To the serious chocoholic, the city of San Francisco in home to the three best chocolate companies in the United States – Ghirardelli, Scharffenberger and Guittard. But there are smaller independent chocolate shops and chocolatiers coming out of the wood work making San Francisco their home. I discovered such companies by joining a chocolate walking tour of the city going to chocolate shops from the Ferry Building down to Market Street in San Francisco. The people in the tour are not just encouraged to taste but also to purchase some of these treats. Here are some of the gourmet chocolate shops we visited in the city by the bay.
Dandelion Chocolates – we visited their location at the Ferry Building. The company only uses two ingredients – chocolates and sugar. The raw chocolates use for their products come from Madagascar, Dominican Republic, and Ecuador. They make very good hot chocolate too. They also have a location in Valencia Street and in Tokyo.
Recchiuti – they have a location at the Ferry Building and another at 22nd Street. They are famous for such flavors as burnt caramel and almonds which is their signature, caramel and sea salt, Fleur de Sel caramel and my personal favorite Force Noir – a smooth chocolate ganache.
La Cocina – do not underestimate this little kiosk at the Ferry Building. They make some of the best flavors such as Smoked Chili – chocolate with a gentle kick and not overpowering, chocolate hazelnut – a very familiar Italian flavor, and Marshmallow Orange. The owner of this company also has a good heart. She helps women from various small communities establish their own food businesses.
Fog City News – this was a surprise for those unfamiliar with the place. It is a magazine shop that also sells chocolates mainly those made in Europe and that of Richard Connelly’s creations. They do not have their own brand of chocolate nor do they make any because they are primarily a magazine shop. But they have the best selection of chocolates from around the world some you never even heard of. My favorite product from this shop is a chocolate called Ethereal’s Chocolate Raspberry. The shop is located at Market Street about two blocks from the Ferry Building.
Teuscher Chocolate – We were told this is Oprah’s favorite chocolates and they brag about it. If you feel like fancy chocolates, they are famous for the champagne truffle and they make them by the thousands. Yum! They have more than 20 locations in North America, Europe and Asia.
TCHO – Another kiosk location this time at the Westfield Shopping Center. They make milk chocolates in various chocolate contents all smooth and very decadent. They have other flavors such as mint chip gelato, almonds and sea salt and coconut crisp. They also offer chocolate and wine pairing classes. Double yum!
Cocoabella Chocolates – One of their two locations is at the Westfield Shopping Center and other at Valley Fair in Santa Clara. There shop is built like your old-fashioned yet classy European chocolate shop with dark wood paneling and posh displays. I recommend you try the Orange Ganache and the Chocolate Mint.
Our tour guide – the fabulous Marie allowed us to purchase some of the products available in each shop after every visit. When I went home that day, I had a good collection of chocolate that I had to hide them from my family so I can enjoy it all for myself. J
You can find more information about the chocolate tours at www.gourmetwalks.com. There are two kinds of chocolate tours. This one is called the San Francisco Gourmet Chocolate Tour. The other – the Ultimate Chocolate is even more decadent.
I know I’m publishing this post about chocolate in the early summer months which does not make sense since chocolate can easily melt in warm weather. But I don’t care. The idea of chocolate seems to make everyone cheerful and very happy even in the summer heat.