Los Angeles Chocolate Salon

Posted on by Bikini Lifestyles in Food

Los Angeles Chocolate Salon is HERE!

LA Chocolate Salon

Chocolate Lovers… The 9th Annual Los Angeles Chocolate Salon takes place Saturday, September 26 in Pasadena. Immerse yourself in everything chocolate at this one-day event featuring world-class Chocolatiers, celebrity guest speakers, tastings of artisan and premiere chocolates, chocolate liqueurs, and enjoy chocolate demonstrations by noted Los Angeles Chefs and Pastry Chefs.

Participating Chocolatiers will be judged in this prestigious event based on flavor, artistic style, design, overall quality and more judging categories.

chocolates at the LA Chocolate Salon

No stranger to the prestigious Chocolate Salon is Amy Jo (Valenza) Pedone, founder of Valenza Chocolatier, who shares that luxury chocolates are a true art form that takes a lot of patience. Recently, Amy Jo stopped by Bikini Lifestyles for a chat about all things chocolate and her recent success at the International Chocolate Awards.

Amy Jo Valenza Pedone

Amy Jo Valenza Pedone

BL: Why chocolate, Amy Jo?

AVP: Passion. It comes from passion. In 2008, I was working in a corporate job that wasn’t “me”, I lost my cousin to ovarian cancer and my world just caved in. I remembered the times I cherished most were making chocolate truffles and holiday cookies with my mom. Chocolate comes from my soul.

BL: That’s a good soul to have. What did you do?

AVP: I had no kitchen or culinary experience so I studied with an accredited chocolate program for one year and then journeyed back to my roots to Italy for my apprenticeship. From Milan to Torino, I worked with master Chocolatiers in the Piedmont region of Italy which is known as the capital of chocolate. I also learned to make traditional Italian chocolate pieces from the areas largest Italian chocolate maker ICAM Choco Scuola. [For Amy’s full story, read ABOUT at]

BL: Your chocolates are amazing. What is your favorite part about it?

AVP: Seeing the expressions on people’s faces when they taste my chocolate… that is the ultimate satisfaction. Each of my chocolates has a story behind it. They are hand-rolled, made to order with no preservatives, no additives, no machines… just quality ingredients including the finest Italian ingredients and a lot of love.

Valenza signature chocolates

Valenza signature chocolates

BL: What tips do you have for the home-chef?

AVP: There is a science and skill behind chocolate. The easiest to make at home is to make a Dark Ganache because there is no tempering required. Use a 2 : 1 ratio; 2 dark chocolate, 1 heavy cream. You can steep the heavy cream in fresh herbs, citrus to get different flavor profiles.

BL: A lot of home-chefs get frustrated when they do everything the same but their chocolates come out differently. Any tips?

AVP: Many factors are involved in getting chocolate tempered just right. Room temperature, humidity, quality of the chocolate are just a few of the elements that can vary and must be on target to get consistently good results. And, patience. If there is anything chocolate has taught me, it’s patience.

Amy Jo’s Valenza Chocolatier chocolates took “Best of Salon” at the 2014 Los Angeles Chocolate Salon. This year she will be showcasing some of her Italian specialties. Stop by, taste some of her incredible chocolates and say hi to Amy Jo at the 2015 LA Chocolate Salon on Saturday. And, visit for more on where to buy Valenza Chocolatier chocolates.

Valenza chocolates logo

Valenza Bon Bons of Gold are the signature artisan chocolates for the Golden Foodie Awards and recently advanced to the World Finals of the esteemed International Chocolate Awards. Her one-woman chocolate business will compete as the only United States company in a nut-based category next month, taking place October 17 in London on the main stage at The Chocolate Show at Olympia National Hall. With the submission of only this product from their collection, Valenza Chocolatier® was awarded SILVER for their Gianduiotti Maximo in the Nut/Gianduiotto category in the 2015 Americas Competition of the International Chocolate Awards. Made with 100% imported Piedmontese hazelnuts and 61% dark single bean Venezuelan chocolate, their Gianduiotti are truly authentic, based on the traditional Italian rules dating back to 1865 in Torino, Italy from the shape, percentage of Piedmontese hazelnuts, method of forming and foil wrapping by hand. With this win, a formal invitation was granted for these handmade chocolates to journey across the world to compete at the World Final, against the Italians who are known for award-winning Gianduiotti (Gianduia).

“To have the opportunity to compete against the Italians in this category is truly an unbelievable honor. This brings a high-level of authenticity and validation for my business mission, which is to create Italian inspired artisan chocolates and confections in the United States” said Amy Jo.

