Chocolate, hot or cold, can make us feel warm.
Any time of year.
It has to be one of the highest ranking comfort foods. Coffee is a close cousin. They seem to be kissing cousins on a cold day.
With our chocolate, the knock on regularly consuming it is that so many chocolate products are loaded with sugar, the inflammatory enemy to our body.
How nice it would be to find a great tasting chocolate delight that was not only delicious but reasonably healthy for you.
We’re not looking for perfection here.
As of this December 1, 2018, it is cold outside so in the chocolate family, our focus is on the hot stuff.
San Francisco can offer us variety in just about any and everything. Chocolate can be very special there as well.
We even have a wise mature rejuvenated host who will direct us to the right place.
At its opening, it was the largest project undertaken in the city up to that time.
We have been there and can verify it possesses one fascinating collection of shops and eateries after another. We could spend all day there.
They know a sensational retailer when they see one.
One in particular they have a high opinion of that focuses on our favorite pastime sells unique and memorable hot chocolate.
At ferrybuildingmarketplace.com they praise, “Dandelion Chocolate is a bean-to-bar chocolate factory in the Mission District of San Francisco. Every day, the Dandelion Chocolate production team roasts, cracks, sorts, winnows, grinds, and conches small batches of chocolate before tempering, molding, and packaging each bar by hand. By sourcing high quality beans and carefully crafting small batches, Dandelion Chocolate strives to bring out the individual flavors and nuances of each bean.
Dandelion Chocolate serves pastries as well as hot and cold chocolate drinks made fresh in the Dandelion Chocolate Factory. Not to be missed is their European Drinking Chocolate, Nibby Horchata, Frozen Hot Chocolate, and single origin chocolate bars.”
We are impressed.
We’re also very hungry for some chocolate. After that recommendation, why don’t we visit the source?
They are so welcoming and forth coming at dandelionchocolate.com, “We opened our workshop out of a lifetime love of chocolate. Our friends often said that given enough time, it seemed inevitable that one of us would open a chocolate factory. They watched as we experimented with growing small cacao plants in our apartments, pan roasted beans in the oven, and ate our way through many of the chocolate shops of the world.”
Interesting. We can smell their chocolate from here and it smells really good.
Can we have some? There seems to be an invitation.
They oblige, “Each year, Dandelion Chocolate invites chefs to take over our factory to create a unique holiday culinary experience for charity. This year we have 38 chefs participating, and there’s only one rule: use Dandelion chocolate on the plate. Each evening is unique in that we ask chefs to create a menu that is entirely their creation – from elegant seven-course dinners to chocolate beer, concretes and burgers! All proceeds from the event go to the SF-Marin Food Bank. In 2017, we helped to raise over 65,000 meals.”
Great food with a purpose. What could be better?
“Chocolate is not cheating! After a salty meal, you need a little bit of sweet. This is living, not cheating.”… Ali Landry
What also intrigues us is the quality of their delicacy. Here is why.
They continue, “At Dandelion, we believe great chocolate starts with the bean. Because we only use two ingredients to make our chocolate—cocoa beans and organic cane sugar—the flavor of the beans we buy is critical. While genetics and processing play integral roles in developing flavor, getting good flavor reliably has everything to do with building good relationships.
We do our best to work directly with the producers who grow, ferment, and dry the cacao we buy. We travel to origin as frequently as possible to learn about our producers’ best practices, exchange feedback, and make sure that high standards of quality and sustainability are met. We pay a premium far above the world market price and work to strengthen our relationships year after year in order to maintain our collective commitment to sharing the best and most distinctive cacao.
We look for beans with a good flavor that can be reliably reproduced, and partners with whom we are excited to work with.”
That seems like a very good plan. Well thought out and connected. It shows in their end product. Here are a couple of customer reviews at yelp.com. We think you will find the first one especially insightful:
One customer wrote, “We managed to snag two spots in their factory tour where they take you through their on the floor manufacturing process in store and walk you through their process of how they go from bean to bar. It only costs $5 and comes with free samples and a card for a free hot chocolate (which costs more than $5) so they’re not doing this for the money but simply to share their story.”
Take a look at this one. “This is by far my favorite chocolate shop in the city. I’ve been over five times and have tried almost all of their baked goods, but I recommend their drinks over their food items (which are still good, just not as good). Get the European drinking chocolate is you like rich desserts, and the Mexican hot chocolate if you’re looking for something lighter!
The store itself has a very open, industrial-chic layout, with cookbooks and chocolate products on the walls and the machines behind the counter. Workers are friendly and the space is clean given the amount of people that come through.
More importantly–the chocolate is quality. If you’re visiting the city, not into touristy locations. And debating between this and Ghirardelli, I’d go with Dandelion for sure.”
Many would agree.
Time for a break. We have the independent confirmation that we are looking for.
We’re going to peer out of a broad window overlooking the calm San Francisco Bay and drink our Dandelion hot chocolate.
While the air is salty and cool outside, it’s sweet and warm in here.
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OPENING PHOTO dandelionchocolate.com