An East Bay Valentine’s–Galentine’s Week Roundup

Top from left: Wine and chocolate tasting at Hollie’s Homegrown, a box of Bisou Chocolates and a Starter Bakery confection below it, heart-shaped cakes at Sweet Adeline Bakeshop, a breath of spring from Left Field Flower Co. Bottom row from left: Charcuterie art by Mosley’s Cafe, cookies from Batter Bakery, and a Valentine from La Noisette Sweets. (photos courtesy of the makers)


An especially hip place to crowd in and swoon over sweets (plus savories and flowers) on Wednesday, February 14 is the old brick factory at 2701 8th Street in West Berkeley that was turned into the collective workplace + shops  known as the Berkeley Kitchens. Nine of the makers who create their treasures in those kitchens will mingle with their fans from 10am to 2pm during a collective Valentine’s Day Sweet Bites & Bouquets event at the kitchens. You’ll get to meet Diana Dar, maker of cult favorite Cult Crackers, who will be rubbing elbows with the makers of Saba Jam, EC Confections, Standard Fare, Petite LaFleur, La Noisette Sweets, Mesquite Provisions, Batter Bakery, and Left Field Flower Co. More info here.

If you dream of tasting locally made wines and chocolates in one cozy setting while the maker guides you through those lovely flavors, sign up for the February 14, 6–7:30  Valentine Wine & Chocolate Tasting at Hollie’s Homegrown, 998 Moraga Road in Lafayette. The shop is where Hollie Alcalay sells her own handcrafted and homegrown products along with those of other local makers she admires.

If your chocolate dreams run toward cheese, check out the Graze + Gather’s Valentine’s Day Cheese + Chocolate Pairing. This adventure with the shop’s owner/founder, Alyssa Gilbert, takes place on February 14, 7:30–8:30pm, at the shop, located at 396 11th Street in Oakland.

We recently learned that Scott Cordell, the affable proprietor of Mosley’s Cafe (located on the water at 2099 Grand Street in Alameda’s Grand Marina) has been sharing his charcuterie art skills at workshops by special arrangement. Stop by the cafe to enjoy a latte and one of his fabulous iced scones and you might ask about setting up a session for your group.

Act quickly with your Register Now finger for the February 14, 6:30–8:30pm, Bean to Bar Chocolate-Making class at Preserved, located at 5032 Telegraph Avenue in Oakland. It will surely sell out, but a new session will get scheduled for a later date to take up the overflow.

If “simple” is on your wish list for a Valentine’s celebration, here are some spots where you can enjoy a hot drink while you taste and ponder which sweet might best meet your dear friend’s greatest desire.

Bisou Chocolates made a nice Instagram Valentine’s Truffle Flavor Guide to help you study up in advance, but it would be even more luxurious to ponder your picks while sipping a cup of their sublime bittersweet drinking chocolate at their new shop at 2929 9th Street in Berkeley. If you can catch the owners in a quiet moment, you’re sure to learn a lot about sustainable cacao and sugar production and the art of chocolate.

Another of our favorite local chocolatiers is Karen Urbanek of flying noir. Her blessés (wounded and repaired chocolates) are a reminder that broken hearts can be mended.

Reliable rumor has it that Starter Bakery is bringing back their holiday panettone in a cherry and chocolate version just for Valentine’s week. To see if it’s true, visit the Starter Bakery Café at 5804 College Avenue in Oakland and enjoy a hot espresso, hot chocolate, or tea as you ponder… should I get that elegant chocolate mousse heart-shaped gold flecked cake with its raspberry filling and ganache or those buttery heart-shaped Linzer cookies with raspberry jam and ganache…

And lastly, pay a visit to Sweet Adeline Bakeshop, the bakery with the best name and the sweetest South Berkeley location at 3350 Adeline Street. Proprietor Amanda Chouinard says, “We’ll have decorated shortbread cookies, chocolate raspberry roulade, and chocolate pound cake hearts.”