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San Diego Chocolatiers?

So, I'm trying to find a good place to get high-end chocolate treats for gifts and such. I know about Chuao but the location I know is in the UTC mall and I have a mall aversion. Any other little spots for fancy chocolate?

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  1. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/476526

    there are also Chuao shops in Del Mar, Carlsbad and Encinitas - in less oppressive malls than UTC.

    1. I just found Eclipse Chocolat, on El Cajon Blvd (2200 or so). Will is fabuolus! A real artist. His chocolate is slightl;y higher end than Chao, a bit more expensive as well. His truffles and fabulous, but so is everything else in his shop. I ate a cookie that was meringue with lots of chewy dark chocolate in it. He serves deseert plates, some sanwiches, Calabria coffee. What more could you ask for? Try him!

      4 Replies
      1. re: abacal

        I've had things at Eclipse that I really like, and other things with flavor combinations that just didn't work for me. In the interest of full disclosure, I'll say that I really love chocolate, to the point where if it's good enough I don't think it requires much in the way of adornment. As a result, I find some of the new trends involving the incorporation of herbs and spices to be lily-gilding. Sometimes I just want plain old milk chocolate, made from great ingredients.

        That said, the ones I've had at Eclipse that I really liked were the Azteca truffles (spicy chocolate is an exception, I find that I do like that particular combination) and the lavender sea salt caramel. I think his caramels in general are exemplary. I had a coffee with the muscovado caramel in it, and that was really delicious. The spicy caramel with fruit and cheese was also great. I'd like to try more of his truffles, and some of the barks. The barks look really good, but I don't want to buy a box of them and have that in the house. I just want a piece - they don't look slenderizing.

        On edit: while I don't always find the unusual chocolate flavoring combinations to my liking, I like that people are experimenting in this way. Some of the flavors I've seen at Eclipse, and also from Vosges, sound very intriguing.

        1. re: Josh

          A little bit of spice (salt, curry, pepper, etc.) can be good, but sometimes I think he uses a little too much. I too like that he's experimenting though. The honeycomb is good if you like honey (topped with bee pollen) and I really like the caramels and the plated desserts/brownies/cupcakes. The spicy caramel sauce with the cheese plate is phenomenal.

          1. re: Josh

            I just had to stop by after reading your post, Josh, as caramels are a huge weakness of mine. Pairing them with sea salt just seals the deal. Eclipse more than satisfied my craving. I brought home a small box of eight, and shared them with the family. I got an overwhelming response of yummy sounds.

            Eclipse also does chocolate tasting brunches and dinners, with one coming up for Mother's Day. Check out this menu:

            Will also said they'd have a "barbeque" chocolate tasting brunch for Father's Day. Can't wait to see that menu!

            Next week I'm thinking of venturing up there for one of those creme fraiche cupcakes. They look scrumptious.

          2. re: abacal

            Eclipse is good, Chuao is better and it is more upscale.

          3. Chuao has multiple locations, you can find them here - http://www.chuaochocolatier.com . Also try the Elegant Truffle in Point Loma, 1110 Scott St.

            1. There is a little chocolatier in little italy on india street, I think, and also one at the hillcrest farmers market...

              4 Replies
              1. re: jennywenny

                I was in Little Italy today, and saw that Chi for Chocolate was gone. Their sign was removed from the wall, and the windows papered over. I really hope they've just moved.

                1. re: beth1

                  and their website is down, so it seems like they may actually be gone. Too bad. I loved their drinking chocolate.

                  1. re: pkt63

                    Nobody has the spare bucks to squander on chocolate that pricey. I predict a lot of artisan food stuff is going to go in this economy.

                2. There was a Peruvian lady who used to sell her truffles at farmers' markets. I loved some of her items. I haven't seen her around in the last year (though I am not a consistent shopper), but I think I read once that she opened a shop. Anyone know? Otherwise, I second Chuao. I do think that both Will's caramels and his Coconut Curry Masala bar are better than Vosges' (original) versions.
                  If you want good chocolate bars, not truffles, you can now buy some Vosges and Chuao at Cost Plus World Market. Extraordinary Desserts rotates interesting chocolate bars, which they sell at the register. Major Market carries Seattle Chocolates too; some of their truffle bars are good.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: maestra

                    Of course, how could I forget! They sell at the Hillcrest and I think Vista and Santa Monica Farmers' Markets - Guanni is the name. I love their stuff. They are still around - I saw her just a week or so ago.

                    1. re: Alice Q

                      Sounds like she doesn't come to the Escondido market anymore -- boo hoo!

                      1. re: maestra

                        Don't take my word on that - I think the website probably lists the markets they go to, I could be confused. I know it's somewhere in N. County. They had a shop briefly in Fallbrook, but I think it closed.

                    2. re: maestra

                      Whole Foods in UTC carries Vosges chocolate bars in the full sized and mini versions. They also carry a lot of chocolate brands, including the non-truffle/bon bon items from Chuao. If they have Moonstruck Chocolates out of PDX, their chocolate bars are on par w/ Chuao.

                      My fave Vosges bars are the Barcelona (sea salt, roasted almonds and milk chocolate) and Mo's Bacon Bar (maple syrup, bacon and milk chocolate). The Calindia bar (goji berries and cardamom) and Aztec bar (spicy dark chocolate) are also very good. Unfortunately they discontinued the Black Cat bar...

