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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Martell Cognac & Dessert Buffet at the Westin St Francis

Recently I was invited to attend a very special event at The Westin St Francis in downtown San Francisco. The "Martell Cognac and Dessert Event" was a dream come true for a girl like me!

It was a very intimate affair made all the more enjoyable that I not only had the opportunity to meet interesting new people, I also had the opportunity to say hello to some of my favorite colleagues.

As most of you know I don't drink alcohol. But following the verbal tongue lashing of my girlfriends when I went wine tasting but didn't even try the wine I decided I would in fact sample the the evenings libations. I actually tried 3 different cognacs!

Founded in 1715 Martell, the renowned Cognac company, is known the world over and possesses a history as rich as the character of it's cognacs. From nobility to Hollywood, and now even by little ol' me, their cognacs have been enjoyed by people of all walks of life.

Grace Lee, Bertrand Guinoiseau, Mindy Le and Antoine Duong

Mr. Bertrand Guinoiseau, Brand Ambassador for Martell Cognac, gave us a truly delightful presentation educating us about the Martell cognacs we were served that evening. My personal favorite? Was the cognac infused into the custard filling of the little, pale pink, iced, cream puffs (top row, second tray from the left) below.

*Drool* how gorgeous is this dessert buffet?

I hate to rub it in but every dessert tasted as good or even more wonderful then you can possibly imagine. I had gathered together this little plate to share with friends but ended up eating them all myself! Then went back for a second cream puff... and two more of the fruit jellies... I just couldn't help myself.

Because you all know my love for dessert it's probably no surprise that my personal hero of the evening was Mr. Jean-Francois Houdré, the Executive Pastry Chef at the Westin St Francis. If he has a fan club someone has to let me know so that I can join immediately.

Born in France Mr. Houdré was also born into pastry making following in his father's footsteps. His passion for French Pâtisserie is obvious when one views and consumes his delectable creations. I read on the Westin's website that he: "Continues to educate himself by studying at l'Ecole de la Pâtisserie Lenôtre. He is always searching for the latest flavor combination but always respecting the French tradition of creating pastries."

And it shows. If you ever have the opportunity to enjoy his pastries you simply must.

Jewel Savadelis and Michelle Barrionuevo-Mazzini on the left. And that's photographer Wendy Maclaurin Richardson and Viola Sutanto Ting of "Chewing the Cud" invitations in the right-hand image.

I took this gorgeous San Francisco night view from a window at Victor's Palace just as we were preparing to leave.

After the event my friend and colleague Jewel Savadelis took me on an informal tour of some of the ballrooms downstairs. Isn't this view stunning? I felt like I was in Europe all over again. The details on the ceilings were so beautiful and in the main lobby there are photos of the hotel taken decades ago by Ansel Adams. I have to admit I didn't know he photographed anything outside of Yosemite. So I learned something new.

I'd like to thank Shannon Carraher, the Director of Catering, for including me in her very special event. I had a wonderful time and would highly recommend the Westin St. Francis to anyone planning a wedding or special event. I really appreciated that I had the opportunity to meet many people involved with the hotel and that every single one of them was not only friendly but very gracious and welcoming. That's one thing I've noticed as I attend events, that at some hotels the staff are to be seen but not interacted with. Others, like The Westin St Francis, make a guest feel welcomed at every opportunity. IMO in today's world that in itself is a truly special and unique experience with or without fine cognac and extraordinary pastries.

If you're looking for dessert buffet ideas you'll probably like these posts too:
• Promises and Pearls Bridal Soiree • SF 2009
Westin St. Francis SF Imperial Floor Unveiling


  1. I think you seriously need to start a foodie blog... Those desserts look FANTASTIC! You're making me start to crave dessert....Hmmm.. French macaroons... Actually we need to go to Sprinkles! I think I might have to join your Cupcakes Anonymous group. LOL. :)

  2. What an amazing event... and that dessert buffet is just to die for! Glad that Jewel showed you the beautiful ballroom. Absolutely breath-taking!

  3. what a wonderful party! looks just fantastic!

  4. LOL Diane, if I started a foodie blog you'd never see me here again. I'd be out in the field doing "research" every minute of every day.

    Hey Evonne! It was really amazing. The food, the hotel, the hospitality. It was a really special evening.

    Charming Weddings thanks for dropping by and posting a comment :o)


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