Best Chocolate in San Francisco: Favorite Local Chocolatiers and Chocolate Stores

Home » Best Chocolate in San Francisco: Favorite Local Chocolatiers and Chocolate Stores

Last Updated on January 8, 2021 by Paroma

If you Google the phrase “best chocolate in San Francisco” or “San Francisco chocolate store“, you will undoubtedly see a lot of hits from Ghirardelli chocolates, the most popular chocolate brand associated with the city. Thanks to the extremely popular Ghirardelli square (which doubles up as a chocolate store) flocked by thousands of tourists, Ghirardelli San Francisco is the only name most people are familiar with when it comes to San Francisco chocolates. But apart from the ubiquitous Ghirardelli squares found in any Walgreens in the city, there is so much more to chocolates in San Francisco which include local, artisanal chocolatiers bringing you the best chocolate there is with ethical practices. 

 

So here is a guide to finding some of the best San Francisco chocolate stores selling chocolates made in San Francisco, i.e. gourmet chocolates with unique flavors based 100% on my experience (i.e. I have personally purchased and tasted these offerings with repeat visits). There is also a handy Google map at the end pinpointing the locations of these San Francisco artisanal chocolate stores for picking up gifts if you are in SF during Christmas. All these stores are bean to bar and carry chocolates made right here in San Francisco!

 

All photos are of my own except the embedded Instagram ones from the businesses because I was so busy stuffing my face with them delights that I forgot to snap a photo (I will update these with my own soon).

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Best Chocolate in San Francisco #1 Dandelion Chocolates

Neighborhood: The vibrant Mission district, one of the best neighborhoods in San Francisco. Famous for its murals and tons of good places to eat. Don’t forget to check out the legendary Craftsmen and Wolves, a dessert shop, right next door!

Street: The hipster Valencia street filled with cute boutiques, cafes and restaurants.

Starting off with one of my favorite chocolate cafes in the city, this chocolatier has won us locals over with its sustainable practices and a wide array of chocolate products, starting from drinking chocolate to bars. One of the few San Francisco chocolatiers to actually have their bean to bar factory right in San Francisco (their chocolates are made in San Francisco), Dandelion makes small batch chocolates by roasting, cracking, sorting, winnowing, grinding, conching and tempering the carefully sourced beans and then finally wrapping each bar manually with lots of love.

All this affection is amply reflected in their super popular cafe, where I often drag my guests to taste their sinful European drinking chocolate or the spicy Mexican hot chocolate (theirs easily qualifies as one of the best hot chocolates in San Francisco) or buy one of their many chocolate bars ranging with up to 99% cacao content!

 

If you want to know more about their bean to bar story and see how chocolates are made, they generously open up their factory to tours in the evening for a mere $5 from Wed-Saturday. Not visiting SF but hankering for some Dandelion love? No need to worry, cause they sell their awesome bars online as well. For those of you who cannot make it to their store, a bunch of groceries and markets in the city are their retailers where you can check them out!

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San Francisco chocolate store #2 Jade Chocolates

Neighborhood: Embarcadero, right across the Ferry Building famous for its Saturday Farmers Market

Street: The very busy Market Street which runs diagonally across the city and where almost all BART stops are located 

Simply put, there is no other San Francisco chocolate store quite like Jade chocolates. Why so? because these artisanal chocolates have some very unique Asian fillings, i.e. a combination of teas, tropical fruits and spices that you will not find elsewhere, thanks to part Chinese part Filipino and native Franciscan owner and chocolatier Mindy Fong. I don’t know about you, but I am nuts over their Genmai bar that comes wrapped in a neat green package and comprises of 35% milk chocolate with roasted brown rice,  green tea and jasmine tea and each bite transports you to heaven!

 

These artisanal chocolatiers have several amazing truffles and bonbons as well in their kitty which also have tea and fruit combination fillings. Although several SF stores carry their products, do stop by their store at One Market Plaza, right across from the bustling Ferry Building (they have a new store coming up in ChinaTown soon!).

 

They (Mindy and colleagues) are often seen with their stalls in different festival and local fairs in the city and are super friendly with their tasting samples. I am a huge fan of their products and I can guarantee, so shall you be, once you taste their gourmet chocolates!

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Artisanal Chocolate in San Francisco #3 Poco Dolce

Neighborhood: The trendy Dogpatch district. Filled with SF based manufacturers, artists and restaurants. Don’t forget  to get some Californian-Italian fare at Piccino!

Street: Third street, bustling with chocolate stores, wine shops and gift shops, showcasing SFMade products.

I have written about this San Francisco chocolate store before in my where to shop locally in SF guide, a charming brick and mortar stop in SF’s eastern waterfront selling gourmet and dark chocolate truffles and squares. Honestly, their salted caramels are out of the world delicious and the store carries several tasting samples to make it even harder for you to choose.

 

My favorite is their sea salt caramels where the vanilla bean infused caramel squares (cut in their own SF kitchen) are then lightly kissed with Himalayan pink sea salt! Their “Super Chile” toffee squares comprising of bittersweet chocolates have that extra bit of heat thanks to the inclusion of ground chilies and comes in a delightful little tin, with each square again being lovingly cut by hand.

