This city of California can never disappoint you! From exceptional masterpieces to beautiful beach sites San Francisco has it all. This city by the Bay also offers some of the most lip – smacking chocolate desserts that you won’t experience anywhere else. Check out the Notable San Francisco chocolate shops, Factories and chocolate Loving restaurants and cafes.
Begin the tour with a donut and coffee for breakfast in the sunny garden patio of Dynamo Donuts. This gourmet donut shop bakes small batches daily using local organic ingredients. The menu changes with the season, but certain classics like vanilla and chocolate are available year-round. Chocoholics will appreciate the variety of chocolate donuts. Recommended for this tour is the Spiced Chocolate Donut. Tossed in chipotle-cinnamon sugar, this delicious dark-chocolate donut represents a synergy of the Mission’s culinary heritage and the latest trends. The cinnamon-sugar coating is reminiscent of Mexican churros, the spiciness harkens back to recipes for Mayan hot chocolate, and the artisanal quality is all the rage in the Mission right now. Dynamo Donuts also has other excellent chocolate donuts, including Chocolate with Chocolate-Anise Glaze and gluten-free Chocolate with Raspberry-Black Pepper Glaze. Many flavours of donuts sell out by late morning.
CHOCOLATES AT CHARLES
Continue the tour by walking one block to Florida Street and head north until you arrive at Charles Chocolates. This artisanal chocolate maker is acclaimed for its European-style truffles. Charles Chocolates focuses on classic flavours like caramels and pralines. Customer favourites are the Fleur de Sel Caramels, the Peanut Praline Butterflies (made from fresh roasted peanuts) and the Milk Chocolate Caramel, a grown-up version of Rolo candy! Other highlights are the chocolate pastries, especially the Macadamia “Crack” Tart featuring a buttery crust, chocolate ganache and gooey caramel, and the S’More made with a freshly baked graham cracker, dark chocolate and handmade vanilla marshmallow. You may enjoy the pastries and chocolates with coffee or tea while sitting on the outdoor patio, but keep in mind you should save room for the next three stops. Take home and assorted box of chocolate truffles which will keep for several weeks.
Head west on 18th Street until arriving at Valencia Street where two wonderful stops await you! Spend some time at Dandelion Chocolate, a small-batch chocolate factory that’s part of the New American Chocolate Movement. This San Francisco-based company produces single-origin chocolate from bean to bar. Unlike industrial chocolate producers, Dandelion collaborates with farmers in various cocoa-producing regions all over the world. Then the beans are processed by hand at this local facility. You can take a tour and watch how the chocolate is produced from the roasting process and the grinding of the beans to the tempering of chocolate bars. Free tours of the chocolate factory are held at 6 PM On weeknights and 3 PM on Saturdays. This location also doubles as a café that serves outstanding house-made hot chocolate, Four Barrel coffee and pastries. Be sure to sample the spicy Mission hot chocolate (my personal favorite) or the European hot chocolate which is very dense in dark chocolate, in the Parisian style.
CHOCOLATE DESSERT AT CRAFTSMAN & WOLVES
Next door to Dandelion Chocolate is Craftsman and Wolves, an upscale bakery that caters to the Mission’s hipster crowd with its daring selection of exquisite patisserie. The avant-garde pastries feature innovative flavour combinations such as Chocolate-Raspberry Eclairs and Black Sesame Mandarin Chocolate Mousse Cake. The assortment is based on fresh ingredients and is updated constantly with the season. Craftsman and Wolves uses high-quality Valrhona chocolate in all of its chocolate desserts as well as in the chocolate chip cookies and the hot chocolate. Select a dessert that appeals to you and savour it in inside or at one of sidewalk tables.
COCOA-INFUSED COCKTAILS AT ABV
Finally, celebrate a fabulous day of chocolate discovery with specialty cocktails at ABV. A favorite local hangout, this stylish bar makes some of the best craft cocktails in the Mission. The cocktails are mixed to perfection, served in chilled glasses and delicately garnished for added flair. To conclude your tour, try the Fogerty Cocktail that’s made with cocoa, rye, Campari and orange bitters.
Avital Ungar is the owner of Avital Food Tours which takes guests behind-the-scenes in the San Francisco culinary scene on walking food tours in the Mission District, the Haight Ashbury, North Beach and craft cocktails in Union Square.