We had the pleasure of attending a private tasting at Dandelion Chocolate in San Francisco where Todd (co-founder) and Cynthia, from my favorite small-batch chocolate maker, gave a comprehensive tour of how they make chocolate. From sourcing cacao beans and sorting nibs to tempering and hand wrapping, the journey was fascinating. So many surprising flavors coming from various regions, including Venezuela, Dominican Republic, and Madagascar. If you appreciate the bean-to-bar movement, I highly recommend the tasting or just visiting Dandelion Chocolate. If you can’t get to San Francisco, they do have an online shop where you can purchase bars and pre-order their 2016 Advent Calendar. It’s a fairly large work of art, and inside each San Francisco landmark door is a treat made by one of their favorite local chocolatiers. My kind of countdown! In the meantime, here are some images from the tasting. Enjoy!
A view from the loft at the San Francisco location.
After tasting the different Dandelion Chocolate bars, we did an interesting blind tasting comparing other brands including Patric, Åkesson’s, and TCHO as well as some big brand names that surprisingly use cocoa powder instead of real chocolate. I was also stuck by the high levels of sugar used in some of the more manufactured chocolate bars. I couldn’t even finish the small tasting samples, it was cloyingly sweet.
Inside an actual cacao pod. What does this fruit taste like? The fruit has the consistency of a banana and has a mild citrusy flavor. The Dandelion Chocolate team have worked with cacao producers in Venezuela, Belize, Madagascar, Papua New Guinea, and more.
The bean slicer is used to test each cacao for the best quality beans.
We tasted the blended sugar and cacao from one of the melanging cylinders. The nibs and sugar grind for 24 hours before they are stored in blocks. That’s my spoonful before it was quickly devoured. #betterthanNutella
The final product packaged in some of the most beautiful paper. When Dandelion Chocolate opened a pop-up in Japan, the local team loved the paper so much, they created a small stationery collection with the designs.
740 Valencia St.
San Francisco, CA 94110