Wendy Sherwood. [Photo: La Foret]
One of the highlights of dinner at Benu is the selection of elaborate chocolates made by Wendy Sherwood of Napa's La Foret, offered at the end of the meal. A former pastry chef at The French Laundry (where she first met Benu's Corey Lee), Sherwood bakes cakes and makes confections inside an unassuming shopping center that's far from the tourist-beaten wine path. Each season, she offers a labor-intense collection of chocolates called the Allocation, which is typically available only on limited online order for later pickup in the Napa shop. This month, however, she plans to offer the Spring Allocation for one day only in San Francisco. You can find her at the next Artisan Market at Williams Sonoma (340 Post) from noon to 4 p.m. on March 16.
This will be Sherwood's second San Francisco appearance, but the first where she's selling the Allocation. Each 25-piece box ($72) finds Sherwood experimenting with dream flavors and ideas inspired by the season. The Spring Collection features pieces such as thyme-citron (with buddha's hand citrus grown in Napa), coffee and donuts (featuring a Cafe du Monde chicory ganache and a toasty "beignet" marshmallow), carrot cake (with carrot and spice marzipan), and fresh almond (with almond milk and almond oil ganache). Gold leaf, glitter, and other embellishments take each piece to sophisticated visual heights.
Those who can't afford the full assortment of Sherwood's confections will also find $5-and-up selections at the Williams Sonoma sale like chocolate bars, turtles, honeycomb, and hazelnut branchli. She may also bring s'mores-esque layer bars that she used to make in the French Laundry kitchen. Eater certainly did its part to clean her out of her most recent SF cameo, and this sale is a testing ground that will hopefully lead to more frequent appearances in the city.
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