If San Francisco weren’t known as The City by the Bay, it could be called Chocolate City. When it comes to fine chocolates for Valentine’s Day, Bay Area residents have always had lots of delicious choices. San Francisco is the historic home of Ghirardelli and Guittard and the birthplace of pioneering American chocolate brand Scharffen Berger.
These days, creative San Fran confectioners are making life sweeter with their handcrafted, artisanal chocolates that reflect the passions and personalities of the people who make them. Here are some great ways to say, “I’m really into you” with San Francisco-made chocolate:
Socola Chocolatier’s Aphrodite’s Delight: This chocolate gift starts with raspberry pâte de fruit with champagne ganache and enrobed in dark bittersweet chocolate; each one is topped with the word “love” in different languages. The other half of the box is filled with gray sea salt chocolate caramels topped with red Hawaiian salt. Super-cute sisters Wendy and Susan, who are based in San Francisco, just became the featured chocolatiers for Zaarly, a cool site that curates all sorts of services. New members can go to Zaarly and snag the 12-piece Aphrodite’s Delight box for just $15; shipping is free in San Francisco and $5 elsewhere.
Dandelion Chocolate’s Three-Bar Gift Set: This bean-to-bar maker based in San Francisco’s Mission neighborhood is the new darling of the city’s chocolate scene. Discover the nuances of flavor in chocolates from different origins with a menage à trois of bars from Venezuela, the Dominican Republic and Madagascar, all tied with a little ribbon.
TCHO Chocolates Love Gifts: The indie tree-to-bar chocolate maker on the Embarcadero has always had a sense of style since it was established in 2005. It’s known for partnering with artists and museums to create graphic packaging for its chocolates, which highlight the way a chocolate’s terroir influences its flavor. Select the Erik Adigard Heart’s Desire Gift Box filled with fruity, nutty, chocolatey and citrusy squares; the 50-piece Lips Valentine Milk collection; or the new TCHO Artisan Confections, a box of truffles filled with honey caramel, blood orange, hazelnut, brandied cherry and roasted cacao nib caramel.
Teuscher Champagne Truffles: This Palo Alto-based confectionery has a big claim to fame — company founder Dolf Teuscher Sr. invented the Champagne truffle back in 1947 in Switzerland. A buttercream center infused with Dom Pérignon Champagne is wrapped in either dark or milk chocolate. The milk chocolate original is dusted in confectioner’s sugar for a juicy sensation, while the dark chocolate is rolled in bittersweet cocoa powder for a drier, deeply flavored bite.
Recchiuti Champagne Truffles: Chocolatier Michael Recchiuti adds the deeply toasty and fruity Schramsberg Blanc de Noirs to super-creamy dark chocolate. They’re rolled in powered sugar as the final step. But our favorite confection by the former pastry chef has always been his fleur de sel caramels, which have a bittersweet note, just like true love. Pick them up at the Recchiuti shop in the Ferry Building, at Little Nib in Dogpatch or online.
Photos Courtesy of Socola, Recchiuti Confections and TCHO