                    3. Chi Chocolat on India

                      The Elegant Truffle in Point Loma
                      1111 Scott St.
                      San Diego CA 92106

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: sdnativa

                        I used to drive to Palm Desert to pick up Bernard Callebaut's chocolates. I see from thier website he closed but is in Scottsdale, AZ, if you want to drive!!
                        I stopped going to Palm Desert when Chuao opened. I think they are just as good.

                        1. re: sdnativa

                          second that on Chi. The spiced hot chocolate is the best.

                        2. You know what else is good, tho they might be considered more "candy" than fine chocolates, is Allies Edibles in Carlsbad. http://alliesedibles.com/
                          They are described as "comfort food" chocolates, but I've sent them to some of my more snobbish chocolate friends and they gave favorable reports.

                          1. Thanks for all the replies. To start we tried Chi and so far they are fantastic (they're so expensive I'm hoarding my supply for a few days).

                            1. Tried Eclipse for the first time a few days ago (finally). They were out of the much-raved about chocolate-salted caramel cupcake that I really wanted to try. I went mid-day, the day after Memorial Day expecting no sell-outs yet, but Will had sold the last one 40 minutes before I arrived...must speak to the popularity. Shifting tasting strategies I bought 3 cupcakes to take home to sample and the lavender sea-salt caramel to get an idea of the salt/caramel flavor match-up.

                              Burnt -Caramel Marshmallow cupcake. In all fairness, I knew this would be over the top sweet for me, but I was in the mood at the time of purchase. I couldn't really taste the chile in the caramel because of the overwhelming gooey sugar of the marshmallow. It was good, just not my preference.

                              Balsamic Pink Peppercorn-Dark Chocolate cupcake. Super moist with raspberry balsamic filling. The perfect combination of dark chocolate richness and ripe berry. I would have liked a little more balsamic undertone as I really couldn't taste it. A lovely classic until I bit into one of the few pink peppercorns sprinkled on top. I like a little pepper in some sweets, but this one little bud had a jarring effect on my tastebuds that did not work for me. It's a great, great treat but next time I will remove the offending pink condiment.

                              Muscavado Caramel-Dark Chocolate cupcake. Now this is pure chocolate-caramel bliss. Again, his cake is amazingly and annoyingly moist (annoyingly because I haven't quite accomplished that moistness feat in my own baking). The caramel filling was rich, but not too overwhelming and I loved the topping of dark muscavado sugar. Dangerous stuff here.

                              The lavender-salt caramel-truffle was a revelation...I will be back for those and hopefully it's sister cupcake counterpart.

                              And Will has posted on his cafe blog that the weekend of July 5th & 6th will be "Cupcake Extravaganza Weekend" with over 30 flavors available.

                              On another note, I noticed there is a new chocolatier/patisserie opening sometime soon on the corner of 4th and University. Maybe someone who frequents the neighborhood can keep an eye out to post any updates.

                              9 Replies
                              1. re: foodiechick

                                Eclipse, Chuao and Chi are each lovely in their own way. My favorite though is Guanni, mentioned by Alice and Maestra above. Amazing, beautiful, organic Peruvian chocolates. She's selling at the new Little Italy Mercato farmers market on Saturday mornings and at the Del Mar market on Saturday afternoons, and I think she's at the market in Santa Monica.

                                1. re: sandshark

                                  I found her again at the Escondido FM, and everything is better than ever.

                                2. re: foodiechick

                                  About Eclipse cupcakes:
                                  Funny-- I bought 2 cupcakes there a few weeks ago, and they were some of the worst cake I'd ever put in my mouth. I enjoy his other selections, but those cupcakes (peanut butter and jelly and something else w/vanilla cake -- maybe some sort of caramel) were horrible. He didn't have any chocolate flavors available, but the vanilla cake was oily and somehow bitter. They were $7 in the trash for us.

                                  1. re: maestra

                                    You're not alone. I had cupcakes there last month that weren't that great either. Dry, clearly at least day old. By the same token I had one of the cheese plates which was really good, as are the teas he serves.

                                    1. re: DiningDiva

                                      I'll have to check out the teas next time. That would be great with sweet snack. Any particular favorite?

                                      1. re: maestra

                                        I had the pear green tea and the person I was with had the tangerine and vanilla tea. They were outstanding.

                                      2. re: DiningDiva

                                        Dropped in tonight and tried one of the vegan truffles, made with coconut milk. Thought it was incredible.

                                      3. re: maestra

                                        I've had the yellow cake ones twice - one was good, one was dry. I prefer the chocolate ones myself though. While I'm on the subject of cupcakes - Influx makes some GREAT ones. Totally different from Eclipse - the best "traditional" ones I've had in SD.

                                        1. re: maestra

                                          Yes, we've had dry, stale-seeming cupcakes there. In fact, the few times we've tried, they've always been that way. Sounds like Eclipse's weakness is their consistency of quality.

                                          Their drinking chocolates have always been very good, especially the rosemary-mint if you're in the mood for it. The orange-ginger-mint tea is very good.

                                      4. I would suggest that you try Del Mar Chocolatiers. They make exceptional chocolates, better than Chuao. I don't think they have a brick and mortar store, but their web address is www.dmchocolatiers.com . I got some as a gift at the holidays, and was very impressed; really fresh, and the caramels were the absolute best ever.