Chocolatiers of SF
- north2south Mar 11, 2010 04:59 PM
I will be visiting SF later this month and I have a thing for chocolate: bars, truffles, drinks, etc. Where should I go?
Oh, so many places. If you want an organized tour, try this: http://www.gourmetwalks.com/html/choc...
And if you're here on the 20th of March, there's a chocolate salon at Fort Mason. http://www.sfchocolatesalon.com/
On your own, there's XOX Truffles in North Beach (French-style, not American-style truffles... the caramel is my favorite).
Fog City News has a great selection of chocolate bars from all over (on Market Street in the Financial District).
As Susan said, there are a lot of choices. If you have time and access to a car you might want to head over to Berkeley and hit Chocolatier Blue on 4th St. and Xocolate Bar on Solano Ave. I think they're two of the best local chocolatiers at the moment. There are also several in Oakland: Michael Mischer, Socola, Cosmic, Vice, Barlovento -- of those, only Cosmic and Mischer have store fronts, but Socola is available at Daily Delectables just down the block from Mischer; the rest sell through other retailers and farmers markets.
However, you might just want to do a Market St. stroll: from the Ferry Building at the foot of Market (chocolate makers Recchiuti and Scharffen Berger, and Village Market has some interesting chocolates as well), past Fog City news (an amazing collection of high-end bars and a very knowledgeable staff), poke your head into Confetti (which carries Neuhaus and Charles Chocolates, among others), and finally to Cocoabella in the Westfield Center, which carries an array of high-end chocolates from numerous small chocolatiers.
i share your obsession with chocolate and Susan and Ruth have given you good advise.
I second Recchiuti; i particularly like his fleur del sel (nice dark carmel) and the star anise pink peppercorn.
Also like Chris Blue's stuff - his citrus flavors are very nice, things with bright flavors stand up well to the Amedei ganache. It is nice if you can catch him at the University shop, because he is fun to talk to.
Less of a fan of Charles (now in SF, except for the peanut butterflies), Michner except a couple of his bars. I like some of Barlovento truffles, but dislike their bars.
Hit Cocoabella, but if you can hit the main location you will get a larger selection of chocolate. Not local, but i really enjoy Lillibelle they serve there.
Whole Foods carries some local chocolatiers - don't miss Poco Dolce, especially if you like dark toffee - their salted toffee sqaures are wonderful. Cocoa Delice is another local chocolatier.
If you find yourself at the ferry building on Saturday NeoCocoa truffles will be there. I personally like XOX better, but others prefer NeoCocoa - you be the judge.
One of the reasons I mentioned Village Market in the Ferry Building is that they carry Poco Dolce; since it's right across the hall from Recchuiti, you can kill two birds with one stop. I agree completely that the Recchuiti fleur de sel caramel is that best of that genre -- and I've tried a lot of fleur de sel caramels! And I agree about Barlovento -- I wouldn't say that I dislike their bars, but their ganache-filled chocolates (not really truffles) are the way to go, especially the Meyer lemon. If you make it to XOX, I really love the burnt caramel truffle there. Jsaimd, if you like toffee, and you like spices in your chocolate, then hie yourself to Fog City News and check out the Chocolate Moderne Kashmir bar (ignore the fact that it's milk chocolate, it's spectacular).
Regarding bars - if you are at a bar, scan the bottles for Van Gogh Chocolate Vodka. It's in a clear bottle with Van Gogh's sunflowers on the outside. If you see such a bottle, they'll make you a chocolate martini. I don't know exactly where the specialists are, though. There are variants, like a chocolate espresso martini. The best I ever had was some chocolate / lemon blend at a long-closed place called Moxie - 100% random, just asked the bartender what he had been working on.
If you really want to learn about chocolate, go to Chocolate Covered on 24th street. The owner will tell you everything you want to know about chocolate, local, national, and international, while letting you sample whatever piques your interest, several of which are exclusive in the country to his shop (like the camel milk chocolate).