Artisan chocolatier opens chocolate, coffee shop
Robert Nieto and his wife, Tara, have been selling their pretty, artisan Fleur Sauvage chocolates at local farmers markets for the last three years, but on Wednesday, Dec. 15, they will open their own chocolate shop at 370 Windsor River Road.
The couple launched their chocolate business in 2019, after Robert Nieto worked as pastry chef at Madrona Manor, Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bistro and Jackson Family Wines. You might also have seen him as a competitor on the Food Network’s “Holiday Wars,” “Cookie Wars” and “Beat Bobby Flay” over the last few years.
If you like artfully made chocolate, you’ll appreciate Nieto’s skill with his thin-shelled jewel-like bonbons and chocolate wine bottles filled with truffles. Nieto has been up to his eyeballs in chocolate orders for the holidays, so they plan a soft opening for the new shop, highlighting just a few treats for gift-giving, including signature multicolor chocolate bonbons.
“We do have some holiday-themed bonbons, and we’re going to try to offer the Cocoa Bomb,” Nieto said. “We make our own cocoa mix, with cinnamon to spice it up and marshmallows inside.”
The shop also will sell jelly candies in Wine Country flavors like pear-chardonnay and mulled wine. Nieto pops the candies out of a silicone mold and casts them in sugar for a frosty coating. He also hopes to bake a few individual desserts for the holidays and give the classic bûche de Noël dessert a modern twist.
Tara Nieto will run the front of the store, where you can order espressos, lattes and hot chocolate to warm up on cold winter days. There are several seating areas, inside and outside the shop, which is located in a former driving school.
Fleur Sauvage Chocolates already partners with several wineries to serve their chocolates, from Badassari Wines in Windsor to Walt Wines in Sonoma and Napa. But Nieto plans to get more involved with the Windsor community.
“I’d like to offer a workshop on how to make your own chocolate bar,” he said. “It’s really family-oriented here.”
Store hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday but may change in the future. For more information, go to fleursauvagechocolates.com.
Bay Laurel goes salty, sweet with edible gifts
If you’re running out of time to bake holiday cookies, Bay Laurel Culinary has you covered with a range of sweet and savory bites, packaged in pretty tins or jars.
Among the choices are a Tahitian Vanilla Caramel Corn Tin ($30), a Shortbread Cookie Tin ($50) and a Salty and Sweet Tin (rosemary-spiced nuts, black truffle porcini popcorn, salty caramel pecan sandies, bitter chocolate sables and Meyer lemon shortbread for $80).
For stocking stuffers, you can pick up jars of Maple Pecan Granola, Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti, Mulling Spices and other treats.
If you need help with your Christmas menu, they also have a to-go menu of appetizers, side dishes and sweets, including classics like a Sour Cream Coffee Cake to begin the day, a Charcuterie and Cheese Box and a Classic Glazed Ham for dinner.
For the complete menu, go to baylaurelculinary.com. Orders must be placed by Dec. 18 at 707-981-8100 or email@example.com. Pickup is between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Dec. 24. 1370 Industrial Blvd.
Dreams of sugar plums dance in their heads
Mon Rêve Chocolate Art Studio will give several new French patisserie and chocolate-making master classes in December, January and February for cooks interested in learning to make authentic, sweet creations at home.
Mon Rêve founder Pooneh Yamini will teach participants how to make classic French patisserie such as the Gâteau St. Honoré, Double Chocolate French Cream Puffs and Valentine's Day chocolate bonbons.
There will be an in-person Gâteau St. Honoré demonstration class from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 17 and Dec. 18. Class participants will learn how to make puff pastry, cream puff dough, vanilla bean pastry cream, vanilla bean whipped cream and dry caramel.
Cost is $125. For more information or to register, go to monrevechoc.com and click on Workshops. 129 Miller Ave., Suite 823.
Seasons of Spice box a gift that keeps giving
The Savory Spice Company, which has local storefronts in Santa Rosa and Sonoma, has launched a quarterly spice subscription box, Seasons of Spice, for the food lover on your list who needs a little inspiration.
A curated box will be delivered quarterly and include a selection of products, from Spice 'n Easy recipe mixes and Savory Spice seasonings to bonus surprises. Boxes contain a blend of seasonal flavors to complement fall bakes, cozy winter soups, fresh spring salads and summer barbecues.
The Seasons of Spice box is sized for a family ($149.99 for the year), but there is also a sous chef subscription calibrated for cooking for one ($99).
To order, go to savoryspiceshop.com/sos.
Staff Writer Diane Peterson can be reached at 707-521-5287 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @dianepete56