3360 West 1st Street used to be a regular haunt during my TV days, when the Silver Lake-ish space housed Picholine, a French-run sandwich shop and gourmet market. Now confectioner Valerie Gordon and partner Stan Weightman, Jr. run Valerie Confections there. For the most part, the storefront is used as a production kitchen, with covered windows and no visibility from the lightly trafficked side street. However, from October 27-31, Gordon and Weightman are hosting an open house, offering up a different chocolate, cake or confection each day as a way to publicize their latest sugary treasures leading up to the holidays.
Gordon and Weightman founded Valerie Confections in 2004 after garnering acclaim (and investors) as a result of their knockout gifts. They both worked in the restaurant industry leading up to the company’s founding. Weightman worked at AMMO for about a decade, and Gordon’s last post was at the pre-TMZ days at Les Deux Café.
The duo held an open house media preview on October 26. Here’s a sneak peak of some of their artisanal offerings.
Everywhere we turned, we found a different pedestal of chocolates or confections, which are hand-crafted with premium ingredients like Valrhona chocolate, Plugra butter and organic nuts. One my favorite pedestals held almond fleur de sel toffee and toffee noir (blended with LAMILL Black Velvet Coffee). Other toffee varieties include an orange infusion with candied orange peel and ginger infusion with crystallized ginger.
Holiday Nougat includes candied orange, almond and decorative 23-karat gold leaf. The “after dinner mint” features bittersweet chocolate and a candied “chocolate mint” leaf. Yes, that’s an actual variety of mint, and yes, Gordon knew that.
One showstopper is clearly Blum’s Coffee Crunch Cake, which Gordon revived for a Los Angeles Times Magazine story on wedding cakes. Blum’s is a beloved but bygone nine-branch bakery chain that ran from Los Angeles to San Francisco. The stellar cake is fleeting; after two hours, the crunch starts to dissolve, so eat quickly into the cream.
Gordon considers her petits fours “a marriage of cake and confection.” The four flavors include orange cake layered with marzipan, lemon cake with lemon ganache, ginger cake with ginger ganache and rose petal cake with rose petal-passion fruit ganache and topped by a candied rose petal.
Here’s the week’s open house schedule:
Tuesday, October 27 – 10 AM to 6 PM
Blum’s Coffee Crunch Cake and Blum’s Lemon Crunch Cake
Visitors to Valerie Confections will be treated to a free slice of either cake.
Wednesday, October 28 – 10 AM to 6 PM
This new line of casual treats – “Everyday Indulgences” – include Almond Toffee Treats, Peanut Toffee Treats, Chocolate Citrus Bark and Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies.
Thursday, October 29 – 10 AM to 6 PM
Friday, October 30 – 10 AM to 6 PM
Valerie at the Market
The “Valerie at the Market” line was inspired by L.A.’s farmer’s markets and includes White Fig and Fuji Apple Jam, Apple Caramel Hand Pies and Mini Market Cakes.
Saturday, October 31 – 10 AM to 5 PM
Chocolates, Toffees, and Truffles
To celebrate Halloween, Valerie is sampling numerous chocolates, including the almond fleur de sel toffees, Liquid Caramels and Black Pepper Truffles, which contain black pepper infused ganache and come dusted with cracked black pepper.
For Halloween, you’ll also find a limited release titled Mori ex Cacao – which loosely translates from Latin as “Death By Chocolate.” The $65 skull trio comes in a black box and includes chile (black), brandied cherry (white) and scorched caramel (brown).
Looking ahead, Valerie Confections plans to release a line of 6-8 chocolate bars in time for the holidays, including passion fruit rose petal and bittersweet chocolate with almond toffee and fleur sel.