The table for Toffee Talk is always a favorite stop

On a warm springlike day in San Francisco, the only reason that would keep me indoors is the promise of chocolates, and lots of it.

The annual San Francisco International Chocolate Salon took place today, and while others biked or jogged around the Marina or played volleyball and laid in the sun near Fort Mason, I was in a crowded Herbst Pavilion tasting chocolates and other treats. I say we were all winners.

Along with taking pictures, I was also — again — one of the many judges who were invited to choose the best of the salon. (Complete list of winners can be found here.) After a couple of years as a judge, I mostly kept an eye out for new flavors or interesting textures. I found that there were a lot of the regular favorites and a lot more of the so-called fair trade chocolate vendors.

Newcomer Alter Eco Fair Trade Chocolate offered some interesting flavors with crunch

Some of the amazing bites included a mint bar (with a nice crunch) from Alter Eco, an unusual crunchy bar called “Panko” from newcomer Chuao, and a delicious coffee-flavored bar called “Orient Espresso” from regular Jade Chocolates.

Tea is a difficult flavor to stand up against the strong taste of chocolates, and I haven’t been able to find a chocolate that lets the tea flavor shine. That was until today when I tasted Socola Chocolatier’s jasmine truffle. The first bite tastes simply like chocolate until the distinct taste of jasmine pearls hit you almost near the end like a light bulb going off in your head.

There seemed to be fewer vendors this year than in the past. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t get my fill of chocolates. Afterwards I took a stroll along the water to walk off the chocolates. Not a bad way to spend a beautiful day in the city.

I loved the display at Dandelion Chocolate

Cocoa chocolates had a simple packaging that was eye-catching

There seemed to be fewer lines this year, thankfully

Fancy boxed chocolates from La Chatelaine Chocolat

Neo Cocoa always offer amazing truffles like its almond butter truffles (left).

Coco Tutti is definitely prepared with its trays of truffles for sale

Chuao bars are creative like this one filled with panko, the Japanese crumbs used in tempura

A few wine and liquor vendors provided the typical break from the chocolate sweets

Other treats at the salon included caramel from CC Made

A luxurious newcomer included truffles from David Bacco Chocolatier

Victoria Chocolatier offered unusual truffles like a wasabi flavored truffle


4 Responses to Chocolate Tasting on a Warm Spring Day

  1. Spencer says:

    Now that is my idea of chocolate heaven!

  2. Sandy says:

    droooooool. That CC Made Caramel looks incredible!

  3. Carolyn Jung says:

    Love Jade Chocolates. They always come up with such interesting, intense flavors. Big yum!

  4. Row says:

    Panko-filled chocolate bars? Sign me up! 🙂