Saturday, April 26, 2008

Friday’s San Francisco Candy Adventure

Some FlowersI’ve been to San Francisco quite a lot, I love the city, mostly because I know so many great people here. But also because it has such a wonderful confectionery tradition. San Francisco is a candy town. I spent my first night after driving up at the Ocean Park Motel, way over by the ocean (a part of San Francisco I’ve never explored before). After checking in I took a walk, got some eggs at a diner and then walked down to the beach where I spotted a whale and watched it for about ten minutes as it made its way north to its feeding grounds (kinda like me!).

In the past three years I’ve visited Miette Confiserie, Ricchiuti Chocolates, Jelly Belly’s factory, Scharffen Berger, Charles Chocolates (in both their old & new location), CocoaBella, Fog City News and The Candy Store.
But there are always new places opening up, and plenty more that have been here for ages that I still haven’t gotten around to.

On Friday morning I packed up my car (my destination was Oakland for a meeting at 4PM at the National Novel Writing Month headquarters, but there were many zags and zigs along the way) with a nicely chilled cooler ready to be filled. Well, it actually held three boxes of candy bars and another six or seven pounds of other stuff for the staff to munch on.

Here’s how the day went:

Chocolate CoveredChocolate Covered
4069 24th Street
San Francisco, CA
(415) 641-8123

  • Stainer 65% Cacao - Peru (Intenso & Fruttato)
  • Stainer Cicoccolato Bianco - Peperoncino e Vaniglia Bourbon
  • MarieBelle Mayan Chocolate Bar 70% Milk Chocolate - Unsweetened
  • Almond Rosemary Chocolate (I’m afraid I don’t remember who made this!)
  • Caffarel Flower Buds $4.00
  • CacaoAnasa - Lemon, Ginger & Cayenne “Afrodesiac” 72%
  • Lillie Belle Farms - Smokey Blue Cheese Truffles
  • Lillie Belle Farms - Rum & Fig Truffles
  • Lillie Belle Farms Lavender Fleur du Sel Caramels
  • Lillie Belle Farms Cayenne Caramels
  • Michel Cluizel 99% Cacao Forte
  • Total: $57.65

    Sampled: Caffarel flower bud, Domori Porcelana?, Vegan/Raw chocolate from Marin and something else that I’ve spaced on completely.

    I had an absolutely awesome talk with Jack who runs the place. He’s tasted everything there and is really committed to his inventory. He tries to carry the best bars that each company has to offer (so you won’t find all of the Domori ... or anyone’s line). He also does a lot of repacking, so you can just buy a package of two Lillie Belle truffles, and then two Cluizel Champignon ... it’s the best thing for candy lovers who are still searching for the most amazing experiences. (And if it’s not an amazing experience, then you’re only out a couple of bucks!)

    Christopher ElbowChristopher Elbow
    401 Hayes St
    San Francisco, CA 94102
    (415) 355-1100

     

  • Fleur de Sel Turtle $3.00
  • 5 Spice Turtle $3.00
  • Bon Bon assortment ($2 each) - $10.00
  • Chinese 5 Spice Hot Chocolate $4.50
  • Chocolate Bar with Pop Rocks - $7.00
  • Total: $27.50

    Sampled: Ecuadoran single origin bonbon.

    An interesting new space. Rather clinical and spare, it reminds me more of Los Angeles than San Francisco. The selection is immense and includes Elbow’s bonbons and prepackaged items (bars, chocolate covered nuts & gift packages) as well as a brief menu of cafe selections. I made my chocolate selections (picking some of the items that I’ve tried before like the Strawberry Balsamic that used to be in white chocolate and is now in dark) and picked out a hot chocolate. I had it prepared to go, but did sit for a moment in the lounge area. The woman who prepared my chocolate that morning (it was about 11 AM) said that things would usually get very busy in the evening, as it was a popular after dinner spot for people to come on Friday and Saturday nights. (This is exactly the thing I want in walking distance from my house!)

    After making some notes for myself I walked over to:

    Miette Confiserie
    449 Octavia Boulevard
    San Francisco, CA 94102
    (415) 626-6221

     

  • 1/4 lb of Griotten - $12 per pound
  • 6 - Bergamot French Hard Candies (20 cents each)
  • 6 - Napoleon Lemon BonBons (hard candy) 15 cents each
  • 1/4 lb Licorice Koppers Lentils (can’t remember)
  • 4 - Babbelaar (Butterscotch) (15 cents each)
  • 1 - Caffarel Puro Fondente Cacao 57% (can’t remember)
  • Total: $12.93

    Sampled: Haribo Smurf (actually a raspberry jelly candy, not a gummi)

    Again, a lovely experience as I got to chat with Caitlin (one of the owners) about Napoleon bonbons & the little tins they come in, licorice and the lack of similar candy shopping in Los Angeles. (Though we’re coming along.)

    Fiona's SweetshopFiona’s Sweetshop
    214 Sutter St.
    San Francisco
    (415) 399-9992

     

  • Assortment of Scottish Fudge Pieces ($18 per pound)
  • 3 Cubes of Rose Turkish Delight
  • Fry’s Peppermint Creme - $2.29 (this is a ludicrous price to pay unless it’s one of the fundraising kids coming to your door when you have the munchies)
  • Total: $8.25

    I found out about the shop on SFGate.com. It wasn’t quite as impressive as the story (and comments) made it sound. It was very small, I didn’t feel like I could look at everything and I was rushed (and didn’t get to finish ordering my items before my card was swiped and I ended up paying cash for my Turkish Delight). I actually meant to try a couple of other things, but didn’t see them until after that ... sigh, there’s always next time. The cool thing is that it’s walking distance to Fog City & not far at all from the Ferry Terminal.

