Tijon After Hours: Loco For Cocoa

Posted on October 08, 2014 by Emily Villanueva

On September 25th we hosted our very first Tijon After Hours, a new nightly series where we'll partner with cool local businesses for fun, one-night-only events that will evoke a new sensory experience. "After Hours" is a result of our long-standing desire to host more special events, collaborate with other businesses, and involve the community. And after months of planning, what a success it was!



The theme of the event was aphrodisiacs, so we focused on sexy scents, sensual aromas, and the biggest culinary aphrodisiac of them all: chocolate! Dallman Fine Chocolates from Del Mar provided five different dark chocolate bars, and Tijon staff member (and trained pastry chef) Vanessa guided the tasting. Here, Vanessa explains...


Thursday's After Hours event featured local artisan chocolate from Dallmann Confections. Dallmann Confections began in 1954 by Guenther Dallmann who opened his pastry shop in St. Gilgen, Austria. His pastry shop was so well renowned that his children and eventually granddaughter, Isabella Valencia, expanded the family business to San Diego in 2006. Isabella was classically trained in Europe, specializing in fine chocolate making. 
A quick history of chocolate: Chocolate comes from the cacao (cocoa) tree, which grows 20º above and below the equator, similar to coffee. In fact, the scientific name for the cacao plant is Theobrama cacao which is derived from Greek for "food of the gods"; from θεος (theos), meaning "god," and βρῶμα (broma), meaning "food". Chocolate got this name because it has a rich history for its use in ancient Central and South American rituals as offerings to deities and for consumption by priests. Archeological evidence of cacao was discovered in modern day Chiapas, Mexico dating as early as 1900 B.C. Chocolate was introduced to Western world in 1527 by the return expedition of Hernán Cortés and the rest is history!
Chocolate is the end-product of an intensive process. First, the ripe cacao fruit pods are harvested by hand and opened by a machete to expose the cacao seed which is encased by pulpy mucilage. The thick rind is then discarded, the pulp and cacao beans are collected to ferment, which deepens the flavor of the cacao beans. After they are properly fermented, the beans are then laid out to dry before they go through a process called winnowing, which means that the pulp is husked off. At this point, the beans are ready to be transported to the roasting facility where they are broken open to extract cocoa butter. The remaining portions of the beans are referred to as cacao nibs which are then ground into a fine paste called the chocolate liquor. The liquor is then incorporated with a fat (cocoa butter or even milk fat solids), vanilla and sugar and is further emulsified together in a process called conching. The chocolate is then ready to be poured into molds, confectionary making or to be tempered with inclusions such as dried fruit, herbs, spices, citrus oils or zest, salt, or even bacon!
The dark chocolate bars that were chosen for last Thursday's tasting are the following: the Maracaibo Classificado (60% Cacao Bar from Venezuela), the Provence Bar (locally grown lavender & Fleur de Sel fused in a 65% cacao bar from Madagascar), a Cardamom & Orange Zest bar (72% cacao), the Valencia (60% bar fused with star anise, cloves & cinnamon), and lastly for sheer kicks and giggles, the Bacon & Smoked Salt Bar (60% cacao). These chocolates were chosen because they correlate with the perfume oils that we have on our Perfume Organ. Along with the tasting, we set up water, tart Granny Smith apple slices & oyster crackers to aid with palette cleansing between tastings in addition to chocolate tasting note forms to serve as prompts. 
And here are some pictures from the event! Make sure to attend our next After Hours on Thursday, October 23rd, where we'll be partnering with Finch's Bistro & Wine Bar for a French-themed night revolving around wine!

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A Guide to San Diego's Farmer's Markets

Posted on September 05, 2014 by Emily Villanueva

In San Diego, there are almost as many farmers markets as there are beaches. Each market has a distinct personality, specifically geared to the needs, aesthetics, and artisans of its neighborhood. Here's our breakdown of the city's freshest weekly gatherings.


Biggest Foodie Paradise: Hillcrest Farmers Market, Sundays

Of all the markets, the Hillcrest Farmers Market has the most vendors-per-square-feet, crowding an impressive amount of produce, artisanal goods, and vintage gifts in its two block radius through the hip and urbane Hillcrest enclave. But the best part about this market (besides plenty of parking, since its situated right next to the Hillcrest DMV) is the sheer volume and variety of its food. Half of its total vendors are food stands, offering everything from samosas to tamales to takoyaki. My two favorites? Fresh uni cracked right in front of you, and thai coconut pancakes by the tray.


Prettiest Location : Little Italy Mercato, Saturdays

The Little Italy Mercato runs straight through the picturesque Little Italy neighborhood, lending a sophisticated, leisurely, European bazaar feel. Rows and rows of fresh-cut flowers enhance the bright colors of Downtown's architecture, while multiple live music acts play at different corners. And the market stretches along four full blocks, giving pedestrians ample space and eliminating that mob-like mentality typical of overcrowded farmer's markets. 


Most Eclectic: Ocean Beach Certified Farmers Market, Wednesdays

The funky free spirit that personifies Ocean Beach extends to its farmer's market, a colorful affair where troubadours serenade passersby and colorful school buses park along the palm-tree-lined streets. This market also has the most amount of offbeat activities-- llama rides, anyone? Art installations? Interested in incense or holistic medicine? All here. So if you like your farmers markets with chill vibes and a beach setting, Ocean Beach is the one to attend.