Valenza Chocolatier® was awarded the 2015 Six Star Grand Master Award for Best Chocolatiers & Confectioners in America by The International Chocolate Salon and TasteTV based on cumulative awards during the 2014 year, included Gold Award for Best Salon at LA Chocolate Salon plus twenty-two other awards.

tastings at the LA Chocolate Salon

The Los Angeles Chocolate Salon this weekend… Celebrating chocolate lovers in Southern California, meet Amy Jo Valenza Pedone and other participants including chocolatiers, confectioners, and culinary artisans, among these:

Get your tastebuds salivating with a look at participants here, (go to PARTICIPANTS)

•Marco Paolo Chocolates
•Valenza Chocolatier
•Amara Chocolate & Coffee
•Mignon Chocolate Boutique
•Taza Chocolate
•Sweet Milalani
•Droga Chocolates
•Copper Cauldron Candy Co
•Chocxo Bean to Bar Chocolatier
•Marti Chocolatt
•Tequila Alquimia
•Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts
•Chocolate Television
•Chocolate-themed art creations from Eye Heart Art
•and more…
•Amano Artisan Chocolate
•Amella Caramels
•The Tea Room Chocolate Company
•David Bacco Chocolatier
•Truffles N Toffee
•Fera’wyn’s Artisan Chocolates
•Pacari Chocolate
•Chocolatier Eve
•Les Beaux Chocolats
•Dove Chocolate Discoveries
•Gourmet Blends
•Monterey Chocolate Company
•The Gourmandise School
•New Orleans Bill

Guest Speakers, Authors, and Presentations:
• Demonstrations from Le Cordon Bleu instructors
• Award-winning KABC Radio Host and creator of The Bikini Chef® Susan Irby on healthy eating and chocolate
• The Gourmandise School from Santa Monica.
• Lee Scott Theisen Ph.D.
•Amy Reiley, Author Fork Me, Spoon Me & Romancing the Stove
•Dave Shelton, Actor/Screenwriter
• Jessica Ferraro, Bar Cacao
and more!

Just what is a salon? SALON:
1.An assembly of guests in such a room, esp. an assembly, consisting of the leaders in society, art, politics, food, etc.
2.A hall or place used for the exhibition of works of art.
3.A shop, business, or department of a store offering a specific product or service, esp. one catering to a fashionable clientele
4. Or, a fabulous place to taste gourmet, luxury, award-winning chocolates!!!!

Chocolatiers at the Los Angeles Chocolate Salon

Chocolatiers at the Los Angeles Chocolate Salon

Saturday, September 26, 2015
11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m
Full details at:

The Pasadena Center, Conference Building
300 Green Street

*All Tasting & Events Included with Entry*
Adults: $20 Advance Purchase
Adults: $25 Door
Children under 6: Free*
Children, 6 to 12: $10
*Applies to 2 children per adult. Each additional child under 6: $10

Follow us on Twitter @ChocolateSalon

The Longines Masters of Los Angeles 2015 Arrives October 1

Posted on by Bikini Lifestyles in News

Longines Los Angeles Masters 2015 Arrives October 1

Longines LA Masters

The finest in horse Show Jumping arrives in Los Angeles this Fall. Presented by the prestigious Longines, The Longines Masters of Los Angeles Grand Slam Indoor event takes place October 1-4, 2015 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

[caption id="attachment_14769" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Barons de Rothschild Trophy Barons de Rothschild Trophy

Established in three of the most important cities of the world — Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Paris — this unique show jumping circuit is internationally renowned and brings together Olympic-level sport, entertainment, lifestyle and glamour. The best Show Jumping horses and riders in the world compete during four days for a total prize money of $1,000,000 to be awarded during each stage of the Masters.

Masters Grand Slam Trophy

Now recognized by the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), the Longines Masters are a series that propose a unique challenge within the international indoor circuit: the Masters Grand Slam. With consecutive wins in all three international cities – the Longines Grand Prix of Hong Kong, Los Angeles, and Paris – the winner will receive an additional prize of 1 million Euros. The winner with two consecutive victories will be awarded a bonus of 500,000 Euros, and a third prize will be awarded with 250,000 Euros to the winner with two non-consecutive victories in two of the three cities. Los Angeles, added to the circuit in 2014, is the second of the three competitions in the series. The first was The Longines Masters of Hong Kong which took place in February of this year.

Longines Masters Los Angeles Red Carpet

Longines Masters Los Angeles Red Carpet

Broadcast to over 550 million viewers in over 120 countries, The Longines Masters Grand Slam Indoor event entices growing audiences each year, is well loved and attended by celebrities and financial icons, and receives widespread media attention internationally. Events in each of the respective competition cities garner nearly 50,000 visitors locally and from all over the world.

