If you can't imagine getting your fill of chocolate, you haven't done a chocolate tour of San Francisco. You can actually make a one-day trek of the San Francisco shops -- a great way to work off your chocolate -- although I would recommend thick soles -- and a Muni Fast Pass, just in case.
In 2007, Gourmet Walks launched a chocolate-themed tour. The San Francisco Gourmet Chocolate Tour takes a fun and educational look at some of the city's best chocolatiers -- with stops for samples.
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Embarcadero - Ferry Building
If you're looking for salt caramels -- a delectable balance of sweetness and salt -- stop by the Ferry Building for some of Michael Recchiuti's Fleur de Sel Caramels, covered in dark chocolate. Recchiuti's Ferry Plaza shop showcases miniature works of art otherwise known as the Burgundy Box or the Gilded Collection or unique chocolate selections infused with bergamot, anise or pink peppercorn. Some chocolates feature edible drawings or block print decoration.
One Ferry Building, Shop #30
San Francisco, CA 94111
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XOX chocolates are authentic French truffles, handmade in San Francisco. There's a truffle flavor to suit your palate, from Earl Grey to Cognac to Noisette. Created by Chef Jean-Marc Gorce (formerly of Fringale), XOX are San Francisco favorites, known for their delectable and smooth texture. See a review of XOX Truffles from Besty Malloy (gocalfornia)
754 Columbus Avenue (between Filbert & Greenwich)
San Francisco, CA 94133
See website for Montclair Village Location in Oakland.
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Fillmore & Rockridge (Oakland)
A large, global selection, hand-picked by the owners who traveled the world, seeking the best. Bittersweet opened its first cafe in the Rockridge neighborhood of Oakland, then a second, larger shop on Fillmore Street. Both shops are cafe and shop in one, with chocolate displayed along counters and walls, and areas to sit and enjoy hot chocolate, coffee, brownies and other treats.
2123 Fillmore Street
San Francisco, CA 94115
See Bittersweet website for Rockridge and Danville locations
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Richart Paris has produced hand-crafted gourmet French chocolate since 1925. Known internationally for the intricate artwork that adorns its chocolate, Richart also pays meticulous attention to ingredients, the grind of the cocoa, the processing of small batches supervised by master chocolatiers. Richart also produces chocolate collections seasonally, as well as for holidays and special events.
393 Sutter Street (at Stockton)
San Francisco, CA 94108Continue to 5 of 14 below.
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Marina & Westfield San Francisco Centre
Cocoa Bella is Marina district chocolate boutique that provides a large selection of Swiss, Belgian, French, Italian and American confections. Shelves have packaged chocolate, while the vast display cases are arranged by country and variety. You'll never get it all in one visit but the staff is more than happy to help you narrow down your options.
2102 Union Street
San Francisco, Ca 94123
Westfield Center Location is on Level 1, near Food Emporium
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Christopher Elbow is a new addition to Hayes Valley in 2008. The best way to describe the shop is boutique and lounge -- with a selection of artisanal and painted chocolate (hand-painted or airbrushed with cocoa butter), as well as a lounge area where you can relax with a cup of hot cocoa.
Elbow hails from Kansas City where the chocolates are still made, with his personal supervision and touch. The painted designs are unique to each flavor and style available at the shop.
401 Hayes Street (near Gough)
San Francisco, CA 94102
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Teuscher may be best known for the house specialty -- its popular Champagne Truffles. The Zurich-based chocolatier offers more than 100 varieties that it ships worldwide. You'll also find seasonal and holiday packaging as well as special occasion varieties (such as floral and wedding package designs).
307 Sutter Street (at Grant)
San Francisco, CA 94108
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Founded by tech industry pros who, according to their own bios followed a dream that "drove them to quit the Shuttle program to make chocolate."
TCHO chocolate is made in San Francisco with an obsession for the beans, the source, the process. The company produces "beta editions" to include customers in the testing of new products. The store also serves Blue Bottle Coffee, making this stop along the water a double jeopardy if you're trying to give up sweets and caffeine.
Pier 17 (at Green)
San Francisco, CA
Continue to 9 of 14 below.
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Coco-luxe in the Haight defines itself as a chocolate boutique and a chocolate bar -- serving up not just its decorative chocolate pieces, but also hot chocolate, espresso, and their own marshmallows. Selections you'll find at Coco-luxe include artisan truffles with seasonal artwork on each piece of chocolate, caramels, bundled chocolate gifts, Dragée nuts with spices and cocoa powder, as well as basic Coco-luxe bars.
1673 Haight Street (at Cole)
San Francisco, CA 94117
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Fog City News, in the heart of the Financial District and Embarcadero areas, has one of the largest chocolate selections in the States. Enjoy hundreds of international varieties -- Swiss, Belgian, Italian, French and others -- along with an extensive selection of newspapers and magazines. The staff members at Fog City know their chocolate and are extremely helpful.
455 Market Street (between 1st and Fremont)
San Francisco, CA 94105
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Chocolate Covered fills a unique niche at its Noe Valley store. Owner Jack Epstein will personally create custom photo tins and boxes with any quality image you bring in. Be sure to account for adequate lead time, especially before the holidays. You can fill the gift tins with confections of your choice, and Chocolate Covered has more than enough choice in chocolate and sweets.
4069 24th Street (between Noe & Castro)
San Francisco, CA 94114
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Emeryville - East Bay (& other retail shops)
Handmade chocolate in small batches, from chocolatier Charles Siegel. If you suffer withdrawals when you get to the bottom of your candy box, you're a prime candidate for the Charles edible chocolate box where the packaging tastes as good as the chocolate inside. Like Recchiuti, Charles Chocolates makes a Fleur de Sel Caramel, and also triple chocolate almonds or hazelnuts, marzipan, and other confections.
6529 Hollis Street
Emeryville, CA 94608
Continue to 13 of 14 below.
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Chocolatier Blue is the venue of Chris Blue who's producing single-origin chocolate and offering it up at the Berkeley store on University Avenue. The packaging is all eco-friendly and biodegradable -- a concept I hope continues to gain ground in food production.
The chocolates are made with attention to ingredients but also to aesthetic. Some of his pieces evoke my childhood days, playing with translucent red and blue marbles. His pieces are designed with texture and an almost-Pollack smattering of color detail. (You can get a look at some of his selections in an online gallery.
1964 University Avenue (near Milvia)
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Alegio is an artisanal chocolate shop at the Epicurious Garden in Berkeley. (Epicurious is a collection of gourmet, take-out venues, centered around an enclosed courtyard and garden.) Alegio sells varieties like Pralus (France) and Enric Roviro (Barcelona). Be prepared for a habanero kick with the chili-flavored pieces.
1511 Shattuck Avenue (between Cedar & Vine)
Berkeley, CA 94709