HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >

Discussion

Your Favorite Chocolates Available in SF.

  • j

I'm looking to give a holiday gift of chocolates to a friend of mine and I was wondering what is your favorite chocolate that's available in San Francisco. I know XOX is mentioned quite fondly here; however, I don't know that I want to be limited to truffles. Any suggestions are appreciated.

Thanks

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Not sure if you're looking exclusively for chocolate made in SF, but Amadei chocolates from Tuscany are available at Biondivino on Green St. (near Polk). Amadei's chocolates are outstanding and any choco-holic would appreciate it as a gift.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Husky

      Not necessarily looking for chocolates made locally, just available locally.

    2. Head on over to Fog City News on Market Street for an incredible selection. They have both locally made chocolates, including truffles, and a vast selection of chocolate bars from all over the world.

      7 Replies
      1. re: farmersdaughter

        Chocolate Covered on 24th Street (near the cheese store) has a wider selection, lower prices, and a staff that is friendlier and less condescending than Fog City. They carry Domori, one of the absolute best lines, which FC doesn't.

        1. re: Gary Soup

          I'm with you on Fog City. I put up with them not putting prices on the chocolate bars and intimidating me into paying too much, filled up my card of 10, and then was told it was only good for $5, not a free bar as promised (and stated on the card).

          1. re: Windy

            I couldn't agree more. I'm a chocoholic and I work next door to Fog City, and I hardly ever go in there, because I always feel ripped off. Plus, as you said, the staff there is really condescending -- when I talked to the guy in charge about the same issues you mentioned (the lack of pricing, the huge mark-ups) he basically blew me off.

            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              I'll fourth the Fog City comments. I bought from them only once. the bar sounded interesting and when I asked the guy at the counter if he had tried it, he said, "Oh yes," and whipped out a page with tasting notes, and proceeded to read off a list of at least 2 dozen flavors and "notes" that the staff had detected in this single chocolate bar. I had to tell him to stop so I could get to work. Plus it was just stupid--notes of blackberry and black currant and tobacco and lime and yuzu and black pepper and cranberry and and and. Anyway, all of that and he never mentioned (and the package didn't reveal) that it was chocolate covered nut paste (almond or pistachio, don't remember). Not much chocolate flavor at all with all that nut and sugar. And it was $8. Never again.

              1. re: Pistou

                I'm a fan of Richard Donnelly chocolates. I know he's based in Santa Cruz, but I can't get down there easily. Fog City News is the only place in the city where I've found them. mmmm they make me happy.

            2. re: Windy

              I know several people who have felt burned by this; the owner seems to be one of the problems, he is frequently snooty and condescending, and I think the staff take their cues from him.

              A much better option, and very close by, is Confetti. It is just on the other side of 1st Street--i.e., less than half a block west from Fog City. The women who run the place couldn't be nicer. They have a smaller selection of bars, but a large selection of Charles and Recchuti truffles and confections, and loads of treats by other makers. They had a nice tasting of Charles chocolates a month ago, Charles himself was there, very friendly and accessible.

              1. re: Leadbelly

                Yeah, when the guy at Fog City tried to tell me his markup was high because of the location, I pointed out that I can buy some of the same things at Confetti, less than a block away for, significantly less (for example, the Recchiutti chocolate bars that are $8.95 at Fog City are $5.95 at Confetti).

                Oh, and the reason he gave me for not putting prices on the bars was that "most people" buy them to give them as gifts and don't want to have to risk damaging the wrapper to take the price sticker off. Yeah, right. Maybe the reason most of their customers are buying gifts is that people who buy chocolate for themselves on a regular basis (who you'd think would be the most desirable customers), don't like to shop there.

        2. I absolutetly love these local chocolates called Poco Dolce. They have an assortment with flavors like Aztec with a hint of chili, or english toffee, all in dark chocolate with a spirnkle of grey salt or fleur de sel. They are, as the title suggests, not too sweet and utterly addictive. They have them at Whole Foods and The Gardener in Berkeley.

