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Every year, Salt Lake Magazine organizes a fantastic food event: Tastemakers. Some of Utah’s best restaurants set up shop at the Gallivan Center Plaza to offer samples of what they have to offer.

This year’s event will be on Thursday, May 28 and Friday, May 29. The $30 regular ticket gets you tastings from all of the restaurants on-site as well as special offers from nearby downtown restaurants. Several wines will also be available for tasting. VIP tickets are also available with even more offers.

Restaurants offering tastings at the Gallivan Plaza include:

Downtown restaurants with special offers include:

If you happen to be in the Salt Lake area next Thursday and Friday, you should check it out!

So, we’re a little bit late with this one but here’s one last recipe for chocolate month: Chocolate Cream Puffs.

Chocolate Cream Puffs

Everyone loves cream puffs, right? So how do we make them better? Simple: add chocolate. Or, in this case, chocolate and a little cinnamon. If that combination strikes you as odd, just give it try. The light touch of cinnamon here is just enough to pique your tastebuds without overwhelming them. Throw in some chocolate hazelnut spread for decadent nutty goodness and some whipped cream for some lighter sweetness and you may never go back to the same old cream puffs again.

A few years ago, Ingrid and I (along with some friends) participated in a yurt dining experience at a nearby ski resort. We snowshoed from the resort to their yurt where we enjoyed an unbelievable five-course meal prepared by a master chef right there in the yurt. The entire meal was unutterably exquisite but the highlight was, of course, dessert. It was a bread pudding, which may sound like a humble dessert but this was no ordinary bread pudding. The bread in the bread pudding was croissant and pound cake. Delectable as the bread pudding itself was, though, what really stuck with us were the sauces: heirloom chocolate and bourbon crème anglaise.

Why heirloom chocolate? It turns out that nearly all of the chocolate that you or I have ever tasted has come from a single variety of the cacao tree. More easily and widely cultivated than other varieties of the tree, its beans are also the most bitter tasting. Other varieties, heirloom varieties, are almost always less bitter and bring with them new flavors you likely have not experienced before.

Bread Pudding with Heirloom Chocolate Sauce

Ingrid immediately remembered that heirloom chocolate sauce when we started working on our chocolate recipes. We wanted to re-create it as best we could. We were delighted to find a local supplier of heirloom chocolate, Millcreek Cacao Roasters. Armed with our heirloom chocolate, we mixed it with just enough cream, butter, and corn syrup to produce a sauce with the right texture but that still had an intense chocolate flavor. And, like the chef that night, we paired it with a luscious bread pudding.

When most people think of chocolate these days, their thoughts naturally turn to desserts and other sweets. There’s no shame in that; few temptations exist that can match the allure of even the simplest of chocolate bars. But sweet chocolate confections are a relatively recent invention. For centuries, chocolate was enjoyed only unsweetened. When we decided to do a chocolate month, we knew we had to include at least one savory dish. So we made mole (pronounced mole-ay).

Mole Sauce

Although not as widely known outside of Mexico as it should be, mole is one of the most representative dishes of Mexican cuisine. While most popular in central and southern Mexico, nearly every region of the country has its own version of mole. Ninety-nine percent of Mexicans have tried at least one type of mole. Many regions host mole festivals to celebrate the dish’s local heritage. At their annual mole festival in 2005, the city of Puebla set the world’s record for largest pot of mole, feeding 11,000 people.

But where does mole come from? According to one legend, the nuns of El Convento de Santa Rosa en Puebla de los Ángeles panicked when they learned that the archbishop was coming for a visit. They were wholly unprepared for such a distinguished guest and they worried about what food they could possibly serve him. They prayed desperately and then inspiration came. They mixed chilis, spices, and whatever else they could find—even a little chocolate—and let it boil down into a thick, rich sauce.

The only meat they had was an old turkey, which they slaughtered and cooked in the sauce. With great trepidation, they served the archbishop this strange concoction upon his arrival. To their great surprise and delight, the archbishop loved their invention and the fame of their new sauce spread throughout Mexico.

We’ll never really know how much truth there is to that legend. There’s one thing we know for certain, though: mole is delicious!

We’ve all been there. You’re moving along with a great recipe; you’re in the groove. The next step calls for carrots. No problem, you bought the carrots along with everything else you needed for the recipe. Now, what do you do with them? The instructions just say to add them to the pot but that can’t be right, they haven’t been peeled or cut yet. You check the ingredient list and only then do you realize it calls for the carrots to have been peeled, trimmed, and sliced before you even started cooking. Now you have to make sure nothing burns while you take the time to prep those carrots.

I’m not sure why so many recipes call for ingredients to already be prepped in their ingredient list. Maybe they’re written by chefs who are used to having assistants around? Perhaps the authors want to make the recipes seem easier than they really are? Or maybe they just wanted to save some space? Whatever the reason, the truth is I’m caught off guard by this far more often than I care to admit and it’s always bothered me.

On our website, you won’t see ingredient lists that call for items that have already been prepped (unless, of course, they come that way at the grocery store). If there are vegetables to slice, we tell you that in step 1. We try to be as straightforward as we can about how long our recipes take to make. After all, we don’t have any sous chefs and we’re guessing you don’t, either. 😀

Attentive readers may recall that at the end of Irish Month, we promised an Irish dessert that also fits in with April’s theme. Now that we’ve revealed April’s theme of chocolate, we can also unveil our fantastic Irish dessert, Irish Cream Cheesecake!