 

They also sell bars, bonbons and drinking chocolate, but I seriously vouch for their caramels, they are that good and can easily qualify as one of the best chocolates in San Francisco. You can buy their stuff online, at their Dogpatch store or at these city retailers.

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Chocolates made in San Francisco #4 Socola Chocolatier

Neighborhood: The very yuppie and industrial SOMA, cradle or birthplace of many a SF startup.

Street: Folsom street.

Raise your hands if you have heard of this pint sized artisanal chocolatier in San Francisco’s SOMA neighborhood. You have not? Good, cause now that you have, your world is about to change with a serious explosion of flavorful truffles!

 

Socola is the Vietnamese word for chocolates and their chocolate truffles are lovingly crafted out of locally sourced ingredients (Straus family creamery and E. Guittard chocolate) by Wendy & Susan Lieu, the two Vietnamese sisters and owners. Socola sells a wide array of confectioneries such as peanut brittles, almond dragees and fruit pates, but their magic lies in their chocolate truffles which comprise of a mind boggling array of unique fillings such as guava, durian, beer and even spicy Sriracha!

 

The cutest part of their brand is their logo-an Alpaca with wings aptly named “flying Harriet”, who also has a dedicated truffle to her name! Their fillings are innovative which gives their chocolates an edge over the others in town and one bite is guaranteed to make you go soaring in bliss, much like Harriet’s wings:-) Their store proudly serves four barrel coffee and baked goods too.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BpS0a6BlVTA/

 

San Francisco chocolate store #5 XOX Truffles

Neighborhood: The vibrant North Beach or our very own Little Italy. Do not give Caffe Gecko a miss for it’s heavenly Tiramisu or Tony’s for yummy pizza by the slice.

Street: Columbus Avenue (between Filbert and Greenwich streets)

Started in 1997 by Chef Jean-Marc Gorce, a Frenchman, this San Francisco chocolate store in North Beach has a very ordinary storefront which nests delightful truffles made in the true French way that taste out of the world! I did not know about this hidden gem till we went on a food tour and was totally hooked on to the myriad flavors offered in the bite-sized delights.

 

A must visit chocolate store in San Francisco, this is popular with locals and celebrities! They also have a storefront at the San Francisco international airport, so there is literally no excuse to not get some for family and friends.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bi2YZiwHjVA/

 

Best chocolate in San Francisco #6 Recchiuti Confections

Neighborhood: SF’s main water front or Embarcardero.

Street: Stall inside Ferry building/Pier 1. Stop by the farmer’s market every Saturday for the largest outdoor market in North America to get a taste of the best of the Bay Area.

This San Francisco chocolate store carries the best chocolate in San Francisco, in my very biased opinion. Recchiuti is San Francisco’s premium artisanal chocolate and a must buy for those wanting nothing but the very best!

 

Master chocolatier Michal Recchiuti started the tradition in 1997 of blending locally sourced ingredients (such as herbs and fruits) and single sourced chocolate by hand, and that practice continues till this day in San Francisco. Although they have a mind boggling array of confectionery and chocolate based products, I am crazy about their chocolate truffles that come in all sorts of fun shapes and are filled with myriad fillings.

My favorites are the sesame crunch and lemon verbena truffles. The truffles not only taste out of the world good, but are embossed delicately in different designs (they have an SF special with San Francisco’s distinct landmarks embossed on the truffles) to make them look equally fetching!

 

You can simply shop for their products online (this includes Michael’s signature burnt caramel chocolates and sauces) or check out their Ferry building location for their boxed truffles. Thanks to the friendly staff,  you can also mix and match and create your own boxes, which is what I do when I need to pick up gifts for my friends. Recchiuti ships their darling truffles as well, so what are you waiting for?

https://www.instagram.com/p/BnrVS8DBi7L/

 

This brings me to the end of this post on San Francisco chocolate stores and I hope I could share some of our best kept secrets with you in terms of where to find the best chocolates in San Francisco, aka local, sustainable and artisanal bean to bar goodness. Thank you for reading and I hope you continue to support local San Francisco chocolates! For more food stories in San Francisco, read my blog posts on budget eating in SF and best dessert shops in San Francisco.

 

Google map on where to find the best chocolate in San Francisco

 

 

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43 thoughts on “Best Chocolate in San Francisco: Favorite Local Chocolatiers and Chocolate Stores”

  1. Great guide to a very important element of my life: chocolate! Beautiful photos too. All too tempting… 🙂

    Reply
  2. What a delightful post! I’ve only been to Girardelli’s in SF and had no idea that there are other great (if not better) chocolate shops to visit! Thank you, Paroma, for sharing this! I will have to check out these places the next time I’m in SF!

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  3. I absolutely adore thorough posts like this, especially because I know what it takes to produce them! Great round-up, and I am adding those super chile toffee square to my bucket list!

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  4. I’m a total chocoholic so even though I’m not planning a trip to SF anytime soon, I loved just reading about its decadent delights.

