Notes on wine I’ve tried.
Recently, more and more solid domestic US makers have popped up, and many are even full fledged bean to bar operations. Some are established and well regarded, like Amano, Michel Cluizel, and Recchuiti, while others like Rogue, Original Beans, and Dandelion are younger but surprisingly polished.
It’s hard to call out just a few makers individually, though. There are so many great ones!
Antica Dolceria Bonajuto
Poristiy Bitter Taste 66%
Chocolatier’s Blend 71%
Askinosie Davao, Phillipines Trinitario 77%
denis daubos (no web site) guinea 70%
Pierre Marcolini Ghana 75%
West Africa 73%
Ecuador Edelcacao 70%
Green & Black’s
Praline, 66%, 88%
Xocoa Negro 90%,
Arriba (Ecuador) 75%
True Flats 54%
Cioccolato Fondente 60%
Barettini Extra Dark 72%
Extra Noir 77%
E. Guittard Quetalcoatl 72%
Scharffen Berger Kumasi Sambirano 68% Extra Dark 82% Finisterra 10th Anniversary 72%
Moser Roth Edel Bitter 70%
Ocumare 71% Guaranda 71%
Rich Dark 65%
Cocoa De Maracaibo 55.5% Cocoa D’Arriba 77%
Cacao Reserve 65% Pure Dark 60%
El Rey Icoa
Green & Black’S Vanilla
Vintage Plantations 75%
ile de re
Tiramisu Te Verde (Green Tea) 52%
Chinita Nibs (With Nutmeg) 58%
Green & Black’S Maya Gold (Orange, Spices) 55%
Renew (Blackcurrant) 73% Vigor (Coffee) 73% Tranquility (Lavender) Milk
Lake Champlain Dark Chocolate With Almonds
Calcagno Tornio Cioccolato Fondente Extra Con Peperoncino 56%
Goji (Goji Berries, Pink Salt) 41% Barcelona (Almonds, Grey Sea Salt) 41% Gianduja (Almond And Hazelnut Praline) 41% Oaxaca (Guajillo And Pasilla Chiles) 75% Red Fire (Ancho And Chipotle Chiles, Ceylon Cinnamon) 55% Creole (Espresso, Nibs, Chicory) 70% Woolloomooloo (Macadamia Nuts, Coconut, Hemp Seeds) 41%
Sunflower Seeds + Reishi Mushrooms 50% Kurbistruffel (Pumpkinseed Cream) 45% Graumohn-Kirsch (Poppy Seed, Cherry) 70% Cracknel-Quintet (Cracknel) 50% Candied Cranberries 70% BitterClassic (65% Filling) 70%
Earl Grey 52% Ceylan Cinnamon 52% Hot Masala 32%
Hazelnut Praline 70%
Extra Dark With Cranberries, Blueberries, And Almonds 60%
Lavender Grey Sea Salt And Nibs 50%
Cherries And Almonds 55%
Xocolatl (Chile, Nibs) 74% Chai (With Ginger) 37%
Dark With Spanish Almonds 62%
Dark With Ancho Chiles 68
Coffee White Chocolate
Here are a few places in San Francisco, the greater Bay Area, and online that have good chocolate selections:
Fog City News specializes in newspapers, magazines, and chocolate from all over the world…and nothing else. Their chocolate selection is phenomenal. They carry all of the makers on this page, with the notable exception of Recchiuti. The staff is also very knowledgeable and always has great recommendations.
Chocolate Covered has a storefront in the charming, chic 24th Street business district in Noe Valley. It’s small and understated, but inside you’ll find one of the most comprehensive chocolate selections in the area. It specializes in European and South American chocolates, and the owner is on a first-name basis with many of the makers on this page. He’s extremely knowledgeable, and his recommendations are impeccable. As an unexpected treat, he’s also a lunchbox and tin afficionado, and offers custom-made tins packed with chocolate assortments.
Cocoa Bella, on Union in SF, sounds promising. It looks like they focus more on truffles than solid chocolate bars, but they still have a decent selection, including an Italian maker I’ve never tried, Maglio. If you’re reading this, nag me to go check it out!
Oakville Grocery is actually a full-featured gourmet grocery, but I’ve only really used them for their chocolates, and a few other fun things to splurge on like pesto, chilis, and olive oil. They have a big selection, but consisting mostly of domestics and big-name importeds. The staff doesn’t really specialize in chocolate, but they’re extremely friendly and helpful.
Recchiuti Confections in the Ferry Building Marketplace is lots of fun, not to mention the only place near me where I can get Recchiuti chocolate. (The others in San Francisco are Nieman Marcus and Bi-Rite Market. Huh?) The Ferry Building marketplace is open on Saturdays and occasionally other weekdays, and it’s a lot of fun.
Confetti Le Chocolatier is ostensibly a cafe, but they have a great selection of imported chocolates too. It’s a little eclipsed by their other chocolate confections, but the staff is very cool, and they’ll hand-pack boxes with whatever combination of Godiva, Neuhaus, Dolfin, etc. you can dream up.
Rococoa Faerie Queen pays just as much attention to the experience as to the chocolate. It’s located in the Castro, which is definitely visible in the outside environment and the storefront. However, the actual chocolate selection leaves something to be desired. They have great truffles, including more than a few homemade ones, but almost no straight bar chocolate. Furthermore, most of the truffles are Leonidas, with few other kinds. Finally, the interior of the store is stiflingly small. Maybe five people can fit inside total. The Castro is fun, but don’t go on Rococoa’s account.
Coupa Café is one of my regular hangouts. They’re a five minute walk from my apartment, and they offer spectacular spicy hot chocolate and free wireless. They also have good food and great desserts, including a line of hand-made truffles. More importantly, though, they’re the area’s only Chuao importer, and they also carry makers like El Rey and Michel Cluizel. Having all this within walking distance is very, very dangerous. :P
AG Ferrari Foods is an upmarket, boutique Italian grocery store chain. Their chocolate selection is far from comprehensive, but so far, AG Ferrari is the only place I’ve found that carries a few specific Italian makers – Barrati & Milano, Guido Gobino, and Laboratorio Artigianale del Giandujotto. True, you can buy them on the internet, but for something as sensual and personal as chocolate, unless you’ve tried them before, that doesn’t really work. Still…
Amazon is rapidly becoming the Wal-Mart of the Internet. I was pleasantly surprised when I won an Amazon gift certificate recently…but I couldn’t think of anything I wanted, so I ended up browsing their chocolate selection. They provide a single storefront for a number of smaller sellers across the world. The selection varies by season, and favors truffles, but you can still find a number of the chocolates listed here. I’ve only found a few stores in the entire Bay Area that have decent selections – Fog City, Oakville, and Chocolate Covered – so Amazon is a welcome addition. Gotta love teh intarweb!