Are you a chocoholic? Or looking for some chocolatey goodness to give as a traditional Valentine gift? Then you need to go to the Chocolate Salon at the Embassy Suites next Sunday (1/30). 

Come and taste a bunch of chocolate, buy some as well, and listen to a couple of speakers. Here are some highlights:

Some of the participating chocolatiers, confectioners and wineries include Amano Artisan Chocolate, Cowboy Toffee Company, CACOCO, Fera'wyn's Artisan Chocolates, Endorfin Foods, 3D Candies, Degroot Desserts, Sweet Milalani, Farm Fresh To You, Be a gourmet, New Orleans Bill, H-G Vineyards, Serralles USAH-G Vineyards, Cuisine Noir Magazine, and more.

Meet Art Pollard of Amano, recently ranked by the New York Times as the #1 Bean-to-Bar ChocolateMaker in the United States.

What I'm more interested in, and think some of you will also be, is this discussion: 
Jen Cooper of Ben and Max Snacks will be doing a talk about her experience of starting and running a small snack business using new California' Cottage Food Bill.

If you've been making some sort of tasty treat in your kitchen and selling it to friends and relatives all this time, then here's a chance to learn how to upscale it into a full fledged business.




Sacramento CHOCOLATE SALON
January 30, 2016
11:00am - 5:00pm 
Embassy Suites-Sacramento Riverfront
100 Capitol Mall 
Sacramento, CA 95814
Adults: $20 Advance Tickets, $25 Door
It took me a while to get into listening to podcasts for two reasons. First, I didn't know how to access them and second, I didn't know how to find ones that would interest me. 

Yes, I knew podcasts were basically radio-type shows on the internet. My first podcast that I listened to was Serial because it had gotten so much press. But I was listening to it off its website because I didn't know any better. Now I use a podcast app - Player FM - which I've downloaded to my phone and tablet. 

That also takes care of problem #2 - finding podcasts. It pretty much has any of the well known, national podcasts out there. Still, the best way to find podcasts is through the recommendations of others. So here are my recommendations for foodie podcasts and a couple others that are not food related.

Sporkful - Host Dan Pashman hosts this James Beard Award nominated podcast. The slogan is "It's not for foodies, it's for eaters. These are only half hour podcasts, so usually stay to one interview or topic.

Splendid Table - One of the most listened to podcasts features Lynne Rossetto Kasper who talks to chefs, authors, restaurant owners, and food specialists. I like it because there are interviews mixed in with call-in questions and other fun food features.

America's Test Kitchen - Another super popular one that is done by the fold from Cooks Illustrated. Just like the TV show on PBS, this covers perfecting recipes through science as well as answering listener questions and doing product reviews. 

Gastropod - This show mixes history and science to bring a new food topic to the show each week. You  might learn about the history and science of ice cream, for example. They interview people who have researched and written books on the subject or others who practice the science involved. 

Doughboys - A couple of guys who do reviews of fast food chains such as Wingstop to Steak n Shake. 

Special Sauce - This podcast is done by Ed Levine, the founder of Serious Eats. He talks with friends and celebrities about food.  

Good Food and Good Food on the Road by KCRW is a podcast covering all sorts of things food. Added benefit, the restaurant reviewer is the famed Jonathan Gold.

Burnt Toast is the podcast of Food52.com and, as they say, includes stuff that they haven't put on the website.


Non-food podcasts I like:

Serial - The most famous podcast of all, they are now in the middle of season two and this time the topic is that of PFC Bowe Bergdahl, the army private that wandered from his post in Afghanistan and then was held hostage for five years. 

Lore - This podcast is for those who like spooky or eerie stories, some based on truth, others based on mythology. I've found it interesting to see where movie and TV plots have come from. For instance, this season's American Horror Story - Hotel is based on a real case in Chicago (episode: The Castle) and another is what the soon to be released horror movie "The Boy" was based on. Apparently Hollywood is listening.

The Black Tapes - If you like Serial, then you'll like the supernatural slant to this series. The host got caught up in the background and the research conducted by a professor who tries to prove that supernatural occurrences are fake. 

Local Sacramento podcasts:

Sactown People (My episode from August 2014)

Serious Talk, Seriously (My interview February 2016)