|A wide array of chocolates fill the display case at Swiss chocolatier, Teuscher.|
Last weekend, my sister Lena and I embarked upon a three-hour gourmet chocolate walk around the beautiful city of San Francisco, where we sampled chocolates from some of the world’s finest chocolate purveyors.
Our journey began at The Ferry Building, where we learned proper chocolate tasting technique and tested our skills at our first stop: Scharffen Berger. Of the bars we sampled, my personal favorite was the dark chocolate with sea salt. We then moved on to La Cocina, a business incubator that provides young entrepreneurs with commercial kitchen space and technical advice. The kiosk we visited sells products engineered by many of the students in the program, including a wide array of hand-crafted chocolate confections. My favorite item from La Cocina is the cinnamon truffle: a silky smooth chocolate ganache interior coated in an additional layer of chocolate and dusted with spicy Vietnamese cinnamon. Our third destination, Recchiuti, offers Parisian-inspired chocolates handmade in San Francisco. As someone who prefers rich, unhindered chocolate flavor over fruity and herbal concoctions, I was completely blown away by the jasmine tea truffle.
|Scharffen Berger’s giant chocolate chunk cookie is to die for. Paper thin and crispy, blotted with pieces of the classic 70% cacao bar.|
We then walked a few blocks over to Fog City News, San Francisco’s most plentiful newsstand and candy store. Not only does Fog City offer an extensive selection of magazines, newspapers, and periodicals, but it boasts one of the largest chocolate collections in the country. We really saved the best for last, though, as we concluded the tour at Teuscher Chocolates of Switzerland and CocoaBella. Biting into Teuscher’s Champagne Truffle is chocolate heaven: a thin chocolate shell dusted with confectioner’s sugar surrounds a center of creamy chocolate ganache and Dom Perignon champagne cream. CocoaBella is a gourmet chocolate carrier, sourcing its products from the world’s acclaimed chocolate artisans. The store is divided into two sides: North America and Europe. The European chocolates contain traditional flavor pairings and simple presentation whereas the North American offerings are more adventurous, including options such as a cayenne spiced truffle and a bleu cheese truffle.
Aside from all the taste-testing, I learned quite a bit about the history of chocolate, chocolate composition, and even the political controversies surrounding chocolate production. It was also a pleasure to chat with the other foodies on the tour and to analyze the different items we sampled. Whether you are a chocolate lover or a curious foodie (or both!), this gourmet chocolate tour is a real treat.