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Best Bay Area Chocolatier with mail order line?

I am thinking ahead to Easter and want to send some local chocolate to French friends in Bordeaux. Previously I've brought them Lyla's chocolates from Mill Valley where I live--which they loved. But, alas, Lyla's is no more. Any suggestions for local chocolate to with which to impress the French? I don't want to spend more than $50 for the chocolate and the mailing, so some of the really high end places (which seem to be French anyway) are out.

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  1. Try XoX Truffles and see what their prices are. The chocolates are great. They need to be kept cool, though.

    XOX Truffles
    754 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

    1. Has anyone tried The Xocholate Bar in the east bay and marin? I'd like to know more.

      1 Reply
      1. re: drmimi

        I work across the street from Xocolate Bar and frequent them about once a week for a nibble. I personally like their stuff and they release new items fairly regularly for holidays and events or because they want to. Their dark chocolate is good and they have some wonderful moulds that create some great designs (think chocolate relief sculptures). my favorite is still their kalamata olive carmel.

        they have a guiness chocolate coming out this week to celebrate St. Patty's. I was planning on picking up a few dozen for a party I'm going to.

        The Xocolate Bar
        1709 Solano Ave, Berkeley, CA 94707

      2. By far the best chocolatier in San Francisco is Joseph Schmidt. Here is the link to their site:
        Everyone always thinks of Ghirardelli first when they think of San Francisco chocolate, but I find it ordinary. Joseph Schmidt is exceptional!

        3 Replies
        1. re: Makaha Maven

          Joseph Schmidt is owned by Hershey and is or has been shut down.

          1. re: Makaha Maven

            Besides JS being closed, it's terrible, it's always been terrible. Their thing was always those gorgeous flowers, not the taste. The chocolate itself had little intrinsic taste. There is no way JS is in the same category as the other chocolates here discussed.

            1. re: bbulkow

              I totally agree. Joseph Schmidt was a waxy and really inferior product. Those clumsy, thick-walled truffles were a joke.

          2. My first thought was Recchuiti, but I think it would be hard to do anything nice for under $50 shipped to France.

            I would call Barlovento -- they do lovely chocolates and they do some flavors that are very Bay Area (the Meyer lemon is amazing).

            Barlovento Chocolates
            638 2nd St, Oakland, Ca 94607

            1. My favorite by far is Poco dolce:
              They have truffles and tiles. The tiles are just amazing. I can’t say enough good things about them. Very well balanced, perfect texture, not too sweet and with a very satisfying rich chocolate flavor. My favorite flavor is the Aztec Chile. The warmth of the chile perfectly complements the chocolate. I always have a supply of them at my house. Everyone I give them to loves them. They are pricy but worth it.

              1. http://www.chocolatierblue.com/

                Chocolatier Blue makes some pretty darn delicious chocolates. They ship out of their store in Berkeley. Only downside about shipping overseas is that the shelf life of their chocolates is only about 3 weeks. The shop has been discussed recently on this board.

                1. Here's a chowhound link

                  Chocolatier Blue
                  1964 University Ave, Berkeley, CA 94701

                  1. Consider TCHO, a beans-to-bar maker (not a confectioner) located at Pier 17. I am addicted to their "Citrusy" chocolate.

                    17 San Pier, Francisco, CA

                    1. Have you tried Saratoga Chocolates? They might be a little out of your way, but they're very good if you like your chocolate super-dark. They like to use a lot of local ingredients, too.


                      1. Unless you mail it yourself, it's highly unlikely you can stay within your budget and have much to send. You have to ship fast (2 day to Europe) if you don't want truffles to melt. That's at least $25. Most mail order companies mark up the mailing part.

                        I will recommend the chocolate boxes of treats from Charles'. Primarily for the chocolate box itself.

                        Outside the Bay Area, Lillebelle Farms in Medford Oregon has some wonderful chocolates (raspberry fondant butterflies, cayenne caramels) and does mail order.

                        1. Honestly, I would send a box of See's chocolates--probably mostly or entirely Rocky Road. (Not the truffles, nor the overly sweet creams, though.) My friends and relations in Madrid and France (not to mention the Philippines) LOVE See's, and it's pretty much the only edible they ask me to bring when I visit. And one can easily see why: chocolate in the style of la Maison du Chocolat is expensive, but readily available over there, but Rocky Road, pecan buds, California brittle. . .!!! Ah, that's America at it's simple, straightforward, delicious best ;-)

                          And I think you might be able to get a 2 lb box chocolates over there for under $50. BTW, you might want to check this information on sending gifts to France:

                          Good luck!

                          1. I have tasted a number of Bay Area chocolatiers and my favorite, hands down is Recchiuti. Don't know how he does it, but having spent seven years myself in the biz his creativity and execution are astounding. Shipping to FR might be expensive, but I am sure the chocs will wow the recipient.