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Nov 8, 2006 08:46 PM

Godiva Bashers- I need advice

Where else do you go to get your fix of assorted chocolates and truffles?

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  1. Why, what's wrong with Godiva?

    I go there for truffles. For bar chocolate, which I don't eat as much, I do Ghirardelli.

    17 Replies
    1. re: Covert Ops

      Godiva is so waxy - you can basically taste it. In NYC, I like Teuscher and Leonida's, also Neuhaus (I believe they have a shop in DC). Even if I wasn't paying, I'd much prefer Lindt's over Godiva.

      1. re: welle

        I agree: Neuhaus! I think they have a shop in SF, too. Godiva tastes and feels like Hershey's; See's fillings are way too sweet, but at least they use Guittard chocolate.

        1. re: Claudette

          Have to agree completely with Neuhaus! It's my absolute favorite. For a cheaper and more accessible fix, I like Lindt's 70% dark too.

        2. re: welle

          I don't like Teuscher...too smooth? Too refined? Too milky? I feel the same way about Lindt. I do like Leonidas & LaMaisonduChocolat for high-end stuff, but for "daily" use I like el Rey or Valrhona.

          1. re: Hungry Celeste

            I also like El Rey or Valrhona, but the OP asked about mixed chocolates and truffles, methink.

            1. re: welle

              That's why I listed La Maison du Chocolate & Leonidas. LaMduC's jolika is my favorite, but I also like the ginger (maiko?) as well. You can buy the tiny individual pieces in all the flavors, but the most popular ones come in a larger size...around $5/ea.

              1. re: Hungry Celeste

                I like LMdC, but felt it was way out of league for Godiva - it's like recommending Porsche against Ford. sorry, Godiva-lovers, but that's how I feel.

          2. re: welle

            Godiva is owned by Hersheys. Need I say more.

            1. re: missclaudy

              I know that there are chocolates out there that are better than hersheys but...well a hershey bar is just very satisfying. It takes me to a happy, cozy, warm kinda place.

              1. re: missclaudy

                I'm not a big Godiva fan, but I didn't think they were owned by Hersheys. Are you sure you're not thinking of Scharffen Berger?

                1. re: David Kahn

                  Scharffen is owned only about 25% by Hershey. It enabled them to open a second factory, on the east coast.

                  1. re: welle

                    Thanks for the correction.Instead of cherry cordials,maybe they'll make chocolates filled with cream of celery soup

                    1. re: missclaudy

                      Right, because all companies owned by large conglomerate mix their brands all the time. That's why Altria sell Marlboro-flavoured Oreos, and why Pepsico sell Dorito-flavoured Gatorade.

                      One company can have two brands that are wildly different -- just because they're owned by the same public holding company doesn't make them the same product.

              2. re: Covert Ops

                Godiva for me always tastes like that vile nonfat powdered milk. There is always a horrible "off" taste.

                See's gets slammed too, but I think a lot of their stuff is great. My dad and I have a decades-long love of the Bordeaux flavor.

                1. re: Covert Ops

                  Godiva is terrible tasting. In Belgium they are known for their beautiful presentations (which they can achieve by having a lower concentration of real chocolate), but Leonidas which is the poormans praline wins blind taste tests over & over again.

                  Leonidas is relatively new in the U.S., Santa Monica being the only one I know of... but even See's Candy provides a better tasting product.

                  1. re: Eat_Nopal

                    Came here to the East Coast about 10 years and was introduced to Godiva around then. For a chocoholic, I thought, "What's the big deal? See's is much better. Not as pretty, but when you eat chocolate, you go for the taste." Just my two cents worth.

                2. I much prefer See's. The presentation isn't as fancy, but the candy is just as good (or better, IMO) and it's much more affordable.

                  If I'm going to pay Godiva prices, I much prefer artisan chocolates. Don't know where you live, but there's no shortage of them in San Francisco (Recchuiti seems to be the favorite, and I love Cocoa Bella too).

                  18 Replies
                  1. re: Pei

                    See's is our REAL San Francisco treat! Mary See is their figurehead - her grey haired, black and white photo-visage smiling from See's stylish Black and white Art Deco shops all over SF since the 1920's. If you get to SF stop in for some free samples. But they will happily fulfill your chocolate fantasies via mail order during the cooler months. Although there is plenty you can still get all year, such as their absolutely must-have hard-candy chocolate lollipops - I always bring a couple to the movies. Do yourself a favor and give them a call. Get on their catalog mailing list. They have beautiful packaging for different holidays. The bon bons such as key lime and apple pie are amazing as are the chocolate truffles in many different flavors. See's is my all time favorite dark chocolate. I much prefer it to Godiva. It's a nice deep but clean chocolate taste, without bitterness or aftertaste.

                    1. re: niki rothman

                      Not to nitpick, but See's (LOVE See's!!!!) started in Los Angeles in 1921, and the first San Francisco See's outpost opened in 1936. VĂ©ase:


                      So a few good things in the world did originate in LA after all!

                      1. re: rjw_lgb_ca

                        To nit pick further, it comes from Pasadena, home of The Rose Bowl.

                        1. re: rjw_lgb_ca

                          One could argue that since Mary See was Canadian, it's really Canadian chocolate.

                          Any way, big See's fan due to the balance in flavors, texture, etc. Not into chocolate where you have one piece and it's already too much.

                          1. re: ML8000

                            Amazing. I wonder if there's a biography of Mary See. How did you all find out about her? Somehow Pasadena seems to fit her. There is a big See's factory just south of SF near the airport. See's seems quintessentially San Francisco somehow, though.

                            1. re: niki rothman

                              The Canadian info is from the link rjw_lgb_ca provided.

