Last Updated on April 10, 2020 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).
Best Chocolate in San Francisco #1 Dandelion Chocolates
Neighborhood: The vibrant Mission district. Famous for it’s 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!
San Francisco chocolate store #2 Jade Chocolates
Neighborhood: Embarcardero, right across the Ferry Building famous for its Saturday Farmers Market
Street: The very busy Market Street which runs diagnoally 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 China Town 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!
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.
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.
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.
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?
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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