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  5. As a serious chocolate lover, I can’t wait to put this guide to good use on my visit in September!! Thank you! 🙂

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  6. Omg I am chocolate obsessed so if I ever get to San Fran I am doing a tour of these! And I’m ashamed to say I didn’t know Ghirardelli was an SF thing! But now I know to skip it and go local.
    -Kristin
    Countdowntofridayblog.com

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  7. Reading your article has made me crave some chocolate so badly haha
    I`ve never been to San Fran but when I do these shops are a must visit <3

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  8. Did someone say Chocolate Heaven? The next time I visit my cousin in Oakland I am stopping into each of these stores to fill my ultimate sweet-tooth. She actually brought us truffles from Socola on her last trip home! Such a great post!

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  9. Burnt caramel chocolates, like seriously? And the way Dandelion treats it’s chocolate it sounds more like art gallery than a store. Each description and photo looks too delectable. This is definitely heaven on earth!

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  10. Love this post! I’m making a note to go to Jade Chocolate and try some of those salted caramels next time I’m in San Francisco!

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  11. These look amazing! I’m more of a savoury person but I certainly am partial to a chocolate or too, I mean who isn’t? This would be a great tour to do for a day in San Fran. Great post

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  12. Though I haven’t visited San Francisco yet, anything to do with chocolates is always reason enough to add a place to your bucket list =). Loved your picture from Socola Chocolatier! Those chocolated from Recchiuti look like a piece of art! =)

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  13. Now I need to hunt down some chocolate in my house. This sounds amazing, especially the chocolates topped with Himalayan pink sea salt and the embossed truffles. So fun! Look like great gifts as well!

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  14. Ghirardelli’s is the only chocolate I knew about in SF. So good that someone is championing the smaller businesses and giving them their place in the spot light. Next time I’m in SF I bet I’ll be trying out one or two of these! A great guide!

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  15. I am a real chocolate addict. I eat some chocolate every day, always finding some while travelling, and hiding a bit here and there in the suitcase or my back pack ! Fortunately, I’m living so close to Switzerland 🙂 Swiss chocolate is great as a snack or paired with espresso. In fact, as a confessed chocoholic myself I have to admit that chocolate is fit for almost any conceivable occasion. I definitively keep your post for my next trip to SF ! This would be such a great tour to do for one day !

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  16. I have a chocolate problem. And I liked in San Francisco as a food and hospitality publicist for a year and a half, so you’re absolutely correct that I made it to each and every one of these places. They’re all fantastic picks. 🙂

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  17. You know its funny when I think about San Francisco chocolate I think of Ghiradelli! I know it’s not really boutique, but I think it is pretty good chocolate. I like to go to the store and get a sundae with hot fudge. Next time I am in the area, I will have to check out some of your recommendations.

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  18. Ecxcellent insiders knowledge. It’s not that I wouldn’t expect San Francisco to have incredible quaint artisan chocolate shops but it’s not the first thing that springs to mind when you think about SF. I love that guides by locals can give you something you didn’t even know you were looking for. Thanks for sharing your wisdom. I’m going to check out the rest of your blog now!

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  19. Never knew San Fran has these, something else to look forward to if I ever go to San Fran! For now, I’ll be drooling through your post =)~

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  20. Oh my yummy!! I never knew SF had this many artisanal chocolate shops, but I will definitely be checking some out the next time I’m there. In particular that vanilla bean infused sea salt caramel chocolate…. YUM!

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  21. I knew about Ghirardelli, but had no idea about the rest of these places! Some day I will make it to SF – and I think a chocolate tour is definitely going to be on my itinerary.

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  22. I just wanted to go to bed… And now I read about chocolate… mhmhmhmhm.. Think I need to check out our fridge first then 😛
    What a great idea to hunt the best chocolate of SF… 😀

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  23. yes, only knew about giradelli, but we are going to San Fran in august so I pinned this! My kids are going to LOVE this!

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  24. Wow, reading about these chocolate shops has made me very hungry! I love the sound of all the unique fillings like tea. I’m not sure how it would taste but I’d definitely try it.

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  25. These all look delicious! Thanks for sharing. I live in the Bay Area and didn’t know anything about these places. I have mostly been eating See’s.. ha ha. I guess I have to try out all these now.

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  26. Considering chocolate is absolutely my favorite food, I was pretty much starving by the end of this post! 🙂 Bookmarking these places for my next trip to SF!

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  27. Look at those beautiful BEAUTIFUL chocolates! I’m in love, not with just the chocolate, but the presentation and wrapping too

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  28. Two of my favourite things on one post, Chocolate and San Francisco (I used to live there). This is a post to keep around for our next visit. Thanks. Oddly, I don’t know any of these chocolate shops, but I will!

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  29. Excellent! I am glad there are so many great artisan chocolate makers because what’s in regular grocery stores is very far from great chocolate. Will check these places out.

    Reply
  30. Thank you for sharing this! Chocolate in SF is SO much more than Ghirardelli! Ghirardelli Square is certainly iconic and a treat for tourists, but it is not the best chocolate in the city which you have clearly demonstrated here, bravo! The one thing I miss about SF is the proximity of some of the best food in the country – enjoy it and don’t take it for granted!

    Reply

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