    Fog City News
    455 Market
    San Francisco, CA

     

  • CocoAroma Magazine - $9.95
  • Askinosie Soconusco 75% - $7.95
  • E. Guittard Orinoco Milk Chocolate - $3.50
  • 6 - Michel Cluizel BonBons - -$.95 each
  • Patric Chocolate - Madagascar - $5.70
  • Total: $27.92 (Discount! 20%)

    Sampled: Michael Mischer Salted Peanut Butter Cup (awesome but really salty) & Amano Ocumare. Had an excellent talk with Adam, who runs Fog City. (He recognized my name when I signed up for the newsletter so I could get some discounts on my bars. I don’t necessarily hide my identity but I don’t go up to the counter and say, “I blog about candy, now gimme some!”) They have an awesome sale on Amano right now (25% off) if you’re in the neighborhood. My favorite is definitely the Ocumare.

    Lucca Delicatessen
    2120 Chestnut St
    San Francisco, CA 94123
    (415) 921-7873

     

  • 1 BruCo Anise Bar - $6.49
  • 6 - Fiat (Pasticceria Majani of Bologna) Chocolate Square ($.85 each) - $5.10
  • I stopped as I was walking down the street because I spied some La Florentine Torrones, but was so pleased to find the BruCo Anise bar.

    Sweet DishSweet Dish
    2144 Chestnut Street
    San Francisco, CA
    (415) 563-2144

     

  • .2 lbs - White Chocolate Covered Gummi Bears (Koppers) - $2.79
  • .2 lbs - Chocolate Covered Gummi Bears (Koppers) - $2.22
  • 1 - Delicieaux Milk Chocolate Nougat - $2.35
  • 2 - Sally Williams Almond Nougat ($1.20 each) - $2.40
  • Total: $9.76

    I read about this shop on Chowhound and definitely wanted to see how it measured up to the grand San Francisco tradition. It has a very young vibe to it, it feels much more “accessible” to children. They have a great selection of gummis, traditional favorites (candy jewelry) and some crazy hard to find items like C.Howards, UK import Cadbury bars, a really good selection of Koppers ... I could go on and on. The prices per pound are specific to the candy (instead of just pricing the whole shop at one point which makes things like Smarties crazy expensive and chocolate malt balls kind of reasonable), so you get what you pay for.

    I had other places on my list, like Z Cicciolato and XoX Truffles but I really needed to balance out my purchases of perishable items, so they’ll have to wait until I return in the summer.

    I’m kind of logging all this stuff so you’ll know what sort of items you can buy at these shops, and what they cost. (And also because I have a tendency to forget these things.)

    Total spent today: $153.77 (yeah, I’m kind of feeling candy buyers remorse, mostly because I haven’t actually eaten any of it, I just get to look at it and tally up how much money I spent, not how much enjoyment I’m getting).

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:22 pm Tracker Pixel for Entry     Bay AreaBehind the ScenesCandyShopping

    Comments
    1. Wow, that’s a candy adventure indeed! Can’t wait to read your reviews on all the stuff you bought ... I was curious about Christopher Elbow’s Pop Rock Chocolate Bar when I saw it at the SF Chocolate Salon as well. And gotta agree with you about Michel Cluizel’s Champignons, Caffarel treats, and the Amano Ocumare - they’re pretty awesome!

      Comment by Verena on 4/27/08 at 8:20 am #
    2. Wow!  That’s some serious chocolate adventuring!  Between this and Saturday’s post I want to visit SF more than ever.  Chocolate Covered seems to have a heck of a selection, too.  And Bittersweet Cafe - reminds me so very much of what I’ve had in mind for my own little chocolate venture.  I need to visit if only to take notes!

      Comment by william on 4/28/08 at 1:43 am #
    3. Ilive in SF, and check out many candy shops, too, much to the chagrin of my boyfriend.  I have become somwhat stuck on the chocolate caramel apples with nuts that are sold at The Chocolate Store which has 2 locations- 1 in Fisherman’s WHarf, the other on Castro St, near 18th.  They are huge apples covered in caramel, dipped in nuts, and then drizzled with milk and white chocolate.  The ones at the Fisherman’s wharf store are generally fresher, and have more chocolate.  The apples sold at the Castro store come from the Wharf store, but they put the chocolate on themselves.  Castro charges $.50 less, due to the less touristy area.  I live w/in walkig distance of the Wharf (over some big hills, whcih helps justify eating the apple), and definitely prefer the wharf apples.  Recently had one from Castro that was actually bad inside.  A real bad apple!  Anyway, the Castro store has some fancy, funky chocolates, while the wharf is ore mainstream. But i gotta tell you, the chocolate dipped oreos are disgustingly good!  Nothing like the literally disgusting dep fried oreos I recently tried in Las Vegas.

      Try the apples if you get a chance, next time your in town!

      Comment by Lisa on 5/07/08 at 6:09 pm #

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    Next entry: Saturday’s East Bay Chocolate

    Previous entry: Thursday Candy Trippin’




     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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