By Stephanie Garr. The real San Francisco treat? Rich, lovingly handcrafted chocolate—the surest way to anyone’s heart on the holidays. This satisfying sweet can be found in any form imaginable among the city’s world-class chocolate makers and chocolatiers, some who have been spinning the humble cocoa bean into edible gold for over a century, others who have impressively perfected their craft only recently.
Here, we have 9 gift ideas for every foodie, chef, and chocolate lover imaginable. We also recommend gifting a few of these to yourself as part of your holiday survival kit. Chocolate is a proven stress-reducer, after all.
1. For the Budding Chocolatier: Dandelion’s Chocolate 101 + 201 Class Gift Cards
One of San Francisco’s newest and most popular bean-to-bar makers, Dandelion Chocolate is every bit transparent in their process. Along with offering tours at their factory on 740 Valencia Street, they also give a detailed introduction to the world of chocolate-making with their Chocolate 101 class and a hands-on course with their Chocolate 201 class, which lets participants formulate their own small batch of chocolate.
2. For the Elegant Entertainer: Recchiuti Confections’ Holiday Collections
Michael Recchiuti crafts some of the finest, most artful chocolate delicacies on the West Coast, all packaged in beautiful gift sets. Impress your next holiday host or guests with his Champagne Truffles, infused with Schramsberg Blanc de Noirs from Napa Valley; a seasonal set of his signature Burnt Caramel Truffles (we love the Let It Snow design); or the 32-piece White Christmas Truffles set, which samples each of his unique flavors, including Lemon Verbena and the Fleur De Sel Caramel.
3. For the Adventurous Foodie: NeoCocoa’s Signature Assortment Box
NeoCocoa founder Christine Doerr is a true adventuress when it comes to the cocoa bean, molding her sinfully decadent Hearts of Chocolate Truffles with flavors like Zested Lime, Mocha Cinnamon, and Almond Butter with Sea Salt. We recommend her Signature Assortment Box, featuring all those flavors plus Toasted Coconut and Crushed Cacao Nib, or going for the gold with her Two-Pound Assortment Box, which you customize with any of her truffle selections (we recommend seasonal flavors like Cool Peppermint, Pumpkin Spice, and Tart Cranberry).
4. For the Cocktail Connoisseur: A Customized Sugarfina Bento Box
The chic candymakers of Sugarfina offer an array of gorgeously packaged holiday gifts, but we’re partial to their specialty cocktail line of chocolates. You can put together your own bento box of any of their candies, including luxurious sweets like Champagne Bears and their 24K Gold Champagne Marshmallow. But for the chocolate and cocktail connoisseur, we recommend filling that box with their Single Malt Scotch Cordials, Jamaican Rum Snowballs, Limoncello Cordials, Maple Bourbon Caramels, and Martini Olive Almonds.
5.For the Busy Professional: TCHO-A-DAY
Bean-to-bar makers TCHO pride themselves on bringing out the best, finest qualities of fair-trade beans from around the world in their rich yet minimalist dark and milk chocolates. And they’ve put together our idea of the perfect prescription for a busy professional: Their TCHO-A-DAY 90-day supply of dark chocolate. Get your daily dose of antioxidants right here, folks. Because one chocolate a day will keep the doctor away.
6. For the Great Chef: Guittard Chocolate Cookbook
San Francisco’s oldest and most beloved family-owned chocolate company, Guittard has long been a favorite go-to chocolate for local pastry chefs and artisan chocolatiers. Amy Guittard, the great-great-granddaughter of the company’s founder, has put together a book of 60 recipes for all blossoming bakers and crafty chefs, with one key ingredient: CHOCOLATE. Bonus: This gift will guarantee you’ll get to sample some of your giftee’s creations.
7. For the Nut Lover: Charles Chocolates Ultimate Chocolate Bar Collection
Chuck Siegel’s small-batch, handmade Charles Chocolates are a San Francisco favorite, especially among nut lovers. He turns the classic combo of sweet, velvety chocolate and salty, crunchy nuts into bars that make your mouth water upon sight. The best way to get a taste of it all is with his Ultimate Chocolate Bar Collection, which includes the Salty-Sweet Cashew and Hazelnut Bars and the Tres Cojones (Triple Nut) Bar.
8. For You!: Poco Dolce Drinking Chocolate Set
The best way to get through the holidays is by taking some precious time out for you. After a long, busy day of holiday prepping, purchasing, and partying, we recommend sitting back and enjoy a decadent mug of Poco Dolce’s Bittersweet Drinking Chocolate. Just add hot milk or water, whisk, sip, and let your stresses melt away.
9. For Any Chocolate Lover: A Ticket to One of Gourmet Walks’ Chocolate Tours!
Explore San Francisco the best way we know how: via its chocolate. Book one of our gourmet chocolate walking tours for you or a loved one to discover and sample from many of the chocolate companies mentioned above.