San Francisco’s rich chocolate legacy dates back to 1852, when Domingo Ghirardelli opened shop. Today, a new wave of bean-to-bar chocolatiers upholds the tradition of superior local chocolate stores in San Francisco. If you’re looking for a special-occasion offering (or just a treat for yourself), a beautiful box of bonbons or a fiery s'more is a sweet choice. For the rare cocoa-averse recipient, check out our picks for the best jewelry stores, candy stores and florists in San Francisco.
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Chocolate stores in San Francisco
The cadillac of artisanal chocolatiers, Dandelion’s bean-to-bar chocolate and pastry shop in the Mission is at the top of the city’s list of most desirable food destinations. At their new factory down the road, Dandelion roasts, sorts and tempers small batches of cacao beans, then makes each chocolate bar by hand. At the cafe, you’ll find a range of chocolatey goodness to taste, sip or gorge on. If your interest in chocolate lies a little deeper than the average lover, check out Dandelion’s factory tours and chocolate tasting and making classes.
Sacramento chocolatier and pastry chef Ginger Elizabeth Hahn opened her second shop in late 2017—a sweet, pink confectionary in the Marina. Inside, you’ll find not just mouth-watering chocolate bars like the peanut, wildflower honey and graham cracker ($7.50), but also a selection of fudge and chewy macarons in fun flavors like apricot cobbler and rose and butter caramel. While browsing the eye-popping goodness, sip an artisanal hot chocolate garnished with house made whipped cream or marshmallows.
Inspired by the tastes and rhythms of Brazil, Tinyb Chocolate specializes in brigadieros, a sphere of creamy, chocolatey goodness. These playful cousins of the typical truffle are lovingly made by Sao Paolo native and San Francisco transplant Renata Stoica in bright South American flavors like passion fruit and white chocolate, pineapple coconut and banana with cinnamon and chocolate sprinkles. Bring home a box of four for $12 or 30 for $60.
This socially-conscious chocolatier takes sustainability seriously by donating a percentage of their profits to the kinds of small-scale cacao farmers who help them to produce delicious confections. Feve’s truffles, glazed to a shine in constellations of oranges and reds, are filled with mind-blowing flavors like sesame praline and matcha, cardamom with whisky and almond and ginger and wild honey. A nine-piece box of heart shaped or assorted truffles ($22) are a great way to deliver some sweetness to your sweetness on Valentine’s Day (or any day of the year).
Cadence has no address, or at least, no brick-and-mortar storefront where you can see the chocolate beauties they create. Instead, this small chocolate company produces their organic, free-trade, award-winning bonbons in a secret lair, then delivers them, via bike, to customers in a number of San Francisco and Oakland neighborhoods (check their website for a list). Cadence’s hand-painted treats, many of which are vegan, come in flavors like bergamot, negroni and a variety of seed butters including pumpkin and sunflower.
For 20 years, XOX Truffles has been a North Beach mainstay. French chocolatier Jean-Marc Gorce crafts an amazing selection of decadent truffles that range from the traditional to the unusual including a number of alcohol-infused flavors like champagne, Cognac and Kahlua. An in-store barista can provide you with just the right kind of coffee to compliment your chocolatey choices. Time Out tip: Their new shop in Terminal 3 at SFO can give you a much needed pick-me-up if the notorious fog is messing with your flight’s departure.
Founded by two Vietnamese sisters, Socola Chocolatier has a whimsical, yet cosmopolitan, take on chocolate. Named one of the best chocolatiers in America, Socola’s truffles and bars—which include unexpected ingredients like pop rocks, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and durian fruit—bring a childlike playfulness back to chocolate eating. At their bright SoMa shop, you’ll also find pastries, confections and coffee.
Self-taught chocolatier Chuck Siegel has honed his craft over 30 years, developing a loyal following that has taken him from cult purveyor to household name sold at Starbucks and Whole Foods. But this successful chocolate company’s heart, and factory, are in San Francisco’s Mission District. There you’ll find an endless variety of truffles, chocolate-covered nuts and chocolate bars all handmade in small batches. Pick up a signature box of nine fleur de sel caramel-filled chocolates or shiny, heart-shaped truffles ($65) to delight your Valentine.
At Recchiuti’s Potrero Hill lab, you’ll find not only truffles and chocolate bars in sophisticated flavors like tarragon grapefruit and cardamom nougat but nostalgic baked goods like the s’mores breakfast tartin and the beloved whoopie pie cake which spotlights Recchiuti’s decadent chocolate. With a huge selection of gift boxes and sweetly packaged sweets and sauces available here, at their Ferry Plaza location and online, Recchiuti will put you at the top of your gift-giving game.
Begun in 2003 as an Italian pastry company, it wasn’t long before Poco Dolce’s creator Kathy Wiley shifted the company’s focus to chocolate. The shop’s confections are true to their name—a little sweet, a little savory and a lot of flavor. Known for their “tiles,” pint-sized flavored or filled chocolate bars like sea salt and Aztec chile, Poco Dolce also hand makes caramels, bonbons, drinking chocolate and full chocolate bars. Gift boxes come in a variety of sizes and styles ranging from nine whiskey bonbons for $26 to an assorted basket of awesomeness for $110.
Chocolate Covered isn’t a confectioner, it’s the delicious dealer your chocolate addiction has been seeking. The Noe Valley boutique with a vintage candy shop vibe sells over 900 types of gourmet chocolates from 19 countries. Whether your tastes run towards traditional flavors of rich, organic cacao or more unusual flavors like Moonstruck’s strawberry, basil sugar and dark chocolate bar or Manoa Chocolate’s goat’s milk bar, you’ll never run out of choices at Chocolate Covered.
This surprising Inner Richmond chocolate shop helmed by San Francisco native Mindy Fong combines the decadence of chocolate with the spices, fruits and flavors of tropical Asia. Chocolate bars like the award winning Dragon’s Breath (roasted sesame seeds, Lapsang Souchang tea and ground red chili) and truffles like lychee rose green tea beautifully compliment the shop’s menu of rich hot chocolates and loose leaf teas. For a unique gift, bring home some of Jade’s “tea drops,” molded cakes of tea leaves and spices in flavors like chocolate earl grey ($2 each).