Steffi Graf, Longines VP Charles Villoz, Jennifer Judkins, Andre Agassi

Steffi Graf, Longines VP Charles Villoz, Jennifer Judkins, Andre Agassi

Show Jumping

Elaine French, Jennifer Gates, Melinda Gates at Longines Masters LA

Elaine French, Jennifer Gates, Melinda Gates at Longines Masters LA

Four days of high-level competitions and show-stopping performances, The Longines Masters of Los Angeles sets the stage for some of the finest competition and entertainment in the world. Featuring the world’s best horse-rider combinations of the FEI Longines rankings, signature equestrian events take place Friday, Saturday and Sunday with the Opening Gala welcome event on Thursday, October 1.

Justin Resnik competing in the LA Masters 2014

Justin Resnik

Friday is dedicated to speed, with the Longines Speed Challenge, known as the fastest event in the world. Created in 2010 by EEM, this competition is a demonstration of speed, agility, power and precision. Faults are less penalizing than in other competitions, allowing the riders to reach the best results by being the fastest — an incredible competition against the clock and a crowd engaging show.

Alison Sweeney at Longines Masters LA

Alison Sweeney at Longines Masters LA

Saturday unfolds under the sign of glamour, entertainment and generosity with the Gucci Gold Cup and the Pro-Am Style & Competition for Charity, a costumed competition for the benefit of charity organizations.

Jane Richard Philips competing in the Masters LA Charity Pro Am

Jane Richard Philips competing in the Masters LA Charity Pro Am

Sunday is time for the best of the sport with the Longines Grand Prix, an Olympic-level event with a course at 1,60m.

West Palm Events Trophy

West Palm Events Trophy

Alongside these events, the main ring of the Masters also hosts the best junior riders, amateur and professional, with the Prestige Trophy and the Invitational Trophy, where the rising stars of the sport rub shoulders with the current elite riders.
Celebrity Red Carpet at Longines Masters LA


Event organizers, Les Ecuries d’Ecaussinnes (EEM and translated, The Stables of Ecaussinnes), are excited to announce the addition of the Steffen Peters Dressage Demonstration as part of the The Longines Masters of Los Angeles program in October. Spectators can enjoy Steffen Peters Dressage Demonstrations on Friday, October 2nd and Saturday, October 3rd. He will be explaining the sport, approach, and movements of dressage followed by a Kur Grand Prix Freestyle live demonstration to give guests a sense of dressage competition.
Opening Gala Longines Masters 2014

Opening Gala showcase


One of the greatest riders of all time, Great Britain’s John Whitaker, just celebrated his 60th birthday and has been confirmed as a competitor in the American leg of this three continent competition. Whitaker returned to victory this past February at the Longines Masters of Hong Kong which is the first competition leg of the three in the Masters Grand Slam. Whitaker clinched a 5-star Longines Grand Prix win with his horse, Argento, whom he has trained himself since he was young.


Scott Brash, UK, Ranked #1

Scott Brash, UK, Ranked #1

Also among the leading competitors at The Longines Masters of Los Angeles are the top three ranked riders in the world: Number one ranked, Scott Brash of the United Kingdom (pictured above), Number two, Daniel Deusser from Germany,

Daniel Deusser, Germany

Daniel Deusser, Germany, ranked #2

and third ranked Kent Farrington of the USA. A Chicago native, Kent is a member of Team USA and recently won a Bronze medal in the World Equestrian Games.

Kent Farrington, USA

Kent Farrington, USA, ranked #3


In addition to the competition, spectators and guests can dine on refined cuisine from two Michelin-star chef Yves Mattagne and enjoy live music in the exquisite lounge; additionally, they can explore the Prestige Village with its Kids Corner and shops from exclusive international partner brands.


Among the celebrities attending last years inaugural Longines Masters of Los Angeles:
Bo Derek

Bo Derek

Bo Derek

Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa at Longines Masters LA

Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa

Anjelica Huston

Anjelica Huston and Danny Huston

Anjelica Huston and Danny Huston

Michael Bloomberg

Michael Bloomberg

Michael Bloomberg

The Longines Masters of Los Angeles Grand Slam 2015
Longines Masters Grand Slam Indoor 2015 LA
Opening Gala, Thursday, October 1
Competitions and events, Friday, October 2, Saturday, October 3 and Sunday, October 4


For complete details and event tickets, visit =>

A little horse love

The Longines Masters schedule:
* Longines Masters of Los Angeles October 1 to 4, 2015
* Longines Masters of Paris December 3 to 6, 2015
* Longines Masters of Hong Kong February 19 to 21, 2016 (which kicks off the 2016 season)

Photos courtesy of The Longines Masters website