When you think of a chocolate factory, a hip and airy space in the heart of one of the city's hottest neighborhoods may not spring to mind. But therein lies the surprise that is Dandelion Chocolate: part factory, part cafe, part boutique, and in the heart of the Mission. Like beans for coffee and grapes for wine, Dandelion brings the idea of single-origin sourcing to each bar it creates. Rather than add strange ingredients to alter the flavor of the chocolate, there are just two ingredients—cocoa beans and sugar—which allowis each bean’s unique flavor and terroir to shine. Drop in for hot chocolate (with handmade marshmallows) or a chocolate dessert created by Dandelion's pastry chef, shop for gifts, and take a twirl through the factory where beans are roasted, cracked, sorted, winnowed, ground, and tempered before being molded. Each bar is wrapped by hand in gorgeous paper and ribbon and affixed with a label that tells a story about the cocoa bean's origin. For a deeper dive into chocolate, Dandelion has a schedule of classes for adults and kids, and even leads trips to cocoa farms.
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Chocolate Lovers Delight
San Francisco's Dandelion Chocolate is a MUST if you love chocolate. This bean-to-bar chocolate factory recently opened and already they have a following. In the small café in front of the factory you can sample different types of chocolate and order a few chocolate treats. I adored the cold chocolate drink (think hot cocoa chilled down) and the chocolate pie --- uh, YUM! Nice vibe. They also offer workshops where you can learn all there is to know about chocolate and even try your hand at making your own!
Visit Dandelion for Small Batch Chocolate in San Francisco
Dandelion Chocolate, one of the few small-batch bean-to-bar chocolate makers in the United States, has a different origin story than most candy companies. After selling their Internet company, Plaxo, in 2008 to Comcast, Dandelion founders Todd Masonis and Cameron Ring decided to turn their lives toward what they’d always been most passionate about: chocolate. They opened Dandelion’s doors in 2010 and from the beginning were dedicated to sourcing their own cacao beans and making chocolate with only two ingredients: cocoa beans and cane sugar. Choose from their three varieties—all of which are single-origin and 70% cacao—or visit the café within the factory to try a wide variety of chocolate treats (the hot chocolate is incredibly decadent and so worth it). Want to learn even more? Take a tour of their factory or sign up for one of their chocolate workshops. Keep an eye out for their kiosk opening in the Ferry Building. Dandelion Chocolate is open Mondays through Thursdays and Sundays from 10 am to 9 pm and Fridays and Saturdays from 10 am to 10 pm.
For dessert after your picnic lunch or an afternoon break, there’s no better Valentine’s Day treat than chocolate, and there’s no better spot to get it in San Francisco than Dandelion Chocolate in the Mission District. Cofounders Todd and Cameron were college friends whose amateur love of chocolate bloomed into a professional one when, in 2010, they opened Dandelion Chocolate. From roasting and grinding the cacao beans to setting and wrapping the bars, the team does it all in their factory and café space on Valencia Street. Choose from the menu of hot drinks and pastries while also buying some bars to take home. You’ll be transported back to San Francisco even after you’ve returned home. Photo Credit: Daniel Zemans, https://flic.kr/p/no5Yxd