          1 Reply
          1. re: hamachihil

            I second Poco Dolce. I discovered them at the deli next to Cafe Rouge in Berkeley. Beware though - they are very pricey. I got a small (very small) hunk of dark chocolate with almonds. The almonds were very fresh and the chocolate is among the best I've had this year. It was worth every penny.

          2. I'm constantly trying to lose weight so I can't say that I've really sampled too much of the local artisan chocolates. However, Cocoa Bella is an incredible chocolate store on Union Street with TONS of different and interesting things to try. This is their website: http://www.cocoabella.com/

            4 Replies
            1. re: whiner

              I was wondering about Cocoa Bella, also located at the new Westfield Mall on Market St. Anyone else tried them?

              1. re: Jim

                I really enjoy Cocoa Bella. The choices are hit and miss. They're arranged by country, and I find that I don't like American and Canadian varieties very much (too sweet).

                The mint truffle and truffle glacee were memorable.

                Considering how absolutely gorgeous they are, I didn't expect them to taste good (thought it was another Godiva). But they really are delicious, though breathtakingly pricey.

                1. re: Jim

                  Cocoa Bella, at least the one near my house (on Union), sells chocolates from a number of different companies, not one brand. You may find that you like some of their producers and not others. I'm fond of Bridgewater Chocolates chocolate-covered graham crackers, which they sell there.

                2. re: whiner

                  Cocoa Bella distributes about 12 or so chocolatiers, including some famous and pricey ones. It is expensive, but the variety is huge, and I have liked everything I have tried. They are also friendly.

                3. Recchiutti is my favorite. The rose caramel makes me faint every time. Literally, I have to sit down when I eat one of those. Heaven!

                  http://www.recchiuticonfections.com/

                  1. if you're really serious about your chocolate, it's hard to beat richart on stockton and sutter.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: aschapm

                      I attended an event that had a tasting of Richart chocolates available. It took superhuman strength to tear myself away from that table. I think I scarfed down about 3 or 4 different kinds and they were all wonderful.

                    2. I love, love, love Charles Chocolates. Locally made too. I got them on 24th at Choloate Covered but I know they are sold all over the place. Fabulous gift!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: abe1329

                        I 2nd Charles Chocolates! Their chocolate with caramelized rice krispies is one of the best chocolate bars. Ever. I have found the most competitive prices at Whole Foods. They have quite a selection of artisanal chocolates.

                        1. re: foodiegrl

                          I also love Charles Chocolates. They are made locally in Emeryville and will ship for free within the bay area. I got my mom and Chinese step-dad a box of tea infused chocolates with Chinese characters for X-mas. I figure the positive taste association will help her with her mandarin lessons.

                      2. Take the Scharffen Berger [sic] tour in Berkeley. It smells like heaven there.

                        Edit: and they give you free chocolate

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: dotMac

                          Scharffen Berger's chocolate's not the best in its price range, and not that great period.

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            I think they were better the first year or two before they went into larger scale production. The early bittersweet and semisweet bars were consistently good (and interesting notes of flavor).

                            After that I had a few substandard almost chalky bars, and have found better options since then.

                          2. I'm with bourbongirl and vote for Recchiutti. I'm not a big chocolate person but I do like their various flavors. I had their sesame bite once and it was delicious!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: singleguychef

                              Recchiutti has some fantastic chocolates (the rose caramels, the fleur de sels, esp) and also a bunch that are much less exciting at the price. Definitely find your favorites but don't assume they're all of equal quality.

                              Had anyone tried the hot cocoa?

                            2. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Joseph Schmidt's chocolates! They are my favorite in the city.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: sushi202

                                Please tell me what you like about Joseph Schmidt and what to try there. I bought a small variety of things at the Castro/Mission store a while back and thought it was a really inferior product. I would try again if steered toward something in particular.