Irish Cream Cheesecake

Anyone who’s tried to tackle a traditional cheesecake knows how vexingly finicky they are to make. Fear not, though, for our Irish Cream Cheesecake is an easy no-bake style. While many no-bake cheesecakes rely on gelatin to realize their texture, our recipe harnesses the awesome power of chocolate to deliver just the right firmness. And a splash of Irish cream adds luxuriant highlights you won’t soon forget.

Whenever anyone tells me they don’t care for chocolate, I have to take a moment and seriously consider if they’re trying to put one over on me! There are a plethora of delicious flavors in this world but none of them beat chocolate. “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend?” No way! It’s chocolate! I’ve got my favorites in local food corners throughout Salt Lake City: the pots de crème at Hatch Family Chocolates awakens the senses as it melts in your mouth! Leatherby’s Family Creamery’s hot fudge sundae is covered with a delectable home-made chocolate sauce unlike any other! Gourmandise’s Raspberry Chocolate Mousse cake is a delicate, well-thought-out dessert that promises great flavor! Okay, I have to stop before I leave mid-sentence and indulge in something chocolatey. Like my Mayan ancestors, I might just request to be buried with a cacao pod. I want to have chocolate forever!

The recipes we will be featuring this month will all have the best ingredient in the world: chocolate! We’ll share recipes for an Irish Cream Cheesecake (booze + chocolate = a major winner in my book!), a traditional Mexican mole, an heirloom chocolate sauce paired with a basic (but phenomenal) bread pudding and last but certainly not least, a crowd favorite in the form of chocolate cream puffs!

Prepare to be converted, chocolate haters!

We’ve heard from a few readers that while the recipe format we use is easy to follow, it makes compiling a shopping list a little difficult because the ingredients are so spread out. In fact, Ingrid was the first to point that out. So, we fixed it. From now on, at the top of every recipe, you’ll find a consolidated shopping list, as well as a consolidated equipment list.

Of course, it would have been simple to merely repeat each ingredient at the top exactly as it appears below. But we wanted to go one step further. One thing that’s always bothered me about cooking is that the units used in recipes (cups, tablespoons, etc.) are almost never the units used on the packaging (most often ounces and fluid ounces). When I get to the grocery store, I often have to guess about how much to buy. For example, when a recipe calls for 3 cups of chicken broth, how many 14-ounce cans do you need to buy?

Well, our shopping list is different. While the ingredient list next to each step still uses the customary units, the shopping list at the top has been converted to use the packaging units. So instead of seeing 3 cups of chicken broth, you’ll see 24 ounces. When you find 14-ounce cans at the grocery store, you’ll know immediately that you’ll need to get 2 cans.

We’re excited to have this new feature on our website and we hope it makes life a little easier when you use our recipes.

To finish off Irish month, we turned to some classic Irish comfort food. We’ll start off with a simple but elegant side dish, glazed carrots. Carrots have a natural sweetness that this dish unveils and enhances. Our recipe—Glazed Carrots with Whiskey & Ginger—adds some artfully sliced fresh ginger to punch up the flavor and a dash of whiskey for an Irish twist.

Glazed Carrots with Ginger & Whiskey

The second dish is the quintessential Irish comfort food, Dublin Coddle. The Irish, and especially Dubliners, have been making this stew of potatoes, onions, sausages, and bacon for hundreds of years. Almost every family has their own version of this recipe. We took a fairly traditional recipe and made just a few tweaks to modernize it. Specifically, we par-cook a few of the ingredients separately so that the whole stew doesn’t have to sit on the stove all day. If you try it, though, I think you’ll agree that it still tastes just as good.

Dublin Coddle

Finally, I have a little teaser for a recipe that we’ll be publishing very soon. We didn’t forget about dessert for Irish month. We found a fantastic no-bake dessert that’s both easy to make and delectable. It also fits in perfectly with April’s theme, so stay tuned!

With springtime coming at last and St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, we’ve had Ireland on the mind. Sure, there’s plenty of beautiful green country in Ireland. There’s rich culture and history throughout the fabled Emerald Isle. That’s all fine and good. Most importantly for us, though, is the Irish food. That’s why this month, we’re celebrating the culture and traditions of Ireland through its cuisine.

The bond between the Irish and their food dates far back into antiquity. According to an old Irish tale, an ordinary salmon ate nine hazelnuts that had fallen into the Well of Wisdom. In so doing, the salmon gained all the world’s wisdom, which would pass to whomever ate the salmon. Many sought after the fish but after many years, the great poet Finn Eces finally succeed in catching it after a mighty struggle. Before going to rest, Finn instructed his pupil, Fionn mac Cumhaill, to cook the fish but not eat any of it. Fionn cooked the fish as instructed and used his thumb to test if the fish was finished cooking. A single drop of hot fat burned Fionn as he did so and instinctively, he sucked on his thumb to relieve the pain. All of the fish’s wisdom had been concentrated in that single drop and thus Fionn became the wisest man in Ireland.

For our first dish this month, we turned to contemporary Ireland rather than the past. What we found was a beef stew that was almost too delicious to be believed. It starts with beef short ribs which are then cooked to tender perfection in a bath of Irish stout. When the stew is almost done, amazing herb dumplings are added to the pot. The result is a rich beef stew which soothes the soul and fills the belly.

Beef in Stout with Herb Dumplings