Bastrop fires level a much-loved chocolatier

We received word last week that the home, retail store, and production facility of Roscar Chocolates were consumed by the devastating Bastrop wildfires. Roscar owners Frans and Roselly Hendriks lost everything but their lives, and there's no word yet on when or whether they will try to rebuild and reopen their business. Breed & Co. buyer Cathie McCullar is well aware that her discerning clientele will miss Roscar's distinctive truffles and European-style filled chocolates. Local Roscar fans who would like to make donations to help the Hen­driks family are encouraged to contact McCullar (474-6679). On a brighter note, one of our favorite pecan orchards near Cedar Creek escaped fire damage. Berdoll Pecan Farm on Highway 71 offers a full line of gifts and pecan candies, though its actual pecan crop will be small this year due to the excessive heat during the growing season.

Austin was well-represented in the Napa Valley last week. El Naranjo trailer chef/owner Iliana de la Vega and Chronicle contributing Food writer MM Pack made a presentation titled What's Hot in Texas – A Closer Look at the Austin Food Scene at a corporate chefs' conference on national food trends sponsored by UC-Davis at the Culinary Institute of America's Greystone campus. Just up the road in St. Helena, La Condesa chef Rene Ortiz and pastry chef Laura Sawicki were in town for the opening of the second La Condesa location on Main Street in that charming Napa enclave. MM Pack promises a report upon her return.

The Sustainable Food Center has some location changes for its three farmers' markets over the next months. For starters, on Saturday, Sept. 17, 9am-1pm, the Downtown Farmers' Market will relocate to the Sunset Valley location at the Toney Burger Center to make way for ACL crowds Downtown. Farmers and vendors who don't already have a presence at the Sun­set Valley market will be there for this one week only.

Entrepreneur Keith Kritselis reports that he more than surpassed the Kickstarter goal to fund production of his cookie-cutter invention. We'll keep you posted on when and where the rolling holiday cookie cutters will be available.

Despite the soft national economy, the pace of Austin restaurant openings remains fast and furious. The first local outlet of Coal Vines, a bistro chain serving pizza, pasta, and wine, opened last week at 314 W. Second with a VIP media party... The owners of the Cazamance trailer, whose world fusion food is so popular outside Bar 96 in the Rainey district, now have a second location. Cazamance Cafe (1102 E. Cesar Chavez) is open 10am-5pm weekdays and also has full catering and event facilities available... A group of former Word of Mouth catering employees has expanded its catering operation to include a sit-down restaurant called Graze (1707 E. Sixth), serving dinner with a full bar, Tuesday-Sunday, with happy hour drink specials and grazing plates from 4:30 to 6:30pm... Pork lovers will want to check out Bacon (900 W. 10th), a new pork-centric restaurant in the former Basil's/Screaming Goat location. Look for breakfast served all day, as well as top-quality bacon.

The Best of Austin: Restaurants ballot is here! Nominations can be made now through Monday, July 18, at midnight. Vote now at

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Berdoll Pecan Farm, Roscar Chocolates, El Naranjo, MM Pack, ACL, Iliana de la Vega, La Condesa, Keith Kritselis, Graze

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