Everyone, everywhere is crazy for chocolate—or so it seems! The cocoa bean has been worshipped by the Aztecs, spiced by the Mexicans, dowered by the Spaniards, cultivated by the Ghanaians, made luxurious by the French, housed by the English, powdered by the Dutch, milked by the Swiss and mass-marketed by the Americans. And it certainly has been imaginatively enjoyed by the San Franciscans.
Chocolate can be found, savored and simply loved throughout the City by the Bay. Chocolate is paired with wine, beer and spirits on the Ultra Chocolate Tour that culminates at Union Square. There’s a stock of unusual, hard-to-find chocolate brands alongside the latest newspapers and magazines at Fog City News in the Financial District. Chocolate is handily scooped up with ice cream Monday thru Saturday, as well as on a cherry-topped Sundae at Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop in Downtown. It’s utterly adored at Dandelion Chocolate with its bean-to-bar chocolate factory, chocolate classes and even chocolate beer in the Mission. Cocoa and chocolate are found loaded with fresh lavender, tarragon and lemon verbena at Recchuiti Confections on The Embarcadero. See’s Candies generously offers up a free chocolate sample upon entry into its latest shop in the Castro. Chocolate abounds via TCHO private chocolate tasting events that can be conducted in your home or office. Chocolate is truly on parade at the annual Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival in Fisherman’s Wharf. At the Christopher Elbow Artisanal Chocolates in the trendy Hayes Valley area, one can try champagne infused milk chocolates and whiskey aged maple dark chocolates. Over 25 different varieties of handmade truffles are enjoyed at XOX Truffles in North Beach. Finally, chocolate and its many forms and personalities are tasted, discussed and celebrated upon entering the world of premium chocolate at the San Francisco Chocolate Salons at Fort Mason.
Indeed, chocolate can take one on a fantastical trip throughout San Francisco—it shows no signs of slowing down or just melting away. Throughout time, chocolate has been praised as bronze-hued manna, then traded like gold and even immortalized on the silver screen in such foovies (food movies) as, Mexico’s Like Water for Chocolate, France’s Chocolat, as well as the British-American children’s classic, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Having been transformed from the precious Aztec “food of the gods” to the simply silver-wrapped morsels kissed with milk chocolate, cocoa and its offspring chocolate have journeyed around the world and, luckily, picked-up a bit of the local culture along the way.