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.
11. Chocolate Covered
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
Telephone: (415) 641-8123
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
Telephone: (510) 652-4412
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)
Telephone: (510) 705-8800
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
Telephone: (510) 435-3586
Scharffenberger (now owned by Hershey's) closed its Berkeley factory doors in 2009 -- sad news for our community and for the many people who lost their jobs.
Began as a San-Francisco-based due who produced their first chocolate with a "coffee grinder, mortar and pestle, an electric mixer, and a hair dryer." * Scharffen Berger now has wide culinary reach, and produces all of its chocolate -- cacao bean to finish -- in its Berkeley factory. The factory offers free tours to people 10 years and older.