 pm  Jun 4th, 2008
  34. Ann

    That chocolate looks sublime! I am a chocolate fiend myself – I just made my first Gianduja (triple chocolate, no less!) – and wow – what a stunner, and really *not* that difficult. But REALLY delicious. Glad to find a fellow chocolate lover. :)

    11:01 am  Jun 11th, 2008
  35. Kevin

    Just look at all of that amazing chocolate.

    1:59 pm  Jun 14th, 2008
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  37. kellypea

    Thanks for the heads up on this great place! I live in San Diego and have never heard of it before. After checking out Eclipse’s site, it’s definitely on my list to check out now. And how great that you all had the opportunity to get together — sounds like it was a tasty good time.

    6:59 am  Jun 21st, 2008
  38. aly

    that amazing look on that i want to eat it oh gash thank you forthat

    7:31 pm  Jun 25th, 2008
  39. Leesa

    Hi…

    I found this great place upon my return to France!! What a shame since I was back in San Diego for a month and had ABSOLUTELY NO idea it was there!! Next time, for sure…. They’re things look heavenly…. Great pics!!

    11:14 pm  Sep 12th, 2008
  40. Diane

    I wanted to thank you for posting the review of Eclipse. It sounded (and looked) so interesting, I went with some SD friends while I was visiting, and we had a great time! We never would have thought to try it without the review. Thank you for your writing.

    9:15 pm  Apr 5th, 2009
  41. Bistro MD Reviews

    mmmmmmm! sooooooooo tasty, real mouth watering

    2:24 am  Sep 2nd, 2009
  42. Andrea

    Wow, do those desserts look amazing! Wish I could visit them right now.

    You know, a great place for eats before your chocolate fix is Cafe 21 in University Heights. With Azerbaiijan roots, they serve wonderful dishes made from fresh ingredients all day. Check out their new dinner menu. http://www.cafe-21.com

    12:30 pm  Mar 8th, 2010
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