Most Small-Town Charm: La Jolla Open Aire Market, Sundays

The La Jolla Open Aire Market is different from other markets in that it is held in the La Jolla Elementary School Playground, so its quite popular with families and small children. The shared space and communal tables (there's lots of seating for you to eat or rest) gives this market a really quaint vibe, like everyone knows each other. There's also a lot of art, jewelry, candles, and even bohemian clothing from Indonesia and Brazil. 

Local tip: It's walking distance from Lululemon (Girard Ave.), which offers free classes at 9am every Sunday too! Namaste.


Most Potential: San Diego Public Market (in Barrio Logan), Everyday

This warehouse is temporarily closed till May 2015, but watch out for its reopening! The renovated factory space is still getting its sea legs, but once its further established, we're sure it'll be the Pike's Place of San Diego.



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Local's Guide to St. Martin

Posted on August 08, 2014 by Tijon Fragrance Lab

The following is a list of some fun things to do in St. Martin from a local, himself. That local is perfumer and Tijon Fragrance Lab and Boutique owner, John Berglund. Berglund left corporate America to open a parfumerie on the beautiful island of St. Martin with his wife, Cyndi, in 2007.

While you’re on a tropical island and it’s hard not to enjoy yourself, these activities can push your enjoyment on St. Martin to a whole new level.

Fun Things to do in St. Martin

1) Take a bottle of wine and climb up to Fort St. Louis at sunset


2) Take a day sail around the island, stopping to snorkel along the way


3) People watching at Orient Beach


4) Be a tourist and shop Front Street in Philipsburg


5) Spend an evening in Maho eating and listening to entertainment


6) Dining anywhere in Grand Case


7) Watching planes land at Maho


8) Walking out to the dock in Grand Case to check on the local fishermen


9) Making a custom fragrance at Tijon Fragrance Lab and Boutique

If you're in St. Martin, you must stop at Tijon Fragrance Lab and Boutique for an unbelievable and unique experience!  The experience is also offered in La Jolla, CA at Tijon's second location.  Visit www.tijon.com for more information.

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Fun Things To Do in La Jolla

Posted on August 01, 2014 by Tijon Fragrance Lab

La Jolla, California is a beautiful, one-of-a-kind sea-community. With a breathtaking coastline along the Pacific Ocean, it has become a tourist destination for people all over the world. The locals are said to be living in a permanent vacation. Aside from its breathtaking beauty, La Jolla has a long list of unique and exciting things to see and do. I have compiled my personal list of La Jolla favorites.

1)   La Jolla Cove

The cove is San Diego’s most desirable spot for swimming, snorkeling, and diving. The calm water allows the swimmers and snorkelers to easily spot the garibaldi, a bright orange fish that can always be found swimming around the cove. There is also a world famous dive site located in the La Jolla ecological preserve. If you’re feeling extra ambitious, it is not uncommon to see swimmers participating in the 1.5 mile swim from the La Jolla Cove to the La Jolla Shores.

2)   La Jolla Playhouse

La Jolla Playhouse is a theater of the UCSD campus. If you are looking for affordable entertainment and a fascinating variety of work, La Jolla Playhouse is your spot. The plays range from early development to broadway bound! Also, there isn’t a bad seat in the theater.

3)   La Jolla Shores

La Jolla Shores is a mile long beach offering gentle waves in the summer months. With its extensive wealth of sea life, it is a great place for novice scuba divers or snorkelers. La Jolla Shores also offers many great kayak tours.

4)   Salk Institute

The Salk Institute is a gorgeous building and architectural landmark in San Diego, a must see for architecture buffs. Be sure to reserve early if you want a tour because each day is limited to 15 people. It also has an amazing view.

5)   Birch Aquarium at Scripps

Birch Aquarium is the public exploration center for the world-renowned Scripps Insitution of Oceanography at UCSD. It is located on a bluff overlooking the beautiful Pacific Ocean. The aquarium features more than 60 habitats of fish ad invertebrates from the cold waters of the Pacific Northwest to the tropical waters of Mexico and the Caribbean. It has an interactice museum that showcases discovers by Scripps scientists. It is a great place for both children and adults!

6)   Seal Beach

Seal Beach was supposed to be a children’s pool (actually, Children’s Pool is it’s official name), however, the seals had a different plan and took it over. This is a great picture opportunity and a fun place to spend the afternoon. After examining the seal interactions for many years I have noticed that there is one male seal for every dozen or so females. The male acts as the protector and is often found making loud noises to scare away the other male seals.

7)   Girard Avenue and Prospect Street

Shop until you drop on Girard Avenue and Prospect and when you cannot shop anymore, stop in one of the many delicious restaurants for a bite to eat. Girard and Prospect have an array of cute boutiques ranging from Goodwill to high-end fashion boutiques. It also has an extensive choice of restaurant options featuring cuisine from all over the world.

8)   Tijon Fragrance Lab and Boutique

A boutique parfumerie located at 7853 Herschel Ave. with the unique opportunity to make your own perfume or cologne.  Headquartered in St. Martin FWI with a new location in La Jolla, CA they also specialize in their own line of handcrafted fragrances.  Stop by the La Jolla location to tour the Perfume Lab or find a gift in the boutique.  Perfect for date night, bachelorette parties or finding your custom scent.  For more information visit www.tijon.com or call 619.821.8219.



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