                              2. I am constantly on the lookout for good chocolates for receptions/events and have yet to be satisfied.
                                Gone with Recchiutti for a while now, they look pretty but they fail in the flavor department, nothing really shines, although that sesame one is good.
                                Tried Cocoa Bella last week and was shocked at how awful they were. They are very pretty and the selection is huge, and they are lots of appealing flavors (Vin Santo!) but the taste was just not there.
                                The balsamic filled chocolate was downright nasty in fact.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: rabaja

                                  They don't make the chocolate at Cocoa Bella, they sell stuff from famous artisan chocolatiers, thus some flavors are very interesting/not every palate. It really depends on what you get.

                                  1. re: P. Punko

                                    Yes, I realized that going in, which is why I got a wide variety to try a lot of different kinds. None of the truffles/bon bons/molded chocolates etc. I selected appealed to me or my colleagues. Again, they are very pretty and I was excited to have a new source for chocolates, but I was pretty dissapointed by their offerings.

                                2. Actually, around now, Godiva has special collections available like their "G Collection" which is very good and designed by Norman Love, as well as their "American Pie" collection. I haven't tried the "Pie" collection, but their "G Collection" is much better than their normal stuff.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Cary

                                    the G collection is way better than the usual godiva junk but it's just too pricey for the quality. try pricing it against maison du chocolat for example.

                                  2. Another vote for Recchiutti

                                    1. Up in Napa we have Woodhouse chocolates...I'm not sure if they are carried in SF, but they are GORGEOUS and taste divine.

                                      1. The Recchiutti Force Noir is the best chocolate bang for my buck. It's all I want in a piece of chocolate--intense, resonant cocoa flavor, melts in my mouth instantly, just the right size.

                                        1. Leonidas chocolates made in Belgium are the best in the world (I think so) and available at a little shop at the corner of 24th st and Sanchez in Noe Valley. Check it out-well worth the price.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: charlotteowens

                                            I wholeheartendly agree!!
                                            I didn't mention these b/c I didn't know you could buy them in SF...but OMG...Leonidas are amongst the best I've ever had.

                                            1. re: charlotteowens

                                              When talking Belgium, I prefer Neuhaus (Macy's basement) much more than Leonidas. The Neuhaus fresh creams are wonderful.

                                              1. re: charlotteowens

                                                they're definitely good for the price but not the best in the world or even the best in frisco.

                                                they have leonidas stores in l.a.

                                              2. I also have to give a shout out to Michel Cluizel.
                                                http://uk.cluizel.com/fr/The+Single+P...

                                                His 1er Cru and Single Plantation "varietal" chocolates are wonderful, each with its own unique complexity that makes chocolate tasting a much richer experience. It's amazing how a "plain" chocolate bar can taste so different, depending on the source of the cocoa beans. It very much elevates chocolate tasting to a wine-tasting-like event.

                                                Mr. Cluizel was at a food event about a month ago in Half Moon Bay, and he was a total sweetheart. Meeting him in person made me even happier to buy his product. I have found his chocolates at Whole foods and Fog City News.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: foodiegrl

                                                  Berkeley Bowl had Michel Cluizel bars on sale today for $3.50 apiece (not sure if this is regular price or a special). I tried the chocolate-orange bar, which was quite good. Not life-changing or anything, but above average.

                                                2. XOX is fantastic of course. I like Charles chocolates too (local). Chuao I like the Maya, but not the others as much. Michael Michner (local) are beautiful, and their carmelized cocoa nib bar I like a lot. I also enjoy Voges Wallamaroo bar (I am not usually a big chocolate fan, but do love this bar). There are so many good chocolates available around here!