                              I read it a long time ago but just checked to see it there. Grew up in SoCal, sold the candy as a boy scout and can ID most pieces by sight after years of munching on it and pinching the bottom as a kid and putting them back if they were icky.

                              See's does have a SF feel but then at one point LA was just as quaint as SF. The pre-war instituations that survive in LA are just as cool and good...just not a lot.

                        2. re: niki rothman

                          Well, niki, you've just made the carrot sticks I've been eating at my desk seem wholly unappealing. I went to See's site and it looks fab. Went to place an order but the shipping to the UK costs close to $50! Whoa. Woe!

                          I may have to get someone in the US to send them to me!

                          1. re: Kagey

                            Sees are pleasant chocolates but they are not worth shipping to the UK. They taste like classic American chocolates (sweeter, larger, enjoyable but not complex).

                            1. re: JudiAU

                              Definitely. I could never eat a whole box. They're something I buy one or two of when I'm in the mood for sweets at the shopping mall, but mostly because they always give you one extra for free! :) Such a nice quaint friendly shop. Godiva is just something I would never think to buy.

                              For shipping all the way to tye UK, I'd go with the other suggestions like Recchiutti, Teuscher, Vosges, Mirabelle, etc.

                              1. re: Pei

                                But DO you really want to eat a whole box of any candy? This is not a put down, because I used to do just that. Now, 2 pieces is all I want to eat at one time. I want pleasure - to savor my chow. When I overdo it instead of being a wonderful relationship it beomes a scary attraction repulsion thing. Ironically, See's motto emblazoned on their advertising: "See's, the Happy Habit!" So, when I sit down, relax, and meditatively mull over just which 2 bon bons out of that box I'm REALLY in the mood for, then savor them, giving them my undivided attention (I even make the experience last as long as possible by taking little bites)- then I'm one really satisfied candy loving chowhound. Now, what's the difference between that "happy habit" and eating sweets on the run at the at the shopping mall, maybe because one is free?

                                1. re: niki rothman

                                  Of course I have access to amazing chocolate in England. But it was the See's lollipops that got me.

                                  1. re: Kagey

                                    Actually, one of my favorite chocolates is Thornton's which you can't get in the states. Years and years ago, they had an shop in Chicago at Water Tower Place, which is where I first tried them. I once ordered and had them shipped to Boston. Too expensive to do, especially since my disposable income had dropped singficantly over the past few years! I think I mostly fell in love with something that was called a butter truffle. It is just amazing. I look at their website once in a while just to see that lovely piece of candy and try to remember what it tastes like. Mmmm...

                                  2. re: niki rothman

                                    oh, i could definitely eat a whole box! well, specifically, a one-lb box of nuts and chews. it's that kind of chocolate: not too dark or rich. a very addictive treat.

                                2. re: JudiAU

                                  See's is larger than what? Their truffles are far smaller than the majority I've encountered over the years.

                                  1. re: Atomica

                                    It depends on what kind of truffles you're comparing them too. True French truffles are rather small -- just a nugget of pure chocolate goodness. After truffles caught on in the US they started getting bigger (what else is new?) and what are now considered truffles in the US -- the huge domes of chocolate-covered ganache are really not truffles at all.

                                    See's truffles are actually closer to European truffles, although they still don't resemble the true French truffle (so named because its irregular shape and cocoa coating resemble the fungus truffle). Since I clearly remember buying truffles from See's in 1975, they may even predate the popularizing of the French-style truffle in the US by Alice Medrich.

                                3. re: Kagey

                                  kagey, 100 CHs, 100 different opinions. I copletely agree w judi and pei; i don't think you're missing anything in the see's candies. you're far better off looking to your european neighbors- and your own Black and Green products are nothing to sneeze at either.

                                  1. re: Kagey

                                    You will probably find it in the shops at Heathrow or Gatwick, whichever is closest to you!

                                  2. re: niki rothman

                                    Why (and when) did they stop making their truffles in the little log shape? Now their truffles look like everyone else's.

                                4. Definitely See's! I'm from California and grew up on See's -- now I'm in Michigan and have to depend on my mom to send me my favorites. (well, I could order them, but my mom doesn't charge me for shipping)

                                  There are few candy shops around here that have good, reasonably priced products, so I have to order most of my chocolates. If you don't mind going that route, I can offer some suggestions.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: L Powell

                                    I believe they now sell See's in Chicago...which is just slightly closer.

                                    1. re: ML8000

                                      Yes, I found it! I was on my way home from a vacation in Chicago and stumbled upon the See's store, which is in Downers Grove.

                                  2. I just tried XOX the otehr day and they are really good. the shop is in North Beach.

                                    My favorite is Vosges. They have bars at Fog City and Whole Foods, and online ordering.

                                    Oh, you should go to Fog City News. It's on Market street at about 1st. It's a new stand that has an amazing selection of chocolates (mostly bars).

                                    Godiva has never done it for me. I'd choose See's over Godiva any day. I also like Recchuiti, but haven't been in awhile since they stopped making my s'mores four pack :-)

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Sebby

                                      XOX are the best, hands down.

                                      Mary See isn't a real person. Sorry. But the candy is good.

                                      1. re: sgwood415

                                        I was watching one of those "MOdern Marvels" on History Channel last night and yesterday's show was on candies. They had some VP from See's on the show, and he said Mary See did exist. The company actually was started by her son, but he used her as an image for the company.

                                        1. re: sgwood415

                                          once again, she does exist, there are 2 links farther up here that have the history. Her son named the company for her.

                                      2. Chuao in Irvine does it for me, or even the tiny little chocolates from Jin Patisserie on Abbot Kinney in Venice.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                          Chuao and Jin are both amazing. But man,the shipping costs to the East Coast are murder. Burdick's (more discussion further down) is excellent in a similar style.

                                          See's is, as already mentioned, a totally different style but you can't beat the value for the money.