                                                  1. I recently purchased a box of Coco Luxe chocolates from Bittersweet cafe on Fillmore for a friend. It was the "Red Box," a dark chocolate assortment, consisting of three chocolates each of: double cherry, devil's food (it had a little pitchfork printed on it, nice!), and after dinner mint. All quite good, but I was very impressed, with the cherry truffle. Oh man it makes me swoon just thinking about it, and I usually despise chocolate cherry things because they taste so fake. This thing is oozing with dried cherry bits and juice that gushes into the ganache. The cherry taste is fantastic and concentrated like good dried cherries taste.

                                                    1. While I very much like Joseph Schmidt's truffles, if you want more "chocolates for eating and sharing," I don't think you can beat the See's/Costco combo.

                                                      If you go to Costco, you can get two See's gift certificates for $21.88 which you can then take to See's and get $29 of anything or simply two one-pound boxes of chocolates. Did this yesterday with a friend down from Oregon who has a See's addiction. In San Jose, the Almaden Plaza at the corner of Almaden and Blossom Hill has both a Costco and a See's, so it makes a very simple bargain run, especially if you were going to hit Costco anyway and want the sanity of stepping into See's afterwards.

                                                      As for snob appeal, See's uses Guittard couverture which is the same as a number of the higher end chocolatiers. Plus they have more of the old style European confections and are the only place I've seen who has freshly made dark-chocolate-dipped marzipan and crystalized ginger.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Kevin Andrew Murphy

                                                        I do like some of See's specialities--especially the molasses chips and their toffee-ettes. But, both Charles Chocolates and Scharffenberger sell chocolate-dipped crsytallized ginger. I think Charles' version is better, personally, and you can get it at the afore-mentioned Confetti, among other places.

                                                      2. Last time I was in SF I loved that at Bittersweet Cafe on Fillmore has a great selection of bars from all over the world, catogorized and each with descriptions like a wine store. They also have their own baked goods and yummy hot chocolate.

                                                        Ginger's site makes me want to drive to Sacramento.
                                                        http://www.couturechocolates.net/ She has trained with the best!

                                                        1. My favorite chocolates are La Maison du Chocolat. You can find them in a beautiful brown box. Sadly, they only have boutiques in Paris, London and New York. But Neiman Marcus carries them upstairs near the rest of their chocolate and dry goods. Their milk and dark chocolates are perfection and the pistachio just might be my favorite. But their truffles are also delicious.... mmm.. I might just have to splurge and buy some now!! http://www.lamaisonduchocolat.com

                                                          1. I was in SF recently and had some EPIC chocolate in the Ferry Blgd...NOT the Sharfen Berger place.. the other one....wish I could remember the name but if you can drop by a great place to visit anyways and I'm sure you'll find it.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                              1. re: Foodrat

                                                                Yes - that was it Recchuiti - Darn fine chocolate! Thanks!

                                                            1. In the new Westfield center is Christopher Elbow's chocolates. Over the weekend I bought the $40 box and have so far been very, very impressed. Originally from Missouri, they are hardly local but comparable to Recchiuti in my opinion.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: Carrie 218

                                                                I'm more of a purist myself. If a Thai place can't make a good pad thai, and if a pizza place can't make a decent cheese pizza, why bother? So I'm more into the bars than the confections.

                                                                That said, while Cocoa Bella in the center is known for their confections, they sell Maglio Origins bars -- which I haven't been able to spot elsewhere and highly recommend for something all purists have to try at least once (I'm particularly a fan of the Santo Domingo).

                                                              2. Cocoabella stores on Union Street and Westfield Center is hands down the best. The best chocolates from around the world are flown in daily--they search for the finest small batch chocolatiers--many only available in this country from CocoaBella. Not your run of the mill chocolates--and not every chocolate from a specific chocolatier makes the cut, for example they feature only what they consider the "best" ones that Charles Chocolates makes. Online, you can build your own box of custom chocolates by dragging and dropping your selections from around the world into a box that is then mailed to you.

                                                                1. San Francisco Chocolate Factory
                                                                  http://www.sfchocolate.com/

                                                                  Moonstruck Chocolate Co.
                                                                  2